Rhetoric and Professional Communication - Doctor of Philosophy

Students in the doctoral program will develop individualized plans of study in consultation with advisors. Students are required to take

  • 78 hours of graduate-level coursework including the doctoral proseminar in the first semester;
  • courses in research methods;
  • core courses in composition, critical/cultural studies, professional communication, and rhetoric;
  • additional coursework in an area of specialization determined in consultation with an advisor;
  • an internship; and
  • a dissertation.

The Ph.D. also requires a qualifying portfolio, a comprehensive examination and an oral examination. The dissertation must be completed and approved within 5 years after the comprehensive exam. Consult the department for additional instructions regarding the internship, qualifying comprehensive examinations, portfolio and dissertation.


Program Requirements
ENGL 610Proseminar in Rhetoric and Professional Communication3
Methods Courses6
ENGL 597Internship in Technical and Professional Communication6
ENGL 700Doctoral Dissertation18
Select one from the following: 13
Graduate Study in Empirical Research3
Qualitative Research3
Quantitative Research3
Rhetorical Criticism and Methodology3
Core Courses
Select four from the following core courses:12
Core Composition Courses
History and Theory of Composition Studies3
Composition Pedagogy and Practicum3
Core Critical/Cultural Studies Courses
Graduate Study in Critical Theory3
Rhetoric and Cultural Studies3
Core Professional and Technical Communication Courses
Graduate Study in Writing in the Workplace3
Technical-Professional Communication: Theory and Pedagogy3
Core Rhetoric Courses
History of Rhetoric3
Graduate Study in Modern Rhetorical Theory3
Specialized Courses
Select 15-18 credits in area of specialized determined in consultation with an advisor. 215-18
Total Credits63-66

Graduate assistants must take 3 hours of ENGL 571 Composition Pedagogy and Practicum, during their first semester of teaching.


Students define their specialized area, a coherent set of related courses drawn from both inside and outside the Department of English, in consultation with their doctoral committee. Possible specializations include Border Rhetorics and Cultures; Writing Program Administration/Writing Center Administration; Assessment; Pedagogy; Literacy Studies; Identity and Political and Social Rhetoric; New Media Rhetoric and Design; Intercultural Rhetorics; Writing Across the Curriculum; Workplace Communication; and the Rhetoric of Science.

Transfer Courses (up to 18 credits)

Students may apply 18 hours of master's level work to the 54-hour coursework requirement with departmental approval. In consultation with an advisor and the Doctoral Committee, students petition for transfer credits when they submit their qualifying portfolio and file the program of study with the Graduate School.

Financial Support

Students are eligible for teaching assistantships and a variety of positions that involve writing around campus and the community. Because many students work full time, many courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate various schedules.

Application Information

Please refer to the online application process described on the NMSU Admissions website for specific instructions for each program.