English (Writing, Rhetorics and Literacies), PhD

The PhD in English, concentration in writing, rhetorics and literacies, at Arizona State University promotes the study of the production, distribution, and interpretation of texts (oral, written, digital, visual, discursive, material, symbolic) and the rhetorical strategies involved in such processes. Students draw on composition/writing theory, rhetorical theory, and literacy studies to examine the ideological, pedagogical, pragmatic and social dimensions of words, symbols, texts, images, and artifacts. Using theories and methods from both historical and contemporary contexts, we teach students strategies for inquiry; the ways in which communication creates knowledge, meaning and action; and how texts, meanings, and communication are constructed, circulated, reacted to, and repurposed over time and across space. Program requirements are designed to encourage students to develop a nuanced understanding of the role of critical inquiry and rhetorical analysis in framing problems, advocating for change, exploring solutions, or disrupting the status quo. With a sophisticated understanding of how words work in the world, student pursue avenues of original inquiry that have relevance and implications for the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly complex and dynamic landscape. The program encourages interdisciplinary study, and its flexible requirements enable students to pursue areas of inquiry that interest them the most and tailor those pursuits to their career goals. The program prepares students for multiple career paths including in academia, the public sector and private industry--as teachers, scholars, advocates, professionals, and public intellectuals.

All applications for admission to the program must be approved by the doctoral admissions committee in the Department of English and by Graduate Education. There are several requirements for admission, none of which will be arbitrarily disregarded, and the best applicants will meet or exceed all of these criteria. However, the Admissions Committee will consider the individual aspects of each application.

For more information on how to apply, see the Department of English Application Procedures.

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Deadline: January 15th for fall admission

Undergraduate and graduate majors: Given the interdisciplinary nature of work in this program, faculty will consider applicants with bachelor's or master's degrees in fields such as anthropology, applied linguistics, cognitive science, communication, comparative languages and literatures, English literature, education, history, law, linguistics, modern languages, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, rhetoric, composition, sociology and speech and hearing science.

  1. Cumulative grade point average: Graduate Education equires a GPA of 3.00 or better in the last two years of work leading to the bachelor's degree and the recommendation of the academic unit in which the applicant plans to study. In addition, the Department of English requires that applicants have at least a 3.50 GPA in all previous graduate work.
  2. Graduate Record Examination: Applicants must submit scores on the GRE. Normally, they should achieve a score in the 85th percentile or higher.
  3. Letters of recommendation: At least three letters of recommendation from professors familiar with the applicant's academic performance.
  4. Statement of Purpose: A well considered, one to two-page, single spaced statement of purpose in which candidates explain how their experience and training—either in school, out of school, or both—have prepared them for the program. Candidates should indicate their career goals and explain how these goals relate to our graduate program in writing, rhetorics, and literacies.
  5. Sample of scholarly work: Applicants should submit a critical paper or research paper prepared in a recent course.
  6. Vitae: A CV that outlines educational background, relevant work experience, honors and publications.
  7. Official Transcripts:   Official Transcripts should be sent to ASU Graduate Education - Admissions.
  8. A Graduate online application. An application fee is required.
  9. International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the Graduate College. Please refer to the English Proficiency Score requirements.

Patricia Boyd - computers and composition; study of feminism; cultural studies.

Maureen Goggin - material culture; women making things; gender studies; history of rhetoric; rhetorical theory; history of rhetoric and composition; research methods; visual rhetoric; material rhetoric.

Peter Goggin - theories of literacy; literacy and technology; environmental rhetoric; narratrives of sustainability.

Mark Hannah - cross-disciplinary collaboration; technical communication; business communication; rhetoric of science; rhetoric and composition; legal rhetoric.

Kathleen Lamp - history of rhetoric; visual rhetoric; classical rhetoric; rhetorical influence on civic participation; the rhetoric of Augustan Rome.

Elenore Long - community literacy; the rhetorics of local publics; sociocognitive rhetorical theories and methods; composition and the public turn; knowledge activism.

Paul Kei Matsuda - Second language writing, written discourse analysis, electronic discourse, cross-cultural rhetoric, research methods, rhetoric and composition, applied linguistics, English for academic purposes.

Keith Miller - Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement; rhetoric about British and American slavery; basic writing; persuasive rhetoric; persuasive writing on public issues.

Ersula Ore - contemporary rhetorical theory; visual rhetorics of violence; rhetorics of race and culture; critical race theory; rhetoric and public memory.

Shirley Rose - writing program administration; writing teacher preparation; citation studies; archival research, theory, and practice; the rhetoric of archival practices.

Bryan Smith - second language acquisition; second language computer-meditated communication; digital technologies in second language learning, second language writing, and second language communication; negotiated interaction; applied linguistics.

Doris Warriner - literacy practices of second language users, immigration, transnationalism, qualitative methods, narrative analysis, educational anthropology, linguistic anthropology.

Degree Offered

English (Writing, Rhetorics and Literacies), PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Application Deadline

ONE deadline: January 15 for fall

How to Apply

See the Application Procedures tab above.

Questions? Contact enggrad@asu.edu

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