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Welcome to the Rhetoric and Composition Programs WikiEdit

This is a space where graduate program directors, faculty, alumni, students, prospective students, and program applicants can share information about rhetoric and composition and technical communication PhD programs. The purpose of this wiki is to make accessible programmatic information and working conditions. Please note that this wiki is a work in progress and its accuracy is contingent on user contributions.

Resources Edit

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric/Composition & Linguistics

Mission: The PhD in English, concentration in writing, rhetorics, and literacies at Arizona State University promotes the study of the production, distribution, and interpretation of texts (oral, written, digital, visual, discursive, material, symbolic) and the rhetorical strategies involved in such processes.  

Areas of Focus: Students draw on composition/writing theory, rhetorical theory, and literacy studies to examine the ideological, pedagogical, pragmatic and social dimensions of words, symbols, texts, images, and artifacts. Using theories and methods from both historical and contemporary contexts, we teach students strategies for inquiry; the ways in which communication creates knowledge, meaning and action; and how texts, meanings, and communication are constructed, circulated, reacted to, and repurposed over time and across space.

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Course Requirements: 54 credit hours, including 12 hours of dissertation 

Examination Process: The PhD examination process involves two portfolio papers, an oral or written examination on a bibliography of a minimum of forty works central to the student's specialization, and a colloquy on the dissertation prospectus. One of the portfolio papers will have as its focus the student’s primary area of specialization while the other paper will address a different area. The bibliography will be constructed by the student in consultation with the committee, and will accompany the portfolio papers for formal evaluation by the committee.  

Time to Degree: 5-year program 

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Number of TT Faculty: 12 

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Application Deadline: January 15 

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Ball State University (Muncie, IN) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition

Mission: Students in Ball State’s PhD in Rhetoric and Composition gain a broad understanding of rhetorical and writing studies. Weaving throughout this program are two commitments: the first to the importance of pedagogy and of the teaching moment, the second to the importance of technology in its myriad guises and contexts. 

Areas of Focus: Rhetoric and writing histories, pedagogies, research strategies, technologies, and administration. Students investigate the influences of digital and multimodal writing alongside rhetorical history, research methodologies, and composition pedagogies. Additionally, graduate coursework in Writing Program and Writing Center Administration prepares students for future faculty administrative appointments.  

Funding Opportunities: Ball State Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award, Hanson Rhetoric and Composition Award, Graduate Assistantships, Summer Session Assistantships 

Pay Range: $15,284.00, $500 housing allowance for on-campus housing

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Examination Process: At the completion of coursework, students take comprehensive examinations covering the concentration and cognates. Oral examinations follow the written exam. 

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Application Deadline: January 15 

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Notes: Tuition is covered, but not fees, which equal about $1,600 a year. Decisions about assistantships are generally made in March and announced in April.

Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Writing

Mission: The Rhetoric & Writing program understands rhetoric as situated, participatory, action based, and responsive. The program approaches rhetoric and writing as meaning-making practices that span across cultures and develop over a lifetime. The program grows future faculty members who contribute to the scholarly discipline; engage learners as responsible and responsive citizens; develop pedagogies informed by research, best practices, and developing technologies; administer university writing programs; and shape campus and community cultures through their leadership. 

Areas of Focus: Rhetorical, cultural, empirical and digital approaches to writing

Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching assistantships, other opportunities available on a limited basis. Students in their final year of the program are encouraged to apply for a Research Assistantship to support research work. 

Pay Range: $14,000 

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Examination Process: The preliminary examination process for the Rhetoric & Writing Ph.D. Program has three parts: a written General Examination based on a required reading list (students write on three questions over a weekend), a Specialized Portfolio Examination (comprised of professional revising project, professional curriculum project, initial dissertation reading list, bibliographic essay), and an Oral Examination taken after successful completion of the first two components. 

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Number of TT Faculty: 3 

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Cohort Size: 5-8 students 

Application Deadline: January 15 

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Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh, PA) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric

Mission: The program focuses on how people produce and understand discourse across a variety of social, cultural, and material contexts, in schools, workplaces, and communities.  

Areas of Focus: The program familiarizes students with the history and theory of rhetoric and language study and with a variety of methods, qualitative and quantitative, for systematically exploring their interests in research projects and dissertation work. The program prepares students for academic careers centered on the history and theory of rhetoric, research about the writing process and communication design more generally, or rhetorical approaches to discourse and cultural studies. 

Funding Opportunities: Teaching assistantships 

Pay Range: 

Teaching Load for GTAs: 1/1 

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: First-year English, self-designed courses over the summer 

Course Requirements: 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree: 5 core courses, equivalent of 1 in language or methodology 

Examination Process: Proposal, written exam (respond to 2-3 questions based on proposal and reading list; up to 3 hours), oral exam (up to 2 hours) 

Average Time to Degree: 

Placement: Faculty members of English, rhetoric, and communications departments; government and industry positions; non-profit civic engagement positions 

Number of TT Faculty: 12 

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Cohort Size: 2-4 students 

Application Deadline: December 15 

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Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Writing History and Theory Concentration

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Funding Opportunities: Graduate assistantships; a Dean’s Fellows program furnishes all PhD students in their first two years with research funds. Beginning in the third year, the program enables up to two students to develop interdisciplinary and inter-institutional projects that engage both Cleveland and major research sites worldwide, providing additional stipend, travel, and writing support. Competitive Arthur Adrian and Roger B. Salomon Dissertation Fellowships release one or more advanced doctoral students from Graduate Assistantship duties for a term, to devote full-time attention to the dissertation project. Support for research and conference travel. Subventions for students traveling to the annual Modern Language Association convention for job-market interviews. 

Pay Range: $20,000 

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Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: Courses in general education, composition, literature, and professional communication. All new-to-CWRU graduate teaching assistants begin their teaching appointments as Writing Resource Center consultants, working with members of the university community on projects ranging from first-semester writing assignments to professional school application essays, from personal narratives to advanced disciplinary publications. Advanced graduate teaching assistants teach in a range of writing-intensive courses, including the following: Introduction to Composition, Expository Writing, Literature in English, Introduction to Creative Writing, Business and Professional Writing, Writing for the Health Professions, Poetry, The Novel, Professional Communication for Engineers, and the general education SAGES University Seminar (contingent upon the approval of the SAGES office). 

Course Requirements: 24 hours of coursework, 18 credits of dissertation research 

Examination Process: Working with an advisory committee, students prepare a list of approximately 75 works in two or three areas of concentration. They also prepare four research questions in these areas, from which the committee will select two for submission after a 72-hour period. (Examination answers to all four questions may be drafted in advance of the 72-hour period between receipt of the assignment of questions and the submission of the completed exam.) The written exam is followed by an oral examination. Both portions of the Qualifying Examination must be passed in order for students to Advance to Candidacy. 

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Placement: 100 percent placement rate in the first year for doctoral graduates seeking full-time academic teaching jobs over the period 2002-2014 (66% placement rate 2007-14 in tenure-track or equivalent permanent positions). Graduates in the last 10 years have started full-time work in permanent positions at institutions including the following: West Virginia University, Miami University, Marygrove College, College of Mount St. Joseph, Concord University, Roanoke College, Clarion University, Winona State University, Pittsburg State University, Westfield State, Slippery Rock University and Murray State University. Doctoral graduates of our program seeking non-teaching employment have gone on to careers in curriculum development, editing and non-profit management with firms such as SABIS Educational Services, The Stelter Company and the North Union Farmer’s Market. 

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Application Deadline: January 15 

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Notes: Decisions are communicated no later than mid-March.    

City University of New York (New York, NY) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Composition Theory and Rhetoric Area of Study

Mission: With a distinguished faculty of scholars and writers, a dynamic cohort of graduate students, and an abundance of cultural resources in New York City, the Ph.D. Program in English provides students with a stimulating environment in which their intellectual interests can thrive. 

Areas of Focus: Feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; critical theory; poetics and aesthetics; critical race studies; popular culture; life writing; and Composition and Rhetoric. 

Funding Opportunities: 

Pay Range: ~$26,128 

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Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: Composition

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Time to Degree: 5-year program 

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Number of TT Faculty: 6 

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Application Deadline: January 1 

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Clemson University (Clemson, SC) Edit

Degree: Transdisciplinary PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Mission: Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design is an academic-professional degree, preparing students to conduct research and to disseminate their findings through teaching in the university and through publishing in professional and popular journals. RCID prepares students, through research, to be consultants for and to work within industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. RCID prepares students to be professionals in traditional and emerging economies. At present, virtually all of the students wish to work primarily in academia. We expect that they will be of value to the growing demand for innovative faculty in colleges of liberal arts and humanities: Specifically in Departments of Art, Communication Studies, English, Rhetorics, Writing, New Media, as well as Departments and Centers whose names have yet been determined in an ever-emerging economy for undergraduate and graduate education. 

Areas of Focus: Writing and Communication Across the Curriculum • Visual Communication • Editing and Production of Digital Publications • Old and New Media • Critical Theory • Open Source and Intellectual Property Issues • Audio and Video Cultures • Usability Studies • Health Communication • Serious Computer Games • Literature and Performing Arts • Science and Technology • Information Design, and other emerging areas. 

Funding Opportunities: Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Graduate School Fellowships 

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Examination Process: There are three written exams (one major area, two support areas) and an oral with multimedia presentation on the dissertation project. Or if additional work is recommended, students may take, prior to exams, up to three, elective seminars within RCID or within other programs at the MA or Ph.D. level in support of their research project. 

Time to Degree: 4-year program 

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East Carolina University (Greenville, NC) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication

Mission: The PhD program offers students the opportunity to combine theory and practice in the study of rhetoric, writing, and professional communication. Focusing on public and community rhetoric across genres and media, we provide future scholar-teachers with diverse, well-supported research and pedagogical experiences and foster professional development within intellectual and professional communities. 

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Course Requirements: 60 hours beyond master's degree 

Examination Process: Journal-ready article or bibliographic essay; PhD core exam (answer 2 of 4 questions in 4-hour period); specialization exam (answer 2 of 4 questions in a week); oral comprehensive exam 

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Number of TT Faculty: 12 

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Application Deadline: January 15 

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Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition Specialization

Mission:  

Areas of Focus: Rhetorical and social practices and theories of composing and composition, particularly emphasizing the relationships between texts (print, audio, visual, and digital), technologies, and literacies. 

Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching assistantships, mentoring, assisting the Director in the First-Year Composition Program, tutoring and assisting in the Reading Writing Center (RWC), consulting and assisting the Director in the Digital Studio, Computer Writing Classroom Coordinator, Rhetoric and Composition Assistant to the Program Director, university fellowships, college teaching fellowships, Kingsbury Writing Scholarships, McKnight Fellowships, Leslie E. Wilson Fellowships, Delores Auzenne Fellowships 

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Teaching Load for GTAs: 2/2 

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: First year composition, Writing and Editing in Print and Online, Rhetoric, and other courses in the Editing, Writing, and Media (EWM) Program, undergraduate writing center tutor preparation, History of Texts Technologies, Article and Essay Technique 

Course Requirements: 27 hours of coursework and 24 dissertation hours, including 5 core courses 

Examination Process: Written preliminary examinations (with an oral defense) in 4 areas: Rhetoric, Composition, Minor Area, Specialty Area 

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Number of TT Faculty: 7 

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Application Deadline: December 15 

Campus/Department/Program Climate: Hospitable environment for graduate students; students and faculty often work on research together, including publishing books, chapters, and articles; presenting at conferences; editing collections and journals, and grant writing. We value community, gathering regularly to support one another, celebrate each other's accomplishments, and develop professionally. We host at least one distinguished scholar in rhetoric and composition, who shares with us his or her latest research.

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Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition Concentration

Mission: The Georgia State University Department of English’s Rhetoric & Composition Program offers the MA and PhD and allows students to gain expertise in academic areas increasingly in high demand in a wide range of scholarly and professional careers. Our students study history and theory as well as contemporary approaches to writing in both academic and non-academic settings, they learn how to use new digital publication and information technologies, and they acquire valuable software skills that make them attractive to prospective employers. We provide opportunities for graduate internships with our departmental publications, nonprofits, and other Atlanta-based organizations, and mentoring and training in the teaching of writing and writing program administration. 

Areas of Focus: Composition studies, rhetorical theory, visual and digital rhetoric, technical communication, advanced academic writing, language studies, writing center studies, writing program administration, and professional writing 

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Examination Process: 7-day off-site written exam consisting of four questions. This exam draws on both a primary field of specialization and a research focus within that field. 

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Placement: We’ve graduated hundreds of MA and PhD students over the past 20 years who consistently find work in academia, professional/technical writing, and academic administration. All of our recent MA and PhD students have found full-time employment including tenure-track academic and administrative positions at a wide range of national and international colleges and universities, including the University of Arizona, the University of Mississippi, East Carolina University, Lander College, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston University, Boston College, Rollins College, and the University of Sydney, as well as Georgia institutions including Spelman College, Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Tech University, Kennesaw State University, Morehouse College, and Dalton State College. Additionally, many of our alumni are employed outside traditional academia in technical and professional communication positions. 

Number of TT Faculty: 9 

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Application Deadline: February 5 

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Illinois State University (Normal, IL) Edit

Degree: PhD in English Studies, Concentration in Rhetoric and Writing (including New Media Studies, Professional Writing and Rhetorics, Rhetoric and Composition, and Teaching Writing)

Mission: In English Studies, multiple and interdisciplinary perspectives are used to examine and produce texts for audiences communicating in English: How do cultures shape language and how does language shape culture? How do intersections of cultures affect communication across borders? What forms can we create to connect and enter into dialogue with each other? 

Areas of Focus: English Education, Rhetoric and Writing (including New Media Studies, Professional Writing and Rhetorics, Rhetoric and Composition, and Teaching Writing), TESOL 

Funding Opportunities: Graduate Assistantships 

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Course Requirements: Minimum of 14 courses, one of them a teaching internship, in three areas: English Studies; major field or specialization; and theoretical, methodological, or professional studies. 

Examination Process: Doctoral students complete comprehensive exam activities in two areas: a focused area of specialization within English studies that pertains to the student's anticipated dissertation topic and an area of issues in English Studies that demonstrates the student’s interdisciplinary knowledge gained from coursework in multiple areas of English Studies and, in some instances, from coursework taken in other departments.  

Student consults with advisor and prepares reading list in primary specialization (~25-30 books) with 3-5 page rationale. Upon approval, 4 weeks to develop 15-20 page paper that problematizes a specific issue or set of issues within that field. For English Studies area, students develop a proposal, abstract, and interdisciplinary presentation followed by a Q & A session.

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Number of TT Faculty: 8 

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Application Deadline: January 15 

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Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Concentration in Rhetoric

Mission: This path-breaking PhD Concentration in Rhetoric offers the opportunity to explore the full range of rhetorical studies within an integrated program that brings Communication and Composition together. Solidly grounded in rhetoric's traditions, yet leaving artificial boundaries behind, our program is perfect for graduate students attracted by the option to develop expertise across the rich and diverse terrain of contemporary rhetorical theory and practice. 

Areas of Focus: Digital rhetoric, social justice, visual culture, critical-cultural rhetoric, and pedagogical theory 

Funding Opportunities: Associate Instructorships and Fellowships; typically, students in the Rhetoric concentration who make reasonable progress toward fulfilling degree requirements will be awarded a non-teaching Dissertation Year Fellowship (for students admitted in 2017, $20,000 plus tuition and fee remission) in their fifth year in the program. 

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Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: Students accepted into the program with an M.A. in hand generally will teach W131: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry in their first year and then P155: Public Oral Communication in their second year. For students accepted into the program without an M.A. this sequence generally is reversed. Generally, these first-year appointments will be succeeded by at least three years of Associate Instructorship, in which AIs will teach their own sections of Composition or Rhetoric courses. 

Course Requirements: A total of 90 credit hours overall is required for the Ph.D., including 30 credit hours for M.A. coursework; 16 credit hours of doctoral course work; and 44 credit hours of continuing degree/research credit. 

Examination Process: Submit reading list (not more than 100 works) of primary and secondary materials that delineates your general field of scholarly expertise. Two-hour exam consisting of twenty-minute presentation in response to one question selected from a list prepared by committee and oral exam. 

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Number of TT Faculty: 11 

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Application Deadline: January 2 

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Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, PA) Edit

Degree: PhD in Composition & TESOL

Mission: Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s doctoral program in Composition and TESOL provides students with a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and research-based understanding of first- and second-language literacy instruction. 

With accomplished, international faculty in the fields of composition, TESOL, rhetoric, and applied linguistics, our program offers the unique experience of working across disciplinary lines and integrating research on language, literacy, culture, and writing.

Our curriculum is built on the concept of the teacher-scholar. We help doctoral students conduct innovative research and we promote teaching practices that are informed by research. Our students become accomplished teacher-scholars known for their enthusiasm, research, teaching, and publications. They enjoy careers as faculty members, literacy researchers, writing program directors, academic administrators, and expert consultants.

The Composition and TESOL program is one of the few programs in the world designed to give students the option of exploring first- and second-language literacy in English. We welcome students who wish to explore the ever-widening contexts of literacy and language around the world and who recognize the importance, value, and beauty of literacy research and instruction.

Areas of Focus: Writing assessment, writing centers, technology, cross-cultural communication, rhetoric, applied linguistics, and literacy theory 

Funding Opportunities: Graduate Assistantships -- Duties may include assisting on a research project, library research work, course assistance, or tutorial aid in the Writing Center or the American Language Institute. Assistantships may be renewable for a second year. Assistantships are not available during the summer.  

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Course Requirements: 36 credit hours of coursework, 12 hours of dissertation 

Examination Process: Qualifying Portfolio consisting of two revised course papers, a cover sheet describing the revisions, 1-2 page formal cover letter addressed to the editor of a journal, qualifying manuscript--an original work written with an academic journal or edited collection in mind. 

Time to Degree: 5-year program 

Placement: At the end of the degree program, many of our students return to their home institutions as tenure-track faculty. Others move to new teaching jobs or to positions in writing or language program administration. Our graduates go on to publish, speak at conferences, and lead workshops. Many become leaders of their profession. 

Number of TT Faculty: 11 

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Iowa State University (Ames, IA) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication

Mission: A program committed to studying the rhetorical and technological complexities of contemporary communication practice. We embrace multimodal composition, new media, and digital collaboration. Founded in 1991, we were among the first PhD programs in the United States to feature the role of rhetoric in technical and professional communication. Our breadth of faculty expertise, robust technology infrastructure, multimodal pedagogy, and responsive curriculum make possible a comprehensive approach to graduate education. 

Areas of Focus: Professional communication, multimodal composition, or rhetoric. 

Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching and research assistantships, summer assistantships (limited) 

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Course Requirements: 72 credit hours 

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Number of TT Faculty: 16 

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Application Deadline: January 5 

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Kent State University (Kent, OH) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Composition: Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice

Mission: The Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition is focused on Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice. Literacy encompasses all acts of meaning construction in academic and nonacademic settings and across reading, writing, and other relevant forms of representation. Rhetoric includes the production and use of texts for distinct audiences and social contexts. Social Practice refers to the embeddedness of literacy and rhetoric within the larger discursive and material contexts of human activity. 

The graduate program in Rhetoric and Composition is designed to be unique within the field of Rhetoric and Composition and within the state of Ohio. Grounded in rhetoric and language study, course work and research in the program center on how advanced literacy is embedded within and constitutive of communities of work and citizenship in contemporary culture. Well aware of the historical and institutional link between composition instruction and the humanities, we designed our program to forge close connections between language and literacy at the university and in the work and lives of our students and communities. The graduate program in Rhetoric and Composition connects the university with the communities and constituencies it serves, and it has two major goals: (a) to understand written literacy within the worlds of work and community that college students enter, and (b) to prepare doctoral students to carry out original research that can effect positive change in the practices of workplaces and communities and in the practices of educators teaching in college and university writing programs.

Areas of Focus: 

Funding Opportunities: Teaching fellowships 

Pay Range: $15,000 

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Course Requirements: 30 hours of coursework 

Examination Process: Qualifying examination consisting of 500-word description of research project, Examination Rationale, and Reading List. Three 3-hour examinations, with up to four hours to complete each examination. Two-hour oral defense. 

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Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Writing and Culture Track

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Funding Opportunities: Graduate Teaching Assistantships 

Pay Range: $17,500 

Teaching Load for GTAs: 1/1 

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Time to Degree: 4-5 year program 

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Number of TT Faculty: 6 

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Application Deadline: January 15 

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Miami University (Oxford, OH) Edit

Degree: PhD in Composition and Rhetoric

Location: Oxford, OH

Mission: 

Areas of Focus: rhetoric and composition pedagogy, digital and multimedia rhetoric and composing, community and public rhetorics, civic engagement, intercultural and comparative rhetorics, second language writing, professional writing, feminist and queer studies, writing program administration, writing centers, and writing-across-the-curriculum 

Funding Opportunities: Teaching assistantships, Assistant Directors of Composition, Assistant Coordinator of Digital Writing Collaborative, Digital Writing Consultants, Assistant Directors and Consultants with the Howe Writing Initiative in the Farmer School of Business, Assistant Directors and Consultants with Howe Center for Writing Excellence, the Ohio Writing Project  

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Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: First-year composition, Writing Studio, Composition and Rhetoric for L2 Writers, Composition and Rhetoric, Humanities and Technology, Introduction to Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, Introduction to GLBT Studies, Digital Writing and Rhetoric, Advanced Composition, Narrative and Digital Technology, Composition Theory and Research, Technical Writing, Business Writing 

Course Requirements: 8 seminars during first two years in core foundation courses and electives. 

Examination Process: The Ph.D. comprehensive examination itself will consist of two sections, one written and one oral. The first section of the examination will be the written portion, in which the student will respond to one question, chosen from among at least four formulated by the Ph.D. Advisory Committee on the special topic designated by the student. The student is expected to produce 15 to 25 pages in response. 

Average Time to Degree: 

Placement: 100% for past 10 years in tenure track, non-tenure track, and administrative positions in academic settings 

Number of TT Faculty: 10 

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Application Deadline: January 2 

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Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Writing

Mission: The graduate programs in WRAC aim to prepare the next generation of leaders, thinkers, teachers, and innovators in the discipline of rhetoric and writing and in related fields both inside and outside of academia. Our goal is to serve as a model for a new vision of humanities scholars and professional practitioners. 

Areas of Focus: Writing and learning to write, cultural rhetorics, professional and technical writing, digital rhetoric, video composing, film, and new media, user experience design 

Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching assistantships; research assistantships; editorial assistantships with Fourth Genre (?); university fellowships 

Pay Range: 

Teaching Load for GTAs: 1/1 

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: First-year composition, professional writing 

Course Requirements: 27 credits beyond the MA 

Examination Process: PhD students must pass two comprehensive written examinations—one in the Rhetoric and Writing core, the other in the student’s selected concentration—and a third, the pre-dissertation prospectus exam. Core exam consists of portfolio and reflective essay and a take home exam consisting of two 15-page essays. Concentration exam consists of portfolio and reflective essay, and a 25-page review essay and annotated bibliography. Prospectus exam consists of 10-15 page paper, bibliography, and timeline. 

Time to Degree: 4-5 years 

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Number of Graduate Faculty: 23 

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Application Deadline: December 1 

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Michigan Technological University (Houghton, MI) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communication

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New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication

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North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC) Edit

Degree: PhD in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM)

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Northern Illinois University (Dekalb, IL) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

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Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Composition

Mission: Ohio State's program in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy (RCL) has a proud history as a national leader in scholarship and teaching on cultural theories and practices of reading, writing, composing, communicating, and consuming and producing media.  

Areas of Focus: Critical, comparative, and historical approaches to RCL and its intersections with medicine, science, queer studies, feminist studies, human rights studies, disability studies, critical race studies, and posthuman studies.  

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Placement: 76.1% since 2001 in tenure track appointments 

Number of TT Faculty: 18 

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Ohio University (Athens, OH) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

Mission: The Ph.D. in English provides professional training for teachers, scholars, and literary artists. The program at Ohio University offers students the opportunity to concentrate in one of the three areas of English studies literary history, creative writing, or rhetoric and composition. While our program requires students to concentrate in an area, it also asks them to explore other areas and to seek the common concerns that unite them. Accordingly, the program includes general requirements, as well as specific requirements within each of the concentrations. 

Areas of Focus: History and theory of both rhetoric and composition, composing in new media, rhetorics of race, rhetorics of sexuality and gender, English as a second language/second language writing, and writing center theory. 

Pay Range: ~$15,000 

Teaching Load for GTAs: 2/1 

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: Writing and Rhetoric I, Writing and Rhetoric II, Women and Writing, Writing in the Sciences, Writing about Environmental Sustainability, and Writing, Reading, and Rhetoric in the Professions. Other courses in the English major occasionally taught by GTAs with special permission. 

Course Requirements: Specific requirements available here.

Examination Process: Students read 10 years of two major journals in the field and trace a conversation over the issues of those journals. 

Average Time to Degree: 5-6 years. 

Number of TT Faculty: 5 in rhetoric and composition. 

Cohort Size: 2-3 PhD students and 2-3 masters students 

Application Deadline: January 15

Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Tracks in Rhetoric and Textual Studies, and in Professional Writing and New Media

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Penn State University (University Park, PA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

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Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric & Composition

Mission: 

Areas of Focus: Creative Writing; Cultural Studies; ESL; Linguistics; Literary Theory; Literary Periods; Poetry; Postcolonial Literature; Professional and Technical Writing; Rhetoric, Technology, and Digital Writing; Writing Program Administration; Public Rhetoric; or Women's Literature and Feminist Theory. 

Funding Opportunities: Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Writing Lab, ESL appointments, technology appointments, administrative assistantships (assistant to directors of first-year composition, professional writing, graduate program in rhetoric and composition), merit fellowships 

Pay Range: $17,000/academic year for 2017/2018; some opportunities exist for overload and summer teaching for extra pay, usually for more advanced students 

Teaching Load for GTAs: 2-3 courses/academic year 

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: Introductory composition, professional writing, ESL writing/speaking 

Course Requirements: Five core classes in rhetoric and composition, a secondary area, a linguistics seminar, a language. 

Examination Process: Two-part written exam in rhetoric and composition, an oral exam on the dissertation prospectus, and an oral defense of the dissertation. 

Average Time to Degree: 5 years 

Placement: Near 100%, most with TT or VAP positions 

Number of TT Faculty: 9 

Visitation/Recruitment Events: Multiple day visitation event on campus for admitted students in February.  

Cohort Size: 7-12 

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Notes:  Good conference funding options, including from the College (CLA PROMISE Award), the department, and the Introductory Composition Program. Most graduate students can afford to present at one major conference or two to three smaller (local/regional) conferences each year. This is an exceptional program if your interests align at all with multilingual writing or STEM writing because Purdue University has a large international population, and it is mainly a STEM school.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) Edit

Degree: PhD in Communication and Rhetoric

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Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, IL) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Emphasis in Composition and Rhetoric

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SUNY Albany (Albany, NY) Edit

Degree: PhD in Writing, Teaching and Criticism

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SUNY Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Writing and Rhetoric Graduate Studies

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Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY) Edit

Degree: PhD in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric (CCR)

Mission: The Composition and Cultural Rhetoric (CCR) Doctoral Program at Syracuse University emphasizes research on the dynamic interaction of rhetoric and writing in a variety of cultural and historical contexts.  

Areas of Focus: Composition pedagogy, technical writing, digital rhetoric, community engagement, global English, classical rhetoric, feminist studies. 

Funding Opportunities: Graduate Teaching Assistantships; University Fellowships; Summer Teaching (1 section)

Pay Range: GTAs: 18,000; University Fellowships: 25,290

Teaching Load for GTAs: 3/year

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: 

Course Requirements: 45 credits beyond master's degree, 36 in required and elective courses 

Examination Process: 

Time to Degree: 4-year program 

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Number of TT Faculty: 11

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Texas A&M University, College Station (College Station, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition Emphasis

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Texas A&M University, Commerce (Commerce, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

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Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

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Texas Tech (Lubbock, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, Department of English

Mission: 

Areas of Focus: Rhetoric, Composition, and Technology; Technical Communication; Rhetorics of Science and Healthcare; Technology, Culture, and Rhetoric; Visual Rhetoric, New Media, and User-Centered Design 

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Examination Process: Reading list and Preliminary dissertation proposal, qualifying exam, meeting with committee, final dissertation proposal 

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Number of TT Faculty: 13

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Texas Woman's University (Denton, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric, English, Speech, and Foreign Languages

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University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL) Edit

Degree: PhD in Composition, Rhetoric, and English Studies, Department of English

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University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada) Edit

Degree: PhD in English Language

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University of California, Davis (Davis, CA) Edit

Degree: Designated Emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies

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University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Concentration in Rhetoric

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University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA) Edit

Degree: PhD in Literature, Composition concentration

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University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, specialization in Language Literacy and Composition

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University of Central Florida (FL) Edit

Degree: PhD in Texts & Technology

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University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH) Edit

Degree: PhD Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition, Department of English and Comparative Literature

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University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

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University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Concentration in Composition and Rhetoric

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University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (Honolulu, HI) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Concentration in Composition and Rhetoric

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University of Houston (Houston, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Concentration in Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy

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University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign (Urbana, IL) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Specialization in Writing Studies

Mission: We are one of the top national programs for graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in Writing Studies and its many subfields. English graduate students working in writing studies engage in research ranging from historical archival research to ethnographic field work to online digital research. 

Areas of Focus: Composition and rhetoric, discourse studies, literacy studies, language studies, computers and composition, and new-media studies

Funding Opportunities: TA, RA positions, tutoring positions in the Writers Workshop  

Pay Range: 

Teaching Load for GTAs: 2 courses per semester; 1/1 load for new MA students 

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: First-Year writing, advanced writing, introductory literature, introductory film studies, business and technical writing 

Course Requirements: 8 semester-long courses at 400 and 500 levels. 

Examination Process: The Special Field Examination, administered by a committee of four faculty members selected by the student, is based upon the student's approved special field list--which includes a discussion of its rationale and relation to the proposed dissertation topic. Lists are representative of the field of Writing Studies and include two or three concentrations within it. Approved fields include: Cognition and Composition, Computers and Composition Studies, Classical Rhetoric, Critical Theory, Discourse Processes, Gender and Writing, Literacy Studies, Technical Communication, Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing in the Disciplines, and Writing Assessment. Other combinations of fields are possible, including those that combine disciplines (e.g. African-American Studies, women's studies, and literacy). 

Time to Degree: 4-5 year program 

Placement: We are especially pleased to report that every one of our recent writing studies Ph.D.s has secured a tenure-track position. Our recent PhD graduates hold tenure-track jobs at such schools as the University of Pittsburgh, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Central Florida, University of Louisville, and Syracuse University. 

Number of TT Faculty: 7  

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Application Deadline: December 1, 12 noon (CST) 

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Notes: Students working on their dissertations are eligible for fellowship support or released time from teaching. All students in good standing and making good progress will receive at least one course off from teaching. A few students receive a year or more of fellowship aid to work full-time on their dissertations. Students are also eligible to serve in assistant director positions (administrative, with course releases) in the Rhetoric program, the Writing Center (Writers Workshop), and the Center for Writing Studies.    

University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition

Mission: We prepare students to join the field by acquainting them with the broad outlines of the discipline’s many conversations, but also by providing them with the opportunity to conduct rigorous inquiry into questions that reflect our program strengths. Our program places a strong emphasis on language, and how language, broadly understood, is central to any informed understanding of contemporary rhetoric, writing, and teaching.  

Areas of Focus: Rhetorical genre theory, transfer theory and research, public and counter-public discourses, as well as current best practices in writing pedagogy.   

Funding Opportunities: Tuition waiver and stipend.  

Pay Range: 

Teaching Load for GTAs: Two 3 credit hours per semester. Take 2 classes, teach 2 classes.  

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: Comp 1 and 2, and in your second year you can teach a level 200 course, or even propose a course.  

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Time to Degree: 4-year program 

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Number of TT Faculty: 4 

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Notes: KU also has an accelerated PhD program for Rhet/Comp that lets you skip the master's (you get both at the same time) and it takes about 5 years (expected) to complete. You can into it straight from undergrad (provided you get accepted, of course. Acceptance rate is roughly 10%).  

University of Louisiana, Lafayette (Lafayette, LA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition Specialization

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University of Louisville (Louisville, KY) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Composition

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University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Emphasis in Composition and Rhetoric

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Funding Opportunities: Teaching in university writing program (first year teachers teach College Writing) 

Pay Range: 19k/year to start 

Teaching Load for GTAs: 1:2, then 2:1 each year (unless you take on administrative work) 

Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: College Writing, Basic Writing 

Course Requirements: Three semesters of coursework (PhD track), Eight semesters of coursework (MA/PhD Track). Two courses/semester 

Examination Process: Students choose two areas within the field and assemble a reading list of ~30 works with a rationale + oral exam on these materials.  

Average Time to Degree: Seven years 

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Number of TT Faculty: 6 

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Cohort Size: Varies, generally around 3-4.  

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Campus/Department/Program Climate: Respectful, supportive, collaborative environment within the graduate environment and from faculty. Formal and informal advising/mentorship very common.

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University of Memphis (Memphis, TN) Edit

Degree: PhD in Composition, Department of English

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University of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN) Edit

Degree: PhD Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication

Mission: The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research degree that will prepare you for faculty positions in our core areas of rhetoric, writing studies, pedagogy, technical communication, technology and culture. 

Areas of Focus: Rhetoric, writing studies, pedagogy, technical communication, technology and culture

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Time to Degree: 5-year program 

Placement: Our PhD graduates go on to careers primarily at colleges or universities as faculty and hold prominent academic positions; others have chosen successful leadership careers in industry. We have a long-standing PhD program that boasts 100% job placement in tenure-track, non-tenure track, postdoctoral, and industry positions. In the last decade, we have placed graduates in a variety of positions around the globe. 

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University of Mississippi (University, MS) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

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University of Missouri, Columbia (Columbia, MO) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition

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University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE) Edit

Degree: PhD in Composition and Rhetoric

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University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, NV) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition emphasis

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University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Composition Studies specialization

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University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

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University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, concentration in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy

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University of North Carolina, Greensboro (Greensboro, NC) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition Specialization

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University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK) Edit

Degree: PhD in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy

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University of Oregon (Eugene, OR) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Structured emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition

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University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA) Edit

Degree: PhD in Composition: Literacy, Pedagogy, and Rhetoric

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University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Emphasis in Composition and Rhetoric

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University of South Florida (Tampa, FL) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Emphasis in Composition and Rhetoric

Mission: The Department of English at the University of South Florida is a community of teacher-scholars and writers whose mission is to promote learning in language, composition, literature, critical theory, pedagogy, and professional, technical, and creative writing. The Department at both the undergraduate and graduate levels promotes the development of life-long skills in language, critical thinking, reading, writing, and research; embraces intellectual and human diversity; and fosters comparative and interdisciplinary approaches. 

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Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching assistantships 

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Courses Available for GTAs to Teach: First-year writing 

Course Requirements: 30 hours beyond the MA 

Examination Process: A 24-hour take-home exam divided into four written sections (1500 words a piece), the content of which corresponds to the four core courses: Composition Theory, Research Methods, Rhetoric and Technology, and Historical Rhetorics. Questions will be picked up in the English office at 9:00am on the day of the exam. Questions will be digitally submitted to Canvas by 9:00am on the following day. A manuscript suitable for publication in a specified scholarly journal (7,000-8,500 words) to be turned in at the same time as the 24-hour exam. The topic of the manuscript should be based on the student’s specialization in Rhetoric and Composition. This manuscript can be a revision of a course paper or conference paper or an extension of their project from the Scholarly Writing and Research class. It must contribute to the discipline by advancing scholarly discussions in Rhetoric and Composition studies and offering new knowledge. 

Time to Degree: 4-5 year program 

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University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN) Edit

Degree: PhD in English

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University of Texas-Austin (Austin, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric concentration

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University of Texas, El Paso (El Paso, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Composition, Department of English

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University of Texas, San Antonio (San Antonio, TX) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition

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University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Composition Studies

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University of Washington (Seattle, WA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English Literature and Language, Rhetoric

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University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric and Communication Design

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University of Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, WI) Edit

Degree: PhD in Communication and Rhetoric

Mission: Founded in 1991 as a stand-alone, multidisciplinary program inside the English Department, the Composition & Rhetoric Program is committed to providing outstanding undergraduate and graduate education focused on significant issues in rhetoric, language, literacy, and learning in contemporary society.  

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Examination Process: Prelims occurs on the cusp of shifting from general to specialized preparation and, in CompRhet, takes the form of a portfolio rather than the more usual sit-down exam. The portfolio includes a 3-page introductory essay, 1-2 page statement of teaching philosophy, two 4000-6000 word take home essays--one in response to faculty question using Core Reading List, another in response to a question that the student works out in consultation with area faculty. Oral discussions of portfolio. 

Average Time to Degree: 5-year program 

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Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) Edit

Degree: PhD in Rhetoric and Writing

Mission: Our program focuses on Rhetoric in Society across areas of inquiry including technical communication, composition studies, rhetorical history and theory, critical theory, and cultural studies.  

Areas of Focus: Medical rhetoric, data visualization, human rights, human-computer interaction, user experience, and cultural and feminist rhetorics.  

Funding Opportunities: GTA positions include composition teaching and administration, Writing Center tutoring and administration, teaching in Engineering Communication, editing for the minnesota review, teaching in professional and technical writing, and working as a research assistant in the Center for Rhetoric in Society. 

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Teaching Load for GTAs: 2/2 

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Course Requirements: 60 hours; 12 hours Foundation, 12 hours Rhetoric in Society 

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Time to Degree: 4-5 years 

Placement: 95% 

Number of TT Faculty: 10 

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Washington State University (Pullman, WA) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition Concentration

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Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Composition Concentration

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West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV) Edit

Degree: PhD in English, Concentration in Writing, Editing, and Publishing

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