New master’s degree offered at SSU

Chalee Hettinger, Staff Reporter

Shawnee State University (SSU) is home to more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programs, and  a new degree was added to the selection in May: Master of Arts in composition and rhetoric. This degree is targeted to students who wish to teach writing at an advanced or college level. The courses are completely online, and the whole program is 30 credit hours, making it accessible to prospective students with busy schedules. 

SSU chose to add this specific degree to their list of programs because Ohio and many other places need teachers who have the qualifications to teach College Credit Plus classes. College Credit Plus allows students in seventh through 12th grade to participate in college-level classes and earn college credit through their junior high and high school at no cost to the student. 

The program director, Dr. Jennifer Scott, said, “Our ideal student is someone who wants to teach writing at the college level and is looking for the credentials they need to pursue that goal.

Despite how recently the master’s degree was introduced, the program started with six students and has already grown to an enrollment of 11. Scott expects more students to enroll in the next cohort, starting in May 2023. Most of the students in the program have bachelor’s degrees in English or education, but some have backgrounds in humanities and liberal arts majors. Scott explained that one student in the program obtained their bachelor’s degree in English and humanities from SSU. 

Erin Rice, a 2021 SSU graduate, decided to continue her educational career at her alma mater in the composition and rhetoric master’s program. Rice obtained a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in culture and media studies. This is her second semester in the master’s program, and she plans to graduate around this time next year.    

The program has taught Rice about rhetoric in the classroom and how she can use composition practices and skills while teaching. 

“Overall, I have absolutely loved my time in the program,” she said. “It has been so beneficial to me as a teacher and as a writer. I have learned so much about properly teaching composition in the classroom. The program has so much to offer students. The professors are experts and genuinely care about helping the students understand the material and how to apply the practices to the classroom. It’s the perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to teach composition or rhetoric.”

If you have further questions about the master’s in composition and rhetoric degree or wish to learn more about it, please visit You can also contact Dr. Jennifer Scott at [email protected] for more information.