PHD English (Writing

Explore history, theories and methods of rhetorical inquiry across disciplines such as anthropology, law, psychology, religion, history, cognitive science and beyond. Prepare yourself for entrance into academia as well as a variety of careers through a variety of internships and professional development opportunities and a strong mentoring program.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD English (Writing

The PhD in English with a concentration in writing, rhetorics and literacies promotes the study of rhetorical strategies, production, distribution and interpretation of oral, written, digital, visual, discursive, material and symbolic texts.

Students study the history, theories and methods of inquiry as well as pragmatic and social actions of writing, rhetoric and literacies. With theories and methods from both historical and contemporary contexts, students learn strategies for inquiry; the ways in which communication creates knowledge and action; and how communication is constructed, circulated, reacted to and repurposed over time and across space. Program requirements are designed to encourage a full understanding of theoretical and applied aspects of writing studies, rhetorical studies and literacy studies. Students also are provided many opportunities to explore the intersections and tensions that exist within and between the three different areas of inquiry.

The program encourages transdisciplinary study, and its flexible requirements enable students to pursue those aspects of the disciplines that interest them the most. The program prepares students for working lives as teachers, scholars and communications professionals.

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Required Core (3 credit hours)
ENG 501 Approaches to Research (3)

Concentration (9 credit hours)
ENG 551 Rhetorical Traditions (3)
ENG 552 Composition Studies (3)
ENG 556 Theories of Literacy (3)

Focus Area (9 credit hours)

Electives or Research (18 credit hours)
research methods (3)
electives (15)

Other Requirements (3 credit hours)
writing for publication/scholarly writing coursework (3)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students may be allowed 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree as approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College. Students who do not hold a master's degree are required to take additional elective and research credit hours to reach the 84 credit hours required for this program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants with bachelor's or master's degrees in fields such as anthropology, applied linguistics, cognitive science, communication, comparative languages and literatures, English literature, education, history, law, linguistics, modern languages, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, rhetoric, composition, sociology, and speech and hearing science will be considered.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00= "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 (scale is 4.00= "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. statement of purpose
  4. resume or curriculum vitae
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. academic writing sample relevant to the field
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency. Applicants should see the Department of English website for specific details about English proficiency requirements.

In the well-considered, one- to two-page, single-spaced statement of purpose, applicants should explain how their experience and training have prepared them for the program. Applicants should indicate their career goals and explain how these goals relate to the program in writing, rhetorics and literacies. Applicants applying for funding must also submit a statement of teaching philosophy. Applicants should see the Department of English website for specific details.

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