M.A./Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English

M.A. / Ph.D.

Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English


Prepare to conduct research in rhetoric and composition, to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the field, and to develop writing programs in school settings and on the job.

About the Program

The Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English (RCTE) program is housed in the University of Arizona's English Department as one of four graduate programs. We offer both a Ph.D. track and an M.A. track. 

The M.A. program is designed for students intending to teach in the public schools and community colleges. This is ordinarily a two-year course of study. Students who are working full-time as teachers in local schools may take longer, up to a Graduate College limit of six years.

The Ph.D. program is designed for students intending to teach in four-year colleges or writing programs. The RCTE program has a very high placement record for students seeking jobs in higher education, with most of those in tenure-track positions.

Nationally Recognized Scholars

Our graduate students have the opportunity to work with nationally recognized scholars and leaders in their field. Each of our RCTE faculty members are published in top-tier disciplinary journals. Program graduate students are given the opportunity to learn, research and write with faculty scholars, as a number of our faculty publish with their graduate students. Further, each of the RCTE faculty hold high profile national positions in professional organizations and serve on editorial boards of top-tier journals. At each step to the doctoral process, from writing papers to applying for jobs, RCTE graduate students are mentored and supported, which accounts for our high job placement record.  

Action-Oriented Scholarship

We are proud to serve our land-grant mission and to engage in action-oriented scholarship that recognizes the strengths and addresses the needs and potentials of the diverse communities at UA and in Southern Arizona. In RCTE, we view rhetoric and composition as arts at work in the world that must be studied and practiced in the context of broader cultural and public interests.

In the last few years, we have shifted our program strengths and commitments to teach, engage in, and conduct research in social justice pedagogy and leadership, comparative technologies of writing, labor practices and administration for diverse environments, strategies for sustaining languages and literacies among diverse populations, community partnerships, and learning from the historical legacies of those silenced (or erased) under Western global expansion. Our graduate students are institutionally and nationally distinguished for their public engagement and action-oriented, cutting-edge and timely research, published scholarship, and innovative teaching. 

Funding & Professional Development

Our M.A. and Ph.D. students teach in our national award-winning Foundations Writing Program, which provides varied opportunities to teach a range of first-year and upper-division courses and many are selected for professional experiences within the program. We off graduate assistantships, which include tuition, health insurance, and pay a stipend to students who teach First-year Composition classes.

We also offer access to areas in which to gain specialized research, curriculum, and assessment experience. Graduate students receive small-group mentoring and support from experienced and committed teachers throughout their first year, and with continued support throughout their time teaching in the program. Additionally, we facilitate opportunities for research assistantships across the university, including UA THINK TANK, UA Athletics, and Office of Instruction and Assessment.

Job Placement

Our graduates have been hired at universities around the country, such as the University of Utah, Arizona State University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Hawaii, California State University,  the University of California, Irvine, and many more. Some of our graduates have accepted leadership positions in community colleges, such as Oakland Community College and Bay Mills Tribal Community College, and others select employment in the non-for profit, private, or government sectors, including national research labs, such as Sandia National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratories, and other think tanks.

Cross-Campus Collaborations

RCTE is connected to over twenty schools, departments, research, and outreach centers found on our campus, and we are broadly involved in collaborations with diverse community and education groups. RCTE has established a multitude of opportunities for graduate students to collaborate and study with other outstanding graduate programs on our campus, including American Indian Studies, Mexican American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and the School of Information. Our students also have access to our department’s programs in English Applied Linguistics, Literature, and Creative Writing, as well as to exciting opportunities in the Institute of the Environment and the Institute for LGBT Studies.

Contact Us

For general information about the program, please contact the program coordinator.

RCTE Program
Department of English

1423 E. University Blvd. Rm. 445
Tucson, AZ 85721-0067 U.S.A.