MA/MS in Technical and Professional Writing: Admissions

People talking around table

Application Fee Waivers Available

The English Department has a limited number of application fee waivers available, which will be provided on a first come, first served basis. To request a fee waiver, please email grdstudy@pdx.edu with a brief statement of financial need.


On This Page

Overview
Application Deadline
Application Process
Funding and Graduate Assistantships
Second Language Requirement
English Language Proficiency Requirement

Questions?

Contact the Technical and Professional Writing Director, Sarah Read, at read3@pdx.edu or the Program Coordinator at grdstudy@pdx.edu.

Overview

In Professional and Technical Writing, strong writing skills are considered central. While many students enter the program with a background in English literature, writing, or journalism, it is not required, and many of our strongest students come from backgrounds in the sciences, social sciences, and other areas in the humanities.

Admission to graduate study is granted on the basis of evidence of preparedness to undertake advanced work and the probability of successful completion of the degree. All applicants must hold a BA or BS degree from a regionally accredited institution (the degree may be in progress at the time of application but must be completed before admission can be finalized). We also expect an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.25.

Application Deadlines

The MA or MS in Professional and Technical Writing program offers rolling admissions:

Deadline Admission Term
September 1 Winter
November 1 Spring
April 1 Fall

There is no flexibility on these deadlines. Applications must be submitted and include all supplemental application materials by the deadline.

Application Process

Applications are submitted electronically through the Graduate School.

  • Upload all files as PDF/DOC/DOCX/RTF. JPG/TIF/PNG/PDF/GIF is allowed for test scores or transcripts.

  • For the "Letters of Recommendation" section, fill out the recommender's contact information. Click on "Submit Recommendation Request" to send an automated request via email. The recommender will then receive an email with a link that they will follow to upload your letter of recommendation.  Emails to recommenders can be sent before the application is submitted (you have to page through to the end of the application to input recommender contact information, but can then finish your application at a later date.)

  • After your application has been submitted, you will be able to log back in and monitor the status of your letters of recommendation. You can send a reminder to your recommenders, add new recommenders, or edit information about an existing recommender.

  • You will not be able to make corrections to a submitted application.

Required Supplemental Materials

  • A personal introduction. Approximately 1-2 double-spaced pages describing the applicant's goals, interests, and background as a current or prospective professional or technical writer.

  • A writing sample (15-30 pages total). Please submit a writing sample of 15-30 pages. Materials may include academic writing, such as college essays and research papers, creative writing, especially non-fiction genres, and customary professional and technical writing genres, including (but not limited to) descriptions, specifications, computer documentation, proposals, memoranda, formal reports, newsletters, online documentation, or web pages. A short explanatory text may substitute for proprietary professional works that cannot be submitted. Writing samples should represent your best work and demonstrate mastery of basic craft and promise of success in professional/technical writing. Your writing sample can be comprised of one or multiple bodies of work equal to the page requirements.

  • Minimum of 3 letters of recommendation. These should come from a professional or academic author who can comment on your academic performance, or attest to your skills as they pertain to your selected program of study.

  • Unofficial transcripts. Submit unofficial transcripts from each post-secondary institution you have attended.  These unofficial transcripts may be scans of official transcripts issued to you, or they may be printouts of your academic record from the Registrar's website at your institution.   If you are accepted into the program and decide to attend, you must submit official transcripts to the Graduate School before you can register for classes for your first term in the program.

  • C.V. / Resume (optional). A C.V. or resume is optional but strongly recommended.

  • GRE scores are not required.

Funding and Graduate Assistantships

The Technical and Professional Writing program offers one graduate assistantship that is available to an incoming student entering the program in Fall quarter of each year. Graduate assistants receive a stipend and a 9-credit tuition remission in fall, winter, and spring terms. The Professional and Technical Writing graduate assistant is appointed for two years, depending on performance and available funding. The graduate assistant will, in their first year, typically tutor in the Writing Center for one quarter, and teach WR 115: Introduction to College Writing or WR 121: College Writing for two quarters. In their second year, the graduate assistant will typically teach each quarter, though they may opt to spend a quarter in the Writing Center. Applicants who would like to be considered for the Professional and Technical Writing program's graduate assistantship should submit a short statement (three double-spaced pages, maximum) about why they are a good fit for this position.  

See the English graduate student funding page for other funding options, including University-wide Graduate Assistantships, awards, and scholarships.

Second Language Requirement

All Master of Arts students at Portland State University are required to have experience with a second language by the time they graduate from the program. The requirement calls for the equivalent of two years of college-level study in the same language. At PSU, this is equal to courses numbered 203 or above. Options for satisfying the second language requirements can be found on the World Language and Literatures website. All Master of Science students do not have to complete the second language requirement.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

If the applicant's native language is not English, and the applicant has not received a baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalently accredited non‐U.S. institution with instruction exclusively in English, the student must demonstrate English language proficiency. Such applicants must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (100 on the internet‐based test or 250 on the computer‐based test). The International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) may be substituted for the TOEFL; the minimum acceptable score is 7.5. For further information about the English Language Proficiency Requirement, visit the Graduate School's English Language Proficiency page, or contact International Admissions at 503-725-8410 or gradschool@pdx.edu.