Curriculum

The PhD program in Rhetoric and Composition is 5 years and requires a total of 60 credit hours, which is made up of coursework and research hours. The MA program in Rhetoric and Composition is 2 years and requires a total of 30 credit hours (plus 3 research hours). The graduate manual lists more specific rules and regulations. The curriculum listed below was updated in 2020 and applies to students entering the program in that year and later. Course and secondary area titles may vary slightly in future.

In addition to the requirements below, all students register for and attend our biannual Hutton lecture series course, and earn course credit for their first time.

To earn a PhD in our program, students must complete:

  • 4 core courses (see below)
  • 1 secondary area (although we highly recommend students complete 2 secondaries; see below)
  • 30 research hours
  • Certification of reading knowledge in a foreign language
  • Preliminary exams (written; 24 hour essay exam covering the 4 core courses + 7 day essay exam covering a question in the student's research area)
  • Dissertation prospectus (and oral defense)
  • Dissertation (and oral defense)

To earn an MA in our program, students must complete:

  • ENGL 501 Intro to English Studies
  • ENGL 591 Intro to Composition Studies
  • Pick 2 from RC core: ENGL 622, 625, 626 (see below)
  • 2 electives (see secondaries for commonly offered courses)
  • 3 LTC courses
  • Certification of reading knowledge in a foreign language
  • At least 3 research hours (ENGL 698)
  • Thesis (and oral defense)

 

The core curriculum referenced above is as follows:

  • English 591, Introduction to Composition Theory: examines issues in contemporary composition theory and interrogates what it means to do pedagogical theory
  • English 622, Issues in Comp Studies — Classical Period to the Renaissance: traces through these periods both primary and secondary sources on a variety of issues and topics in rhetorical theory
  • English 625, Seminar on Empirical Research on Writing: introduces the varieties of empirical research into writing focusing on critique, methodology, and research planning
  • English 626, Postmodernism and Composition Issues: introduces postmodern theories and connects them with theorizing in composition studies

The secondary areas referenced above are defined as follows:

professional, technical, and digital writing & rhetoric
  • ENGL 605 – Computers and Writing
  • ENGL 680T – Professional Writing Theory
  • One of the following:
    • ENGL 515 – Advanced Professional Writing 
    • ENGL 680 – Games & Digital Studio
    • ENGL 680 – Media & Design Studio
  • One interdisciplinary course, to be decided in conversation with the student’s major professor.
Public and Cultural Rhetorics
  • ENGL 680 – Public Rhetorics
  • A theory course under ENGL 680, including but not limited to Cultural Theory, Comparative Rhetorics, Institutional Rhetorics, Environmental Rhetorics, Queer Rhetorics, Minority Rhetorics, etc.
  • Either an ENGL 680 methods or archives seminar
  • One of the following:
    • ENGL 605 – Computers and Writing
    • ENGL 680T – Professional Writing Theory
    • ENGL 680 – Writing Across the Curriculum
    • One interdisciplinary course, to be decided in conversation with the student’s major professor.
Writing Programs and Centers
  • ENGL 680 – Writing Program Administration and Theory
  • ENGL 680 – Writing Center Administration and Theory
  • Two of the following:
    • ENGL 680T – Professional Writing Theory
    • ENGL 680 – Writing Across the Curriculum
    • ENGL 605 – Computers and Writing
    • ENGL 680 – Assessment

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