Coursework in Rhetoric and Composition

The Ph.D. Program requires:

  • five core courses described below [these comprise the material for the preliminary exam]
  • a secondary area
  • a linguistics seminar
  • The M.A. requires:

  • three courses from the rhetoric and composition core
  • three courses in literature [in three areas]
  • introductory courses in linguistics [Engl 506] and English studies [Engl 501]
  • [note: in addition to coursework, students must pass the exams for the degrees they seek, meet departmental language requirements, and Ph.D. students complete a dissertation.]

    Core Classes

    The core curriculum is composed of five courses covering theoretical, historical, and empirical modes of inquiry into rhetoric and composition:

  • 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 Composition 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 624, Issues in Composition Studies: Modern Period

    traces rhetorical issues and topics from the enlightment through the beginning of the 20th century in Britain and America
  • 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

  • Special Topic Seminars

    In addition to the core seminars, we offer seminars in subjects such as:
  • Writing Assessment
  • Burke in the Twentyfirst Century
  • Computers and Writing
  • Cultural Studies and Composition
  • Cybercultures and Rhetorical Theory
  • Distance Learning and Writing Theory
  • Digital Studio
  • Ethics, Rhetoric, and Writing
  • Gender, Rhetoric, and the Body
  • Literacy Studies
  • Minority Rhetorics
  • New Media
  • Professional Writing Theory
  • Public Rhetorics
  • Qualitative Research
  • PostCritical Methodologies
  • Rhetoric and Digital Publishing
  • Rhetoric and Institutional Discourses
  • Second Language Writing
  • Visual Rhetoric in a Technological Age
  • Writing Across the Curriculum
  • Writing Assessment
  • Writing Center Theory
  • Writing Program Administration

  • Secondary Areas

    Students choose a secondary area for coursework. It is satisfired by four preapproved courses or an examination in a secondary area. It can also be developed in consultation with your advisor. The Department has identified secondary areas in:
  • ESL
  • Professional and Technical Writing
  • Rhetoric, Technology, and Digital Writing
  • Writing Program Administration
  • Literary Theory
  • Women's Literature
  • Theory and Cultural Studies
  • Feminist Theory
  • English Language and Lingusitics
  • Literary Periods
  • Postcolonial Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Poetry
  • American Studies

  • Lectures

    • David Hutton Interdisciplinary Lecture Series, named in 1999 for series benefactor David Hutton, brings to campus top scholars in the field to share their work through conversation and a lecture.
    • James A. Berlin Memorial Lecture honors the memory of our colleague. It brings a scholar working in history or contemporary cultural theory for a bi-ennial lecture.
    • Leonora Woodman Memorial Lecture honors the memory of our colleague and brings a scholar in writing or literature for a lecture each Fall.


    The graduate program is structured to accommodate students' needs as maturing scholars and teachers.

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