2018-2019 Graduate Catalog

Rhetoric and Composition, Ph.D.

Course Requirements

Students must complete for credit a minimum of 54 semester hours of graduate courses hours exclusive of 12 credit hours for the dissertation. Postgraduate hours completed more than seven years prior to a student’s admission into TCU’s graduate program in Rhetoric and Composition may not count toward requirements; the graduate adviser will determine applicable credit on a case-by-case basis.

Of the 54 hours, at least 36 must be taken at TCU. Students must take 9 hours in Foundations to the Profession and remaining hours in electives, as outlined below.

I. Foundations to the Profession (9 hours)

Students must complete 9 hours in coursework that addresses each of three areas:

ENGL 60513Teaching College Composition


ENGL 60113Introduction to Graduate Studies and the Profession of English


ENGL 60723Research Practices in Composition and Rhetoric


II. Electives (27 hours)

Students must complete a minimum of 12 hours in coursework that addresses at least four of the six areas listed below. Although each 3-hour seminar typically addresses two of the areas, students will receive credit for only one area per course.

  • Rhetoric and Culture

  • Composition and Literacy

  • Pedagogy

  • Digital Humanities and Multimedia

  • Textual/Scholarly Production

  • Theory

Students should select their additional coursework based on intended area(s) of specialization, in consultation with the director of graduate studies.

Language Requirement

Reading knowledge of one approved foreign language, typically selected from French, German, Spanish or Latin, is required. Other languages may be offered on approval of the Departmental Graduate Committee, but the language should be the one most appropriate to the student's research, field of concentration or professional development. This requirement may be met by satisfying the general University statement under Ph.D. Degree Requirements or by any other means approved by the Departmental Graduate Committee. The language requirement must be satisfied before the student can be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.


A student takes qualifying comprehensive examinations, consisting of a minimum of two exams in two areas, when she or he has completed for credit 48-54 hours of graduate courses, of which 36 must be from TCU; has completed requisite coursework; and has met the language requirement. These examinations are based on the student’s areas of concentration. The student and his or her advisory committee will determine the areas to be covered by the exams. A student who fails one or more areas of the examinations may retake the failed area(s) again, but a second failure on any area of the examination bars the student from candidacy.


Doctoral students must complete a dissertation that demonstrates their ability to do independent and original research, and to synthesize their findings and existing knowledge into a unified document. A candidate must present a dissertation prospectus to his/her advisory committee for discussion, suggestions and approval before proceeding with the project. The candidate's oral defense of the dissertation is a public lecture based upon his/her findings, presented to the Department of English graduate faculty, graduate students and other interested persons within the academic community.

Advisory Committee

Before taking qualifying examinations, a student requests through the director of graduate studies that the associate dean of AddRan College of Liberal Arts appoint an advisory committee of four members. The dissertation director normally serves as chair of the student's advisory committee. One member of the committee may come from outside the Department of English if the candidate's dissertation project requires such additional expertise. The advisory committee suggests concentration courses, prepares the qualifying examinations, approves the student for candidacy and directs the dissertation.

Academic Advising

Students are advised by the departmental director of graduate studies throughout their doctoral programs.