Ph.D. Requirements


The coursework in the doctoral degree serves several functions:

  • orients you to major issues, concepts, theories, and practices in areas of inquiry deemed by our faculty to be important for 21st Century scholars of Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English;
  • helps to solidify both graduate school and intellectual cohorts, which contribute to the short term and long term success of our students;
  • familiarizes you with the accepted and emerging professional practices related to academia;
  • facilitates your exploration of a variety of research areas, which thus helps you discern an area of focus for your own research; assesses you on your developing abilities to perform advanced level scholarship and function effectively in an academic setting.

Course Requirements

You must complete a total of 66 credit hours for the Ph.D. This includes 18 hours of dissertation credit and 48 hours of coursework.

Common Curriculum: 15 units

Fall Semester | Year 1

  • ENGL 597R: Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition (3)
  • Preceptorship* (3)
  • Colloquium

Spring Semester | Year 1

  • Qualifying Portfolio workshop (3)
  • Either ENGL 696T: Rhetorical Theories (3) or ENGL 510: Theory and Practice of Composition (3). Courses are offered in alternating years with one course taken in Year 1 and one course taken in Year 2.
  • Preceptorship* (1)

* If a student does not have a GTA position in the Writing Program and does not take Preceptorship, the student can select an alternative course to fulfill this requirement in consultation with the RCTE Program Director that aligns with the student’s outcomes and professional goals.

Additional Course Requirements: 9 units

  • Specialized Methods: your choice of one additional methods course, offered either in RCTE or in another program (3)
  • Histories: your choice of one class focused on histories, offered by RCTE faculty (3)
  • Comprehensive Exam Workshop (taken in the spring semester of comprehensive exam) (3)
  • Other electives (24):
    • 9 hours must be taken in RCTE (Immersive Cultural Requirement is included within this requirement)
    • remaining 15 hours may be taken in any subject area offered at the graduate level anywhere on campus;
    • may be applied to a minor, if a minor is declared (9 hours minimum required by Graduate College).


18 units of dissertation required

Transfer Credits

Students are allowed a maximum of 15 transfer credits.

Ph.D. Minor

You have the option of completing a Ph.D. minor in another field, including the interdisciplinary Ph.D. minor in Second-Language Acquisition and Teaching. You should work with your faculty advisor to determine minor options.

Additional Ph.D. Requirements

  • Qualifying Portfolio
  • Comprehensive Exam