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Department of English
PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication


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PhD Curriculum


The doctoral program requires a minimum of 60 s.h. of course work beyond the master's degree as well as completion of Research Skills Requirement, Candidacy Examinations, and completion and defense of a dissertation.

Required courses - 30 s.h.


Electives in ENGL or affiliate departments - 12 s.h.


Dissertation - 18 s.h.


Note


Please contact the director of graduate studies in English for additional details concerning application procedures, admission requirements, and specific academic requirements.


Preliminary Review Examination & Annual Reviews


Preliminary Review
 (PR)
Upon completing 18 hours of coursework in the program, students are responsible for submitting a portfolio by the first day of classes of the semester directly following completion of 18 hours. PhD students will submit a portfolio including:

  1. Updated Degree Sheet
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Two (2) academic/scholarly projects students have developed in their courses. Students should turn in the original, ungraded projects submitted in coursework. 
  4. A reflective essay (1500-3000 words) that

·       discusses the initial goals of the academic/scholarly projects, strengths and weaknesses, and potential revisions.

·       articulates a preliminary research agenda and its relationship to future coursework, research, and professional development.

Questions about the Preliminary Review should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies.


The committee for the PR will be made up of the student’s primary advisor, one other faculty member chosen by the student, and one faculty member chosen by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). (This is in an effort to spread the work to all faculty.)


The committee evaluates the portfolio for the student’s ability to (1) make and sustain an academic argument; (2) choose and synthesize supporting sources and/or data; (3) rethink and discuss revision of work; and (4) express themselves in academically appropriate ways (organization, style, etc.). The committee passes or fails the portfolio and provides the results to the DGS and the student within 30 days of the date the portfolios are submitted. The DGS and the student’s primary advisor will meet with the student to review results within two weeks of receiving the results.


Students who do not successfully complete the preliminary review exam the first time will have one opportunity to revise their reflective essay and portfolio, given the committee’s feedback, and re-submit the portfolio materials within 30 days of receiving the decision.


Failure to pass the preliminary review will result in dismissal from the program.


Annual Reports

Students are responsible for turning in an annual report to the Director of Graduate Studies by the first day of classes each fall after successful completion of the Preliminary Review (PR) examination. PhD students will submit 

  1. A reflective letter (5-10 double-spaced pages) that documents the student’s work (coursework, teaching, professional development, and research) and its relationship to future coursework, research, and professional development activities.
  2. Curriculum Vitae

Questions about the Annual Report should be directed to the student’s Primary Advisor. The Director of Graduate Studies will meet individually with the PhD students in the fall to review their annual reports.


Focused Research/Research Skills Requirement

Because you might need to employ a focused linguistic, computing, or other research-related skill to access research materials or evaluate research results, the Ph.D. requires that you demonstrate competency in one of the following research-related areas in order to enter candidacy for the doctoral degree.

Option 1: Language Proficiency

You may present evidence of mastery of a foreign language equivalent to third-year undergraduate facility. This can be done

  • By demonstrating native language proficiency (for those who speak English as a second language) via a mechanism approved by the Doctoral Program Steering Committee.

  • By passing an examination (approved by the Doctoral Program Steering Committee) geared to third-year language proficiency

Ideally, you should present evidence of the foreign language requirement's completion to the Doctoral Program Steering Committee for approval as soon as possible and before you submit your dissertation proposal.


Option 2: New Media Application

You may choose  to present evidence of mastery of computer and new media applications beyond knowledge of word processing, spread sheets, projection applications (e.g., PowerPoint),  and other common applications and software. This evidence would include programming languages such as

  • ActionScript
  • JavaScript
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • CSS/XHTML
  • Ruby
  • ActionScript 2 or 3

If you choose this option, you must submit a multimodal and interactive new media project that demonstrates competency in one of the allowed programming languages. You should submit a statement describing the applications or programs used and level of expertise. You should also be prepared to demonstrate facility before members of the Doctoral Program Steering Committee, who shall have final say whether the option has been satisfied. As when seeking credit in a foreign language, you should submit evidence of the requirement's completion as soon as possible and before you submit your dissertation proposal.

 

Option 3: Statistical Methods

You may select a research option that involves demonstrating proficiency in quantitative research design or mastery of statistical methods through one of the following mechanisms:

Mechanism 1: Demonstrate that you successfully completed one of the following selections within the past five years:
  • Selection 1: One graduate-level course in statistics with a grade of B or higher (courses completed at the master's level may count for this requirement)

  • Selection 2: Two undergraduate-level courses in quantitative research design and statistics with a grade of B or higher in both
Mechanism 2: Provide evidence to members of the Graduate Steering Committee that you have designed and completed a project that uses statistical methods to analyze previously published research or to conduct your own original research.  

 As when seeking credit in a foreign language, you should submit evidence of the requirement's completion as soon as possible and before you submit your dissertation proposal.

Option 4: Combined Approaches

You may address the research skills requirement through a combination of the three above options.  To do so, you must submit a formal proposal for this approach to the Doctoral Program Steering Committee for approval.  The proposal must indicate how you will combine these options to address a research objective in a way that one of the options, by itself could not. This option must be approved by the Doctoral Program Steering Committee as soon as possible and before you submit your dissertation proposal.