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Colorado Mesa University offers graduate programs in Rhetoric and Literary Studies in 3 different tracks: (1) students may pursue the graduate certificate only, (2) students may complete the graduate certificate and a Master of Arts in Education concurrently, or (3) students may complete the graduate certificate and return to complete the master's degree. Courses are offered online and in blended course formats, providing flexibility for the working professional.

Graduate Certificate Only Track: The Rhetoric and Literary Studies Graduate Certificate (GC) is an 18-credit hour program, offered in an online format, and is designed to be completed in a two-year cycle. The GC provides licensed, secondary teachers the credentials required by the Higher Learning Commission to teach concurrent college or university courses in the area of English. This program is also available to students who hold a related bachelor's degree and wish to take individual courses and/or earn a graduate certificate to further their higher learning goals. Admission to the graduate certificate is granted by the English department.

MA & Graduate Certificate Concurrent Track: Students may complete the additional coursework for the master's program alongside their content-specific coursework for the graduate certificate. The Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) application requires an extra letter of reference and must include an education philosophy statement. Students seeking concurrent admission must first be granted admission to the graduate certificate program by the English department and then to the MAEd by the Center for Teacher Education. (GC courses are offered in an online format; MA courses are offered in online and in blended course formats.)

MA Option after Graduate Certificate Track: Students may elect to continue onto the master's degree after completion of the graduate certificate. For information on how to return to CMU to complete the remaining 15 credits hours related to education research, curriculum, instruction, culture, pedagogy, and technology, contact the CTE Graduate Office at 970.248.1618 or [email protected].

Note: The Applied Studies Graduate Certificate programs for Mathematics and Social Sciences are being discontinued after 2023.

The graduate certificate in Rhetoric and Literary Studies prepares those who already have a BA in English and need advanced expertise to teach composition and literature for a higher education institution. The program also allows students to explore particular fields in greater depth, test aptitude for graduate school, and even take steps towards an MA in English or education. The program focuses on key expertise that forms a well-rounded teacher in an English program: Rhetoric and Composition, Literature, Literary Theory, Creative Writing, and Linguistics. The curriculum invites a deep examination into the texts, contexts, and theories of language, literature, and writing. Students gain a better sense of the field and contribute their own scholarly voice to the conversation. They become close readers, critical thinkers, and creative and insightful writers.

Academic Requirements for Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Literary Studies

The Master of Arts in Education, Rhetoric and Literary Studies program is a dynamic program designed to meet the needs of education professionals who desire to teach lower-division college English courses in high school or higher education but who don’t have the necessary graduate credits to do so. The degree is awarded after successful completion of 33 credit hours in graduate coursework in English and education. The program is designed to provide students with more advanced knowledge in education research, curriculum, instruction, culture and pedagogy, educational technology, composition and rhetoric, literary theory, linguistics, creative writing, and American and British literature.

Academic Requirements for Master of Arts in Education in Rhetoric and Literary Studies (MAEd)

Career Links:

⇒Colorado Department of Education Current Educators Page:

⇒Colorado Teaching Jobs:

⇒Higher Ed Jobs:

⇒Nationwide Career, Salary, and Licensure Information at

⇒Mesa County School District Teacher Pay Schedules:

  • Note: the MA degree is required to qualify for the additional compensation schedule.
  • Available at → Employment → JobOpportunities → SalarySchedules


Scholarship Information

Rural Educator Scholarships

Concurrent Enrollment Education Qualification Stipend - This stipend is available to in-service educators in rural Colorado school districts who want to teach concurrent enrollment courses.
National Board Certification Stipend - This stipend is available to in-service educators in rural Colorado school districts who want to become Nationally Board Certified teachers.

⇒Scholarships for teachers pursuing graduate coursework can be found on the Denver Foundation site.

⇒ Scholarship Resources:

Rhetoric and Literary Studies

Dr. Tiffany Kinney - Department Head for Languages, Literature and Mass Communication

Graduate Admissions

Center for Teacher Education

Dr. Blake Bickham - Professor of Teacher Education

Devyn Elliott - Program Support Coordinator for Teacher Education

  • CTE Graduate Office: DH 109H
  • Graduate Office Phone: 970.248.1618
  • Email: [email protected]