skip to content

Our PhD students study in a program that is unique for its merger of rhetoric/writing and literature at a time when related departments at other institutions are breaking away from one another. Philosophically and practically, we see the subjects intersect and believe students benefit from the combined study of literature, rhetoric and writing theory. While required courses and electives in historical and applied rhetoric are the foundation of the program, students also select a major period of literature (either in the British or American traditions) to study. Students develop abilities to work collaboratively as well as independently, to lead peers effectively, to supervise the work of others, to conduct and present original research in oral and written forms, to use technology effectively in the classroom, to structure and plan their own courses, and to teach effectively.

What to expect

We offer a range of face-to-face, online, and hybrid graduate courses in literature, pedagogy, writing, and rhetoric to allow our working, commuting, and parenting students the opportunity to balance rigorous academic course work with their busy lives. Our face-to-face graduate courses are offered one day per week, typically in late afternoon or evening. While our online offerings provide important flexibility for graduate students, the program is not intended to be a fully-online program and cannot be completed through online classes only. Although we are a woman’s focused university, we do admit male students, and our graduate population generally includes men. Our program collaborates closely with the Women’s Studies (WS) department at TWU and offers a number of cross-listed courses. As a result, we also share students. WS students often also earn an MA in English, while our MA students can earn credit towards their degrees or towards the Certificate in WS. Learn more about our student objectives here. Our course offerings and rotation are available here. You can also look at previous offerings (special topics, etc.) by clicking here and checking out at 5000- and 6000-level classes offered over time. You can learn more about faculty areas of expertise by browsing the Faculty page.

Opportunities for Professional Development

Our individual mentoring of students, range of leadership opportunities, small size, and varied course delivery methods set our PhD program apart. Our graduate students who receive graduate assistantships work in a variety of capacities: as tutors in our campus writing center, The Write Site; as course assistants for tenure-track faculty members teaching everything from first-year writing to professional writing to literature and theory courses; and as teachers of record in their own first-year writing courses or literature courses. We have regular professional development meetings for our first-year writing teachers and provide the support and mentoring that students need as they transition to presenting and publishing their own scholarship. We make a conscious effort to support that very important transition from student to professional colleague.

Technology is integral to our program. We provide students with courses in online pedagogy. Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) serve as teachers of record in computer labs and in hybrid and fully online courses. GTAs can also receive formal (paid) training in a month-long university online teaching development program.

Whom We Serve

The curriculum prepares students to lead fulfilling lives as teachers, leaders in their academic departments (often directing writing programs), and researchers within the fields of rhetoric and literature by cultivating their proficiency in discourse analysis, communicative studies, writing, and research. While the program largely serves the needs of aspiring future post-secondary teachers, students prepare to contribute professionally in fields as diverse as writing and editing, government, and business.

Ph.D. in Rhetoric Admissions Requirements

The following guidelines and requirements are related to admission to the Ph.D. in Rhetoric program. More about “Ph.D. in Rhetoric Admissions Requirements”...

International Student Admission Requirement

All students for whom an English proficiency test is required must meet the following minimum criteria. More about “International Student Admission Requirement”...

Ph.D. in Rhetoric Guidelines and Curriculum

The following guidelines and requirements are related to the Ph.D. in Rhetoric program. More about “Ph.D. in Rhetoric Guidelines and Curriculum”...

Ph.D. in Rhetoric Research Tools Requirement

Research Tools are part of the requirements for the Ph.D. in Rhetoric degree. Ph.D. candidates can choose from the following options. More about “Ph.D. in Rhetoric Research Tools Requirement”...

TWU Resources for Graduate Students/Applicants

Resources for Ph.D. students

Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta's central purpose is to confer distinction upon outstanding students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies. More about “Sigma Tau Delta”...


The English and Rhetoric Graduate Student Organization has regular meetings to discuss issues affecting graduate students in the department. More about “ERGO”...

page last updated 7/28/2014 4:31 PM