Are you interested in a PhD program that combines the study of rhetoric, writing, and professional communication? Are you interested in studying writing and communication practices in community or public contexts?

The PhD program in technical and professional discourse, offered by the Department of English, provides opportunities to combine theory and practice in the study of rhetoric, writing, and professional communication. The program is particularly engaged in areas related to cultural, public, and community rhetorics across a range of genres and media. It provides future scholar-teachers with diverse, well-supported teaching experiences and fosters professional development as productive members of intellectual, teaching, and professional communities.

Our program is especially suited for students interested in researching the intersections of rhetoric, writing, and professional communication especially as applied to public or community contexts. Students can expect lots of attention and support in this program.

ECU Advantage

Our program includes accessible and supportive research-productive faculty who hold leadership positions in the field's major professional organizations and editorial boards. Faculty expertise and research includes the study of rhetorics and communication in professional spaces such as corporations, healthcare, science, and government as well as school, digital, community, and public contexts. Other research areas include the history, theory, and pedagogy of writing and literacy practices. PhD students help support the work of ECU's Quality Enhancement Plan and hold leadership positions within the writing foundations program and the writing centers. Opportunities also exist for students to conduct research with faculty, and students have opportunities to conduct community-engagement research through coursework and collaborative research relationships within the department and across the university.

Academic positions in rhetoric and professional writing or technical communication are abundant, and students who pursue this degree would be qualified to serve as faculty at various educational levels and institutions.

What You Will Study

There is no catalog data for this program.

Careers With This Degree

Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

  • English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary
  • Editors
  • Technical Writers
  • Writers and Authors

Career Opportunities

ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

NC Tower

This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

  • Self-employed;
  • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
  • Work outside of North Carolina.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

Degree-specific internships

For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.