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Cognate Areas

Christopher at computer

We understand that a one-size-fits-all approach to education may not be the best way to prepare students for the future. That's why each MAWRM student chooses a specialization, called a cognate area, which will guide that student's selection of courses and prepare him or her for a career or further graduate study in a subfield of writing, rhetoric, or media. You will select a tentative cognate area as you begin the program; while your choice may change early in your time here, you should confirm a cognate area during your second semester.

Having the flexibility to customize your MAWRM degree will allow you to pursue your career goals and objectives more fully. Based on your selected cognate area and in consultation with your faculty adviser, you will choose classes to complete the 30 hours of coursework for the degree.

As an MAWRM student, you will take four core courses, and the remainder of your coursework will be tailored to your specific cognate area. If you complete a publishable paper, you will take three electives; if you complete a client project, you will take four. The program has developed elective course recommendations for several common cognate areas:

Digital Publishing
English 8360 (Digital Publishing), English 8340 (Usability Testing), English 8380 (Global Communication), English 8320 (Special Topics: Public Relations)
If you are wondering where a specialization in digital publishing can lead you, check out the alumni profiles of Tim Cook, Carrie Priddy DuPre, Bobby Rettew, and Brian Verhoeven.
Health Communication
English 8040 (Fundamentals of Health Communication), English 8060 (Medical Rhetoric and Writing), English 8070 (Health Communication Campaigns)
Completing all three courses will earn you the Health Communication Certificate. While a student in the MAWRM program, Yuanyuan Zhang used her health communication specialization to make big changes here at Clemson, and she continues to work in the health communication field today. To read about her success, please visit Yuanyuan's alumni profile.
English 8850 (Composition Theory), English 8540 (Teaching Professional Writing), English 6980 (Studio Composition and Communication), English 8390 (Proposal Writing)
Many MAWRM graduates follow careers in teaching, either by pursuing a PhD or by teaching as a lecturer at the college level. For some examples, see the alumni profiles of Jared Christensen, Ashley Cowden, and Rebecca Pope-Ruark.
Technical Writing
English 6900 (Advanced Technical and Business Writing), English 6950 (Technical Editing), English 8340 (Usability Testing), English 8380 (Global Communication)
Many of our alumni hold positions that focus on or incorporate technical writing. Often, positions categorized as digital publishing involve a significant amount of technical writing expertise as well. For more information about careers that feature technical writing, see the alumni profiles of Christopher Lohr and Lindsey Robbins.
You may choose to create a custom specialization that reflects your interests and goals. A custom specialization may include MAWRM courses and courses outside the department. Your faculty adviser will be able to help you consider your options.

In consultation with your adviser, you may choose to substitute other MAWRM courses or courses outside the department for any of the courses listed. The lists above are simply provided as suggestions. Please note, however, that the Health Communication Certificate will be awarded only to students who complete the sequence of courses listed under Health Communication. For some examples of jobs held by MAWRM alumni, see our where-are-they-now page.