PhD in Writing and Rhetoric

George Mason's doctoral program in Writing and Rhetoric offers a curriculum that emphasizes theoretical, practical, and productive approaches to writing in organizations and in public spaces. Our program is built on the premise that writing and teaching in twenty-first century organizations requires the rigorous, integrated study of rhetoric, technology, culture, and research methodologies. Our courses prepare students for rhetorical and pedagogical work in

  • colleges and universities
  • public schools
  • government and nonprofit programs
  • corporate workplaces
  • the broad public spheres crafted via the Internet and mass media

Graduates will help meet the increasing national demand for faculty in rhetoric and composition to teach and lead programs in areas such as writing program administration, writing across the curriculum, technical communication, and media studies. Industry and government also need professionals to conduct research, manage development, and analyze policy in the use of new communication technologies. Our program will prepare students to write, research, and teach with a deeper understanding of the intellectual and administrative tools that can enhance the work they do within industry, government, nonprofit organizations, and public schools.

Curriculum Overview

The PhD curriculum consists of 4 "core" courses specific to the integrative focus of our program, plus a research methods course (for a total of 5 required courses). Students take an additional 4 courses in a major research area and 3 courses in a minor area. The courses for the minor area may come from other fields or disciplines, but should complement the student's research agenda. In addition to coursework, students must complete 12 credit hours of dissertation research. The PhD program requires a total of 48 credit hours beyond the MA or MS. The PhD curriculum has no specific "tracks": students are expected to gain an understanding of how rhetoric functions in multiple, complex sites and situations, and to choose a course sequence that enhances and expands their previous experience as writers, teachers, or scholars. The core courses in particular are designed to bring together students with different backgrounds and help them see commonalities among—as well as new options for—their endeavors.


Writing Rhetoric