College of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD in Writing and Rhetoric

The doctoral program in writing and rhetoric offers a curriculum that emphasizes theoretical, practical, and productive approaches to composition, professional writing, and public rhetorics. The program is built on the premise that writing and teaching in twenty-first century organizations requires the rigorous, integrated study of rhetoric, technology, pedagogy, culture, and research methodologies.

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see the Academic Policies section of the catalog.

Reduction of Credit

Students must have a master’s degree before being admitted to the PhD in writing and rhetoric. Most students receive a reduction of study of 30 credits based on their previous master’s degree.

To receive the PhD in writing and rhetoric, students complete a minimum of 78 credits of course work, 48 beyond the master's degree. Beyond the basic course work, a dissertation is required. 

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2016-2017)

To receive the PhD in writing and rhetoric, students complete a minimum of 78 credits of course work, 48 beyond the master's degree. Beyond the basic course work, a dissertation is required. 

Doctoral Course Work (66 credits)

Four core courses (12 credits)

ENGH 720 - Histories of Institutional Rhetorics Credits: 3

ENGH 722 - Composition Pedagogies and Programs in Context Credits: 3

ENGH 724 - Professional Writing Theory and Research Credits: 3

ENGH 726 - Rhetorical Theory and Public Spaces Credits: 3

One required research methods course (3 credits)

ENGH 702 - Research Methods in Rhetoric and Writing Credits: 3

Four courses (12 credits) in primary focus area

With a faculty advisor, students complete any combination of the following courses totaling 12 credits. Each course offers multiple topics and can be taken up to 4 times. The selected courses should form a consistent area of research around a specific object, practice, method, set of theories, or sub-field.

ENGH 822 - Studies in Composition Credits: 3(can be repeated when topic differs)

ENGH 824 - Studies in Professional Writing Credits: 3(can be repeated when topic differs)

ENGH 826 - Studies in Public Rhetorics Credits: 3(can be repeated when topic differs)

Three courses (9 credits) in a secondary focus area

With a faculty advisor, students choose 3 courses from another program or discipline (see below) and/or the primary area courses. The selected courses form a consistent secondary area of research that supports the student's primary area and developing research interests. It is strongly suggested that the secondary focus courses be taken in other programs or disciplines.

Coursework for the secondary focus may be completed with courses from the following departments and programs: anthropology, art and visual technology, communication, cultural studies, education, English, history, linguistics, literature, modern and classical languages, public policy, sociology, and women and gender studies.

Electives (0-30 credits)

Students receiving a reduction of credit of less than 30 will complete the remaining credits through additional elective courses chosen in consultation with an advisor.

Advancement to candidacy

Prior to beginning dissertation research (normally after completion of 66 hours of coursework), students will take a written examination, successful completion of which will demonstrate a qualification for advancement to candidacy. The examination will cover foundation knowledge acquired in the writing and rhetoric core courses and in the student's area of primary focus.

Dissertation Research (12 credits)

The dissertation process, which begins after the student has completed 66 credit hours and passed the written qualifying exam, includes an oral exam on the dissertation proposal, the production of the dissertation, and an oral defense of the dissertation. The student's progress at all stages will be evaluated by the dissertation committee. The dissertation should use theoretical, historical, qualitative, and/or quantitative methods to address a rhetorical problem within an institutional or public context that is framed within a disciplinary field. While these projects are often multidisciplinary in approach, they should address a gap in a discipline's research as well as solve a public rhetorical problem.

Once enrolled in ENGH 998, students in this degree program must maintain continuous registration in 998 or ENGH 999 each semester (excluding summers) until the dissertation is submitted to and accepted by the University Libraries. Once enrolled in ENGH 999, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy as specified in the Academic Policies section of the catalog. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of 999.

ENGH 998 - Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Credits: 1-6(3 credits required)

ENGH 999 - Doctoral Dissertation Credits: 1-12(minimum of 9 credits)

Total: 78 credits

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