PhD in Composition

The PhD in Composition Studies in the Department of English prepares students to be specialists in rhetoric/composition, teach Composition on the university level, or pursue careers requiring a doctorate in composition or rhetoric.

The program includes courses in:

  • Composition history and theory;
  • Studies of specific theorists; and
  • Applications to writing, editing, and collaboration.

Courses emphasize:

  • Writing and editing to achieve specific purposes and address specific audiences;
  • Using writing as a tool for learning;
  • Working collaboratively to solve problems;
  • Evaluating the findings of empirical research in composition;
  • Designing, conducting, and publishing research in composition studies; and
  • Applying contemporary theory to the teaching of composition at the college, university, community college, or other levels.

The curriculum in Composition Studies challenges students to research the numerous theories concerned with the teaching of writing. Courses include Research in Composition; Composition: Forms, Practices, and Concepts; and seminar in Composition Theorists. Students will study and apply the concepts of major modern theorists in invention, argumentation, literacy, writing, and discourse, as well as empirical research methods including experimental designs applicable to composition, content, audience, and situation in various contexts, among other topics.

Graduates who specialize in Composition are also highly competitive for teaching and administrative positions at the secondary level. Scholars and researchers in Composition are also in demand in literacy programs funded by government agencies or private organizations interested in providing increased opportunities for marginalized citizens.

Learn More:
Video Introduction to Composition and Professional Writing Concentration 

For more information about the PhD in Composition program requirements, visit the Graduate Catalog (Sec V, part C).