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Department of English

Graduate Rhetoric and Composition :: Degrees

MA | PhD

The MA in Rhetoric and Composition requires a minimum of 33 hours of coursework, to be distributed as follows:

MA Rhetoric & Composition Requirements Beginning Fall 2010 (pending approval)

(Click here for program requirements prior to Fall 2010.)

  • Core Requirements (4 courses / 12 credits)
    • ENC 6700 Studies in Composition Theory (3 credits)
    • ENC 6720 Studies in Composition Research (3 credits)
    • ENC 6421 Studies in Rhetoric and Technology (3 credits)
    • ENC 6336 Studies in the History of Rhetoric or ENC 6333 Contemporary Rhetorics (3 credits)
  • ENG 6009 Introduction to Graduate Studies (3 credits)
  • 2-3 elective courses within Rhetoric and Composition (6-9 credits)
  • 1-2 other electives related to course of study (either from within the department, outside the department, or a combination of the two) (3-6 credits)
  • ENG 6971 MA Thesis plus Oral Defense on a Rhetoric and Composition topic (6 credits)

Additional course for Teaching Assistants:

  • ENC 6745 Practice in Teaching Composition (counts toward 2-3 elective courses within Rhetoric and Composition)

MA Rhetoric & Composition Requirements Prior to Fall 2010

  • ENG 6009 Bibliography for English Studies (3)
  • LAE 6375 Contemporary Composition Studies (3)
  • ENC 6336 Studies in the History of Rhetoric (3)
  • ENC 6421 Studies in Rhetoric and Technology (3)
  • ENC 6700 Studies in Composition Theory (3)
  • ENC 6720 Studies in Composition Research (3)
  • 2 courses (6 hours) in American, British, or world literature
  • 2 electives (6 hours) in literature or rhetoric and composition
  • ENG 6971 MA Thesis on a Rhetoric/Composition topic (3)

PhD

The PhD is designed to produce teacher-scholars who have a good general knowledge of critical theory, literature, and composition, as well as a specialized knowledge in their field of concentration.

The PhD in English involves a minimum of 30 hours of course work beyond the MA degree, exclusive of credits devoted to the foreign language requirement and the doctoral dissertation. A minimum of 90 hours after the BA degree is required. Included in these required hours must be (if not already taken at the MA level):

PhD Rhetoric & Composition Requirements Beginning Fall 2010

(Click here for PhD Rhetoric & Composition requirements prior to Fall 2010.)

  • Core Requirements (4 courses / 12 credits)
    • ENC 6700 Studies in Composition Theory (3 credits)
    • ENC 6720 Studies in Composition Research (3 credits)
    • ENC 6421 Studies in Rhetoric and Technology (3 credits)
    • ENC 6336 Studies in the History of Rhetoric (3 credits)
  • ENG 6005 Scholarly Research and Writing (3 credits)
  • 4 or 5 Electives in Rhetoric and Composition (dependent upon whether ENC 6745 was taken at the MA level). Courses from other programs may be substituted at the discretion of the student’s advisor.
  • ENG 7939 Doctoral Seminar attached to two 6000-level courses (2 credits total)*

Students who completed the MA at USF may elect to take up to 4 additional courses from inside or outside the Rhetoric and Composition program in place of the core requirements. They will be required to take whichever section of Composition Theory they did not complete at the MA level (the courses are not sequential). Students teaching in the program will be required to take ENC 6745 Practice in Teaching Composition.

*PhD students are required to take two 6000-level courses in their chosen field(s) of specialty as doctoral seminars. By the second year of PhD coursework, the student should identify the courses to be applied to the seminar requirement. He or she will register for the regular three-credit course; additionally the student will register for a one-credit seminar hour (ENG 7939) that will be taken in conjunction with the approved course. The student should take this 6000-level course in his or her dissertation area with one of his or her major professors. The student should meet with the instructor as soon as he or she has identified this course as a seminar course, and the two should agree in writing on the details of the work to be done for the seminar hour. The Graduate Program Specialist will manage registration for seminar hours.

While taking the 6000-level course, the seminar student is expected to do extra work in preparation for writing a dissertation. For example, he or she could be responsible for teaching or leading a portion of a class on a particular work and writing a 25-30 page essay based in research on material from the class, which would substitute for one of the writing assignments in the 6000-level course. Satisfaction of this requirement must be approved by the instructor and the Graduate Director.

Additional PhD Rhetoric & Composition Requirements:

  • Demonstrated proficiency in one foreign language
  • A PhD qualifying exam
  • A minimum of 10 dissertation hours (no maximum)

Foreign Language
Before taking the PhD qualifying examination, a student must fulfill the foreign language requirement. The student may fulfill this requirement by demonstrating a reading knowledge of a foreign language. English may not be used to fulfill this requirement even for those students for whom English is a second language. Students of early English Literature are strongly encouraged to learn Old English in addition to their one foreign language. Reading knowledge of a foreign language must be demonstrated at the PhD level; work from a previous degree will not satisfy the requirement (although it may enable a student to pass a proficiency examination). Reading knowledge may be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  • Place beyond level IV in a language placement test (administered by the World Languages Department)
  • Earn a “B” or better in the special courses Reading for French, German, or Spanish offered for graduate students;
  • Earn a “B” or better in two semester courses of an intermediate foreign language (i.e., Spanish III and Spanish IV);
  • Earn a “B” or better in a fourth semester foreign language course (i.e., Spanish IV)
  • Earn a “B” or better in a second semester Latin course (Beginning Latin II)

In light of the reduction of the foreign language requirement (from two to one), students are strongly encouraged to pursue a graduate certificate, particularly in Rhetoric and Composition. Work toward a graduate certificate would not need to be completed before the semester when the student takes the PhD exam.

PhD Qualifying Examination
After completing 30 hours of coursework, the language requirement, and all incomplete grades, a student may take the PhD examination. The standardized exam will be offered twice each academic year for all eligible students and consists of:

  • A 24-hour take-home exam divided into four written sections (1500 words a piece), the content of which corresponds to the four core courses: Composition Theory, Research Methods, Rhetoric and Technology, and Historical Rhetorics. Questions will be picked up in the English office at 9:00am on the day of the exam. Questions will be digitally submitted to Canvas by 9:00am on the following day.
  • A manuscript suitable for publication in a specified scholarly journal (7,000-8,500 words) to be turned in at the same time as the 24-hour exam. The topic of the manuscript should be based on the student’s specialization in Rhetoric and Composition. This manuscript can be a revision of a course paper or conference paper or an extension of their project from the Scholarly Writing and Research class. It must contribute to the discipline by advancing scholarly discussions in Rhetoric and Composition studies and offering new knowledge.

    Students may waive Part II of the exam if they have already published a research article of 7,000 or more words in one of the disciplinary journals included on the list of 29 appropriate journals compiled by the rhetoric and composition faculty. The publication must be on a topic in rhetoric or composition, and it must be a research article reporting original research rather than a review essay, a commentary, or any other genre.

All exams will be assessed by a rotating committee of at least three Rhetoric and Composition faculty representing different areas of disciplinary expertise. Every exam question will be graded by each member of the committee, although emphasis will be placed upon readers’ areas of specialization when determining the final score for each question.

When students pass their examination (minimum score of Pass), they are ready to submit paperwork to advance into candidacy.

Dissertation
A student may not register for dissertation hours until officially admitted to candidacy. In order to be admitted, the student must have successfully completed the following steps: finished all class work, fulfilled language requirements, passed the qualifying exam, and established a PhD dissertation committee that has been approved by the Department, College, and Graduate School. This committee should consist of one major professor and three additional members. The graduate student’s first obligation once admitted to candidacy will be preparing a prospectus.

PhD Rhetoric & Composition Requirements Prior to Fall 2010

  • ENC 6319 Scholarly Writing for Publication
  • ENG 6009 Bibliography for English Studies
  • ENG 6018 Studies in Criticism and Theory I
  • ENG 6019 Studies in Criticism and Theory II

Additional requirements:

  • A doctoral seminar credit (ENG 7939) attached to two 6000-level courses
  • LAE 7376 Problems in Advanced Composition Instruction
    OR
    LAE 7390 Problems in Advanced English Instruction and Scholarly Research (this requirement may be waived for students who have extensive teaching experience)
  • Demonstrated proficiency in two foreign languages; or one foreign language and one tools-of-research area
  • A PhD qualifying exam
  • A minimum of 10 dissertation hours (no maximum).

Doctoral Seminar Requirement

PhD students are required to take two 6000-level courses in their chosen field of specialty as doctoral seminars. By the second year of PhD coursework, the student should identify the courses to be applied to the seminar requirement. He or she will register for the regular three credit course; additionally the student will register for a one-credit seminar hour that will be taken in conjunction with the approved course. The student should take this 6000-level course in his or her dissertation area with one of his or her major professors. The student should meet with the instructor as soon as he or she has identified this course as a seminar course, and the two should agree in writing on the details of the work to be done for the seminar hour. The graduate program assistant will manage registration for seminar hours. While taking the 6000-level course, the seminar student is expected to do extra work in preparation for writing a dissertation. Namely, he or she would be responsible for teaching or leading a portion of a class on a particular work and writing a 25-30 page essay based in research on material from the class, which would substitute for one of the writing assignments in the 6000-level course. Satisfaction of this requirement must be approved by the instructor and the Graduate Director.

Foreign Language/Tools of Research Requirement

Before taking the PhD qualifying examination, a student must fulfill this requirement by demonstrating a reading knowledge of two foreign languages. English may not be used to fulfill this requirement even for those students for whom it is not a first language. Competency in a foreign language will normally be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  • Place beyond level IV in a language placement test (administered by the World Languages Department)
  • Earn a “B” or better in the special courses Reading for French or German offered for graduate students;
  • Earn a “B” or better in two semester courses of an intermediate foreign language (i.e., Spanish III and Spanish IV);
  • Earn a “B” or better in a fourth semester foreign language course (i.e., Spanish IV)
  • Earn a “B” or better in a second semester Latin course (Beginning Latin II)
  • Alternatively, a student may meet this requirement by demonstrating competence in one foreign language and by demonstrating competence in an additional tool-of-research related to the student's area of specialization. This competency may be demonstrated by completing nine hours of coursework in a second academic discipline. The additional work may be in computer science, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, or other approved fields. Since the courses available in these disciplines may vary from time to time, students must obtain the advance approval of the Graduate Director to ensure that the particular courses they intend to take will fulfill the requirement. With the approval of the Graduate Director, students may also fulfill this requirement by attending seminars or special courses at other universities.

Qualifying Exam

After completing 30 hours of coursework, the language and tools-of-research requirements, and all incomplete grades, a student may take the PhD examination. The exam will consist of three, three-hour written sections, the content of which depends on the student's specialization.

Dissertation

A student may not register for dissertation hours until officially admitted to candidacy.  In order to be admitted, the student must have successfully completed the following steps: finished all class work, fulfilled language and tools-of-research requirements, passed the qualifying exam, and established a PhD dissertation committee that has been approved by the Department, College, and Graduate School. This committee should consist of one major professor and three additional members.