Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric

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Total Semester Credit Hours Required

At least 90 semester credit hours beyond the baccalaureate, including 12 semester credit hours for dissertation.


A minor is optional (six to nine semester credit hours). It must be in a discipline that offers a graduate degree. Accordingly, one cannot minor in, say, literary theory or linguistics. To be able to teach the subject of one’s minor at the college level in Texas, one would probably need eighteen semester credit hours of course work. Consult the "Graduate Catalog" for additional information about minors. Students may wish to discuss the value of a minor with their advisors.

Research Tools

Two research tools are required. Students must earn a "B" or better in all research tool courses.

Residence Requirements

Students are strongly encouraged to enroll full time for at least two consecutive semesters.

Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination is administered at the close of course work after the student has met the research tools requirement. Students must be enrolled at TWU in order to take the exam.  The examination may be taken only during April, July, or November of each year. The written examination has three parts: Historical/Theoretical Rhetoric, Applied Rhetoric, and Literature. The literary areas from which students choose for the Literature section of the exam are: Old and Middle English Language and Literature; Renaissance and 17th Century British literature; Restoration and Early/Mid-18th Century (ends at 1783) British literature; Late 18th Century and 19th Century British literature; 20th and 21st Century British literature; Pre-1865 American literature; and Post-1865 American literature. Within one month of successfully completing all three portions of the written examination, an oral examiniation is held. Students may attempt the exam (in whole or in part) twice. Failing the qualifying exam (in whole or in part) twice will result in the student being removed from the program.

Dissertation Defense

A public oral examination covering the area of the completed dissertation and areas related to it.

Research Tools

Students choose two of the following options (may choose the same option twice):

  1. 6 semester credit hours of graduate or 12 semester credit hours of undergraduate courses in the same foreign language or equivalency examination
  2. 6 semester credit hours of graduate-level American Sign Language or equivalency examination
  3. 6 semester credit hours of graduate-level computer science
  4. 6 semester credit hours of graduate-level library science
  5. 6 semester credit hours of graduate-level English courses. Select from ENG 5713, ENG 5283, ENG 5343, ENG 5353, ENG 5373, ENG 6083, and ENG 6913.

English courses taken as research tools will count towards the 90 semester credit hours of the degree; however, other courses (foreign language, computer science, and library science) will not count towards the 90 semester credit hours of the degree major.

Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric Program of Study (90 semester credit hours)

Rhetoric Required Courses (24 SCH)
Minimum of 21 semester credit hours in historical, theoretical, and applied rhetoric
ENG 5343Rhetoric and Composition: Theory and Practice3
ENG 5353Rhetoric and Composition: Theory and Pedagogy of Electronic Texts3
ENG 6203History of Rhetoric I3
ENG 6213History of Rhetoric II3
ENG 6223History of Rhetoric III3
Three elective courses in Rhetoric9
Literature Component18
Minimum of 18 semester credit hours chosen in consultation with the advisor
Literary Theory Component3
Minimum of 3 semester credit hours
To complete 90 semester credit hours beyond bachelor's degree
Minimum of 12 semester credit hours
Total Semester Credit Hours90