Curriculum Overview

You must complete a minimum of 60 approved semester credits beyond your Master’s degree. (Coursework used to fulfill the requirements of a Master’s degree may not be used to fulfill the requirements for this PhD program.)

This program is designed to be completed in 4 years.

A. Rhetoric and Theory (6 credits required)

ENGL 7410: Introduction to Technical Communication (3 credits; offered fall semester in even years)
Introduces students to the tensions, histories, and major theories of technical communication. Students explore the scope of the field, mapping key trends and topics. Not repeatable for credit.

ENGL 7830: Introduction to Rhetorical Theory (3 credits; offered spring semester in odd years)
Covers intellectual traditions of rhetoric from classical times to the present: major theories and controversies in the field. This class is repeatable for credit once, if taught by a different instructor.

B. Research (12 credits required)

If you took any of these courses for your Master's degree, you do not need to retake the course(s); however, you still must take 12 credits under this category for your PhD.

ENGL 7000: Empirical Research Methods (3 credits; offered spring semester in even years)
Survey of empirical research methods for conducting professional communication research in academic and nonacademic settings. Not repeatable for credit.

ENGL 7440: Cultural Research Methods (3 credits; offered fall semester in even years)
Survey of cultural research methods that apply to contemporary practices in technical communication and rhetoric. These methods may include feminism, queer theory, postcolonial theory, critical race theory, and disability studies. This class is repeatable for credit once, if taught by a different instructor.

ENGL 7900: Research Internship (6 credits; work is typically done the summer after your fourth semester; see timeline below)

C. Technology and Design (9 credits required)

ENGL 7400: Advanced Editing (3 credits; offered spring semester in even years)
Examines complex roles editors assume in creating technical and non-technical documents. Principal components include working with the substance of documents, mediating the writer-reader relationship, and exemplifying the application of rhetorical theory in editing. Not repeatable for credit.

ENGL 7480: Studies in Technology and Writing (3 credits; offered fall semester in even years)
Study of theoretical aspects of technologies affecting writing in social and professional contexts. Topics vary. This class is repeatable for up to 12 credits.

ENGL 7460: Studies in Digital Media (3 credits; offered fall semester in odd years)
Focuses on the production of documents in or about advanced digital media. During this class, students examine theories underlying such publications. Topics vary. This class is repeatable for up to 12 credits.

D. Pedagogy (9 credits required)

ENGL 6820: Practicum in Teaching English (3 credits; offered every fall semester; required for a Graduate Instructorship appointment)

ENGL 7800: Teaching Online (3 credits; offered fall semester in odd years)
Examines principles and their implementation in online writing instruction. Emphasizes writing instruction within English Departments. Not repeatable for credit.

ENGL 7860: Teaching Technical Communication (3 credits; offered spring semester in odd years)
Prepares students to teach technical writing courses at the undergraduate level. Students learn about the history and scope of the field of technical communication and develop pedagogical materials for use in academia or industry. Not repeatable for credit.

E. English Cognate (3 credits required)

3-credit 6000-level course in English outside of Technical Communication and Rhetoric (i.e., ENGL designation not listed in A-D or G, such as Digital Folklore, Postcolonial Literature)

F. External Cognate (3 credits required)

3-credit course at the 6000 or 7000 level in a department outside English (course selection requires Supervisory Committee approval)

G. Dissertation (18 credits required)

  • ENGL 7970: Dissertation Research (18 credits required)
  • Must pass Comprehensive Exam and successfully defend dissertation proposal before registering for ENGL 7970
  • Note: With dissertation committee chair approval, a 3-credit elective may substitute for 3 credits of ENGL 7970

H. Electives (0 credits required)

  • ENGL 7920: Directed Study (3 credits)
  • ENGL 7420: Usability Studies and Human Factors in Professional Communication (3 credits)
  • ENGL 7890: Studies in Writing and Rhetoric (3 credits)
  • ENGL 7430: Publications Management (3 credits)
  • ENGL 7450: Reading Theory and Document Design (3 credits)
  • ENGL 7470: Studies in Specialized Documents (3 credits)