Ph.D. in Rhetoric

Earn your doctoral degree in rhetoric at TWU.

Our Ph.D. program 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 that these subjects intersect and believe you will benefit from their combined study. In addition to the courses and electives in historical and applied rhetoric that form the foundation of our program, you will select a major period of literature (either in the British or American traditions) to study. Our program also collaborates closely with the Multicultural Gender and Women’s Studies Department at TWU and offers a number of cross-listed courses and interdisciplinary study opportunities.

As a doctoral student in our program, you will develop the ability to:

  • Work both collaboratively and independently.
  • Lead your peers.
  • Supervise the work of others.
  • Conduct and present original research in oral and written forms.
  • Use technology in the classroom.
  • Structure and plan your own courses.
  • Teach effectively.

We offer a range of face-to-face, online and hybrid graduate courses 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 the flexibility to meet a variety of student needs, the program is not intended to be a fully-online program and cannot be completed through online classes only.

Career outlook

Our program will prepare you to lead a fulfilling career as a teacher, leader in your academic department, and researcher within the fields of rhetoric and literature by cultivating your proficiency in discourse analysis, communicative studies, writing and research. While this program largely serves the needs of aspiring post-secondary teachers, you will be prepared to contribute professionally in fields as diverse as writing, editing, government and business.

Opportunities for professional development

Our one-on-one mentorship, range of leadership opportunities, small class sizes, and varied course delivery methods set our Ph.D. program apart. Students who receive graduate assistantships work in a variety of capacities, including:

  • Tutors in our campus writing center, The Write Site.
  • Course assistants for tenure-track faculty members who teach first-year writing, professional writing, literature and theory courses.
  • Teachers of record in their own first-year writing courses or literature courses.

We host regular professional development meetings for our first-year writing teachers. As part of a conscious effort to support your transition from student to professional colleague, we also will provide additional mentorship as you begin to present and publish your own scholarship. 

Technology is integral to our program. You will take courses in online pedagogy, and our 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.

Apply today

  1. Review and complete the university’s General Requirements for Graduate Admissions.
  2. Review the departmental requirements and application deadlines (below) for Rhetoric.
  3. If you have met all of the above requirements, complete the graduate school application process.

Application Deadlines

  • Priority Consideration: February 1
  • Second Review of Applications: July 1

International Student Admission Requirements

All students for whom an English proficiency test is required must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • TOEFL (paper-based): Score of 550 or higher
  • TOEFL (computer-based): Score of 213 or higher
  • TOEFL iBT: Score of 79 or higher
  • MELAB: Score of 80 or higher
  • IELTS: Score of 6.5 or higher
  • GRE: Verbal score of 500 or higher

Scholarships and financial aid

There are a number of scholarships designated specifically for students within the TWU Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages. Explore our graduate and organizational scholarships.

To apply for financial aid, please visit the TWU Financial Aid website.

Need more information?

Contact our graduate program coordinator, Gretchen Busl, Ph.D., at or:

Request More Information

Page last updated 11:30 AM, November 12, 2018