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Prospective Student FAQ

If you are interested in the MATC program at Texas State and would like to know more about it, please download and review our Information Packet.  It contains information about the program in general, the courses we provide, and our faculty, as well as information about entering into the Graduate College, Assistantships, Scholarships, and more.  Once you have reviewed the Information Packet, please feel free to send any specific questions or concerns to us via email (matc@txstate.edu) or by phone (512-245-3733).

Download our applicant information packet: Information Packet

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What do technical writers do?

Technical Communicators work in a variety of businesses, agencies, and organizations and do a wide range of writing, editing, designing, and publishing activities. These activities include documenting computer hardware and software; designing websites; producing multimedia educational training materials; writing governmental policies and regulatory rules; writing grant applications; and publishing brochures, newsletters, and magazines.

What are recent salary expectations for technical writers?

The amount varies by state, area of specialization, and job. You can refer to this Forbes article to get average figures.

What courses are offered?

Course topics are continually being created, revised, and rotated. The courses are both theory-based and computer tools courses. For a current listing, see the course descriptions page.

When do most classes meet and where are they held?

Classes are held at the San Marcos campus of Texas State University-San Marcos and at the Round Rock Higher Education Center (RRHEC) in north Austin. Most classes meet from 6:30 to 9:15 p.m. to accommodate students who work full-time. These classes usually meet in computer classrooms for hands-on practice.

Can I take all of the classes online?

The program offers hybrid classes that meet in-person 2 or 3 times a semester at the Round Rock Higher Education Center. These classes meet online the remainder of the semester. A student could complete the degree plan only taking hybrid online classes. However, this option may limit the number of classes a student can take per semester, resulting in longer overall enrollment.

What are the program deadlines?

There are two sets of important deadlines for this program:

Applications, transcripts, and portfolios must be received by June 15 for the fall semester, November 1 for the spring semester, and April 15 for the summer semester. Please Note: Applications and transcripts must be sent to the Graduate College, and portfolios must be sent directly to the MATC office.

Students interested in Instructional Assistant (IA) or Teaching Assistant (TA) positions must submit complete packets no later than January 15 for the following school year. IA/TA positions are only awarded for the entire year. Please read the policies and guidelines for these positions before you apply.

Am I required to have a minor or cognate to complete the program?

No.  Although the Texas Common Application will ask you for a minor or cognate, you are not required to obtain a minor or cognate to complete our program.  You can leave that section of your application blank.

Do I need to take the GRE to be accepted into the MATC program?

No.  The MATC program does not require taking the GRE; however, the Graduate College may require an applicant to have a GRE score on record if their GPA is below a 2.75 in their major.

How many students are in the program?

The MATC program has been in existence since fall 1999, and now boasts over 40 active students. The first two students graduated in summer 2001. The students' diverse backgrounds enhance the educational experience for all. Some are already technical communicators seeking further credentials and new information, some are making lifetime career changes, and others have just completed undergraduate school.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Since the majority of MATC students work full-time and take classes in the evenings, most choose to take one or two courses per semester. All students should expect to spend a minimum of two years in the program but the program can be completed in three years. The degree itself consists of 30 hours; a full graduate course load is nine hours per semester.

What is the difference between taking a thesis or internship track?

Students who are inclined to pursue a Ph.D. are encouraged to take the thesis track (a minimum of six hours), while others are directed toward doing an internship (three credit hours).

Where do students intern?

The Master of Arts in Technical Communication Program offers an internship course in which students work on a professional publication for internship credit. Students in this course have worked on Southwestern American Literature, a literary journal published by the Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University,The Journal of Texas Music History, a publication of Texas State University's Center for Texas Music History, and The Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention in Houston.

What does the thesis involve?

Writing a thesis is particularly appropriate for those students who plan to pursue a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition or Technical Communication. The following guidelines are designed to guide students through the thesis writing process in the MATC program at Texas State University:  Thesis Information Packet

Is a Master's examination involved?

Yes, students are required to create and submit a Comprehensive Exam Portfolio of their best academic and practical work to demonstrate what they have learned in the MATC program. Download a complete description of the portfolio exam here:  Comprehensive Exam Information Packet

How will a MATC degree benefit me if I'm already in the workplace?

Our program will introduce you to new ideas, broaden your writing, editing, and designing skills, introduce you to new technology, help you to get new credentials, and help you network with other professionals.

What software will be used?

The Technical Communication program is a PC-based program, and classes are held in PC computer classrooms. You should have access to a PC computer with a CD-ROM drive, Internet connection, and a scanner. You will need to know how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Acrobat Reader and WinZip.  Other software may be used based on individual course subject matter.

How technologically literate do I need to be?

If you aren't familiar with the following technology skills, you can ask a friend for help or enroll in a computer literacy class. These are basic technology skills that you can learn very quickly. You should know how to do the following:

  • Open a file; name and rename a file
  • Save a file in different directories, drives, and to the desktop
  • Save a file in common formats such as .doc, .gif, .jpg, .ppt, .xls, etc.
  • Know what these common file extensions mean
  • Find a file through Windows Explorer
  • Send and receive e-mail
  • Attach and remove files from e-mail
  • Download and upload files  through ftp or related methods
  • Scan and save files as .jpg, .gif, or .tif and know which extension is appropriate to use
  • Surf and navigate the Web
  • Zip and unzip files
  • Virus-scan a disk and/or computer
  • Use Microsoft Word at a level of moderate to high proficiency
  • Use the Help feature on a software program

I have a question not covered in the FAQ. Whom can I contact?

Contact the MATC office by phone at: 512.245.3733, or email us at matc@txstate.edu.