Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition
The University of Louisville Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition prepares its students for research and teaching careers in the theory and practice of rhetoric and composition. Most students seek tenurable employment in colleges and universities; a few go into business and industry as writing consultants.
Coursework in the doctoral program introduces the student to the teaching of writing, to the history of rhetoric, to current issues and research methods in rhetoric and composition, to contemporary theories of interpretation, and to interconnections among literature, rhetoric, and composition. Recent special topic seminars have focused on computers in the classroom, the rhetoric of science, writing assessment, literacy, feminist theory and composition, and issues in qualitative research.
A variety of teaching opportunities are available. All doctoral students teach for at least two semesters in the First-Year Composition Program; many have the opportunity as well to teach advanced writing, technical or business writing, writing about literature, and introductory literature classes.
A variety of administrative positions are likewise available. Students wishing to gain administrative and editorial experience will have ample opportunity to do so. Graduate assistantships are available in Writing Program Administration, Writing Center Administration, Computer-Aided Instruction, Writing Across the Curriculum, and the Watson Conference. Editorial assistantships are available for The Henry James Review, a journal edited by an English Department faculty member.
The Watson Endowment, a generous gift from Dr. Thomas R. Watson, has enabled us to enhance the educational experience for our graduate students. The department hosts a biennial conference on an issue important to the discipline of Rhetoric and Composition. The 1996 Thomas R. Watson conference on Composition and Rhetoric brought in more than twenty prestigious scholars who were instrumental in professionalizing composition studies, and over 100 scholars presented papers. The theme for the 2002 conference was Composing Identities; the 2004 conference was Writing at the Center; and the 2006 conference, titled "Narrative Knowledge/Narrative Action," addressed the multiple ways that narrative informs theory, research, and teaching in Rhetoric and Composition.
Additionally, the endowment provides for a distinguished visiting professor of Rhetoric and Composition in the the years between conferences. Charles Bazerman was our first Watson Visiting Professor in 1997, followed by George Hillocks in 1999, Cheryl Geisler in 2001, and Cynthia Selfe in 2004. The department welcomed Deborah Brandt as the Watson Visiting Professor in the spring of 2006 and looks forward with anticipation to Fall 2007 when Keith Gilyard will be the Watson Visiting Professor. Doctoral students at the University of Louisville can thus expect to study with at least two visiting professors and to participate in two international conferences on Rhetoric and Composition during their tenure in the program.
See the Graduate Program Guidelines (PDF) for more information on admissions, financial aid, and degree requirements.