By Nischal Kelwadkar
Earning a bachelor's degree takes a lot of hard work, so for many students, the idea of continuing their education to earn a master's degree may not be immediately appealing. But after considering the benefits that UNT's master's degree in professional and technical communication can offer, some students may decide that applying to graduate school is right for them after all.
The application process
Applying to graduate school at UNT is a multistep process that includes preparing and submitting a number of documents, including general application forms, examples of completed work, a résumé (or CV), and a personal statement.
While all application materials are important, personal statements are particularly meaningful because they allow applicants to demonstrate why they're uniquely qualified for admission. Dr. Ryan Boettger, graduate advisor for technical communication at UNT, advises applicants to "be specific, avoid clichés, and provide an insight into [their] mind[s]" when constructing their statements. Doing so increases an applicant's chances of being accepted into the program.
Graduate programs are more selective than undergraduate programs, so even though any student can major in technical communication for their bachelor's degree, not everyone who applies for UNT's tech comm master's program will be accepted. As Dr. Boettger put it, "We choose you."
Life as a graduate student and beyond
Even though fewer courses are required for a master's degree than for a bachelor's degree, graduate school is rigorous and requires a serious commitment on the part of the student. Michael Pollack, a current student in UNT's tech comm M.A. program, advises prospective students to prepare for "an intense focus on subjects" with "significantly more reading" than they likely encountered during their undergraduate degree.
Students in the tech comm graduate program have a passion for the subject matter and enjoy looking deeper into the aspects of technical communication that they study. In addition, many students complete their M.A. while concurrently working full-time jobs. Doing so gives them valuable industry experience and important practical knowledge.
It's possible to work full time as a tech comm graduate student because all of the M.A. courses are either at night or online. In fact, graduate students are required to work full time in a tech comm internship for one term in order to earn the M.A.
After graduation, students have many professional opportunities. Most students who graduate from UNT's tech comm graduate program go on to work in industry, but others, like Pollack, plan to share their passion by teaching technical communication at the university level.
Making the decision
For anyone considering graduate school, Dr. Boettger offered the following advice: "Research your options. Take an hour or two and see if [graduate school] is the right path for you before making any big decisions." Those who do decide to pursue their master's degree in tech comm at UNT will be interested to know that the program has a 100% job placement rate for its graduates over its 40-year history.
For more information on UNT's M.A. in professional and technical communication, visit this information page, or contact Dr. Boettger. For updates on the department and job openings, follow the UNT Department of Technical Communication on Facebook and Twitter.