Rhetoric and Professional Communication - Doctor of Philosophy

An MA is required for admission to the PhD program. Students in the doctoral program will develop individualized plans of study in consultation with advisors. Students are required to take

  • 60 hours of graduate-level coursework including the doctoral proseminar in the first semester;
  • courses in research methods;
  • core courses in composition, professional and technical 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.


Prefix Title Credits
Program Requirements
ENGL 610Proseminar in Rhetoric and Professional Communication3
ENGL 597Internship in Technical and Professional Communication3
ENGL 600Doctoral Research3-15
ENGL 700Doctoral Dissertation15
Methods Courses 3
Select one from the following
Graduate Study in Empirical Research3
Qualitative Research3
Digital Research Methods3
Core Courses
Select four from the following core courses:12
Core Composition Courses (select one)
History and Theory of Composition Studies3
Critical Writing Studies3
Core Professional and Technical Communication Courses (select one)
Critical Conversations in Technical and Professional Communication3
Technical-Professional Communication Pedagogies3
Multimedia Theory and Production3
Core Rhetoric Courses (select two)
History of Rhetoric3
Graduate Study in Modern Rhetorical Theory3
Rhetoric and Cultural Studies3
Specialized Courses
Select 21 credits in specialized area determined in consultation with an advisor. 221
Transfer Credits (18 credits)18
Total Credits78-90

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. Up to 6 hours may be taken outside of English.

Transfer Courses (18 credits)

In consultation with an advisor and the Doctoral Committee, courses taken at the Master's level can be used to waive specific area requirements in the PhD, but this will not reduce the minimum number of credits required.

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.