Ph.D. Coursework

Students in the doctoral program will develop individualized plans of study in consultation with advisors. Students will transfer the credits from an accredited MA program (for up to 18 credits, and complete 42 hours of graduate coursework (in the first 2-2.5 years of the program, if attending full time) to equal the 54 hour coursework requirement. This followed by comprehensive exams and dissertation research:


  • 3 credit hours of doctoral proseminar (English 610).
  • 3 credit hours in research methods.
  • 12 credit hours in core courses (2 Rhetoric, 1 Composition, 1 TPC).
  • 21 credit hours in courses in an area of specialization (determined in consultation with advisor).
  • 3 credit hours in of Internship (English 597).
  • 3 to 18 credit hours of doctoral research (English 600: taken while preparing for comprehensive exams and dissertation proposal writing).
  • 18 credit hours of dissertation research (English 700).

English 610: Doctoral Proseminar (3 credit) hours. In their first semester, all PhD students enroll in the Doctoral Proseminar in Rhetoric and Professional Communication, which introduces them to the program, processes, and disciplines that make up the PhD Program. Student will also draft their Qualifying Portfolio in this class.

Research Methods (3 credit) hours. Students must successfully complete two courses in research methods. The English Department offers five methods courses. With the advisor’s approval, students may also substitute methods intensive courses from within the department or relevant methods courses offered in other departments across the university.

Core Courses (12 credit) hours. All students should plan to take 2 core courses in rhetoric, 1 in composition, and 1 in TPC. Core courses are designed to introduce the breadth of each discipline to students; a list of core courses is available below:

  • Rhetoric
  • English 518: History of Rhetoric
  • English 519: Modern Rhetorical Theory
  • English 668: Rhetoric and Cultural Studies
  • Composition
  • English 664: History and Theory of Composition
  • English 583: Critical Writing Studies
  • Technical and Professional Communication
  • English 502: Critical Conversations in Technical and Professional Communication
  • English 572: Technical/Professional Communication Pedagogies
  • English 643: Multimedia Theory & Production

Specialization Courses (21 credit) hours. Students work with their advisors to choose courses that allow them to develop expertise around emerging disciplinary research interests. Students can take up to 2 courses outside of the department when those courses contribute to their area of specialization. Note: All GAs must enroll in English 571 during the first semester of the assistantship; this is “counted” as a specialization course.

ENGL 597: Internship (3 credit) hours. Students work with internship advisor to identify an internship relevant to their professional goals and enroll in 3 credits of 597 while they complete the internship. Internship should be completed before comprehensive exams.

ENGL 600 (15 credit) hours. In the Fall semester following the completion of coursework and in preparation for doctoral comprehensive exams, students should register for at least 3 credits of ENGL 600 with the faculty member teaching the course (or their primary advisor). In order to maintain full-time status, they can also enroll in additional credits of ENGL 600 with their individual advisors. Student remains enrolled in English 600 until the time they pass comprehensive exams.

ENGL 700 (18 credit). In the semester after the successful completion and defense of doctoral comprehensive exams, students enroll in ENGL 700 as they research and write their dissertations (these 18 hours are in addition to the 54-credit hour coursework requirement). Students must be enrolled full time in the semester in which they defend their dissertation.

Note on Transfer Courses (up to 18 credits). Students must apply 18 hours of master’s level work to the 54-hour coursework requirement with departmental approval. In the case that such courses meet requirements, they allow students to take additional electives. In consultation with an advisor and the Doctoral Committee, students petition for transfer credits when they submit their qualifying portfolio and file the program of study with the Graduate School.