Curriculum—The M.A. and Ph.D. in rhetoric and scientific and technical communication prepare students to address complex issues in language, science, and technology. The programs are flexible enough to allow students to approach their studies from a variety of perspectives and research methods. These programs prepare students for teaching at a university and conducting research in rhetoric and scientific and technical communication. The programs can also prepare students for specialist positions in industry and government that require the analysis and design of human communication systems. Required courses include theory, research, and practice in rhetoric and scientific and technical communication; analysis of scientific or technical discourse; and coursework in a minor or related field.
Ph.D. students in rhetoric and scientific and technical communication are required to earn a minimum of 42 credits. This plan requires a minimum of 21 credits in rhetoric seminars and courses—two of those seminars must be in rhetorical theory and criticism within departmental course offerings. Students take two courses (6 cr) in rhetorical theory and criticism; two courses in technical communication research and theory (6 cr), including WRIT 8011 and 8012; and a total of 12 credits divided between a substantive area of study, such as the rhetoric of science or feminist theory in scientific and technical communication (6–12 cr) and research methods courses (0–6 cr); and 12 credits in a minor or related field. Minor or supporting programs may focus on areas such as communication studies, English, curriculum and instruction, women’s studies, cognitive psychology, or history of science. In addition, 6 elective credits are needed to fulfill the minimum credit requirement. Students may fulfill 18 credits of Ph.D. work in completing M.A. requirements (usually two courses in rhetorical theory and three courses in other core areas). Twenty-four thesis credits are also required. The preliminary exams are both written (based on coursework and reading lists) and oral (based on the written preliminary exam).
The programs prepare students to become educators and researchers in academic departments, or, in a smaller set of cases, for positions in industry and government that require the analysis and design of human communication systems. Our doctoral graduates have accepted positions at such places such as Carnegie Mellon University, Syracuse, Case Western University, Texas Tech, McGill University, and Unisys Corporation.