Prospective Students

What research areas are current PhD candidates working in?

Our PhD candidates do work across the breadth of the field, in areas like:

  • professional and technical writing
  • cultural rhetorics
  • rhetorics of health and medicine
  • writing program administration
  • writing center theory and administration
  • public rhetorics
  • digital rhetorics
  • game studies
  • queer rhetorics
  • feminist rhetorics

What would you say are the strengths of your program?

Our curriculum pairs a breadth-oriented core (classical rhetoric, modern rhetoric, postmodern rhetoric, composition studies, and empirical research methods) with deeper focus in one or more secondary areas, which immerses graduates in the field as a whole as well as their own research area.

Our program is also structured around students, with a cohort system to help incoming students bond in addition to program functions like Hutton lectures, the annual program picnic, and the annual reunion at CCCC. As a result, students tend to engage in a lot of near-peer mentoring in addition to mentoring they get from faculty.

Are there any professors and/or graduate students that you can put me in touch with so I can ask them about their experiences with the program?

You’re welcome to contact faculty directly. Our director, Dr. Thomas Rickert, can answer admissions questions at Our assistant director, Rachel Atherton, is an advanced graduate student available for questions and to put you in touch with current students at

What resources are available for students getting ready to go on the job market?

5th year PhD students in our program participate in job group, where they craft and workshop job documents with assistance from their cohort and the program director. Job seekers often do mock interviews and mock job talks with faculty and other grad students, respectively.