Skip to the main content of this page.

miami university
Department of English
rotating images of books

Contact Us

356 Bachelor Hall
Miami University
Oxford, OH 45056
fax: 513.529.1392

This page last updated
October 30, 2012

Graduate Program

Doctoral Programs

Composition and Rhetoric

The Ph.D. program in Composition and Rhetoric at Miami University is nationally recognized as one of the premier centers for training teacher-scholars in the discipline. It is home to specialists in composition, linguistics, the history of rhetoric, and professional communication. The program is designed and led by some of the field’s outstanding researchers and is small enough to insure extensive contact and collaboration among students and faculty. We provide excellent teacher training to our students, complemented by a range of courses in pedagogy that synthesize theory with practice and take the classroom itself as a primary site for research on writing. You may also wish to visit the Graduate Programs in Composition & Rhetoric website.

We encourage and support our students’ development as professionals by providing support for travel to and participation in national conferences; by mentoring our students in achieving substantial research publications; and by including doctoral students in administrative and scholarly projects. And we provide expert guidance in every aspect of the job search, with a nearly 100% placement rate for our graduates.

Below you may read an overview of the program. For more detailed information on the Curriculum and Dissertation requirements, please download the English Department’s Graduate Handbook.

The Curriculum

To earn the degree in Composition and Rhetoric, students take eight seminars during their first two years for their Course of Study. Four seminars are required foundation courses; two are additional composition and rhetoric courses, and two are open electives in English at the 600 level or above which are relevant to the individually planned Course of Study.

Composition and Rhetoric Requirements

Four Foundation Courses (16 hours):

Two additional seminars in composition and rhetoric (8 hours)

Two open electives in English (8 hours)

General Degree Requirements

All doctoral students also enroll in English 605 (Issues in the Profession), ENG 603 (Literary Theories and Their Histories), ENG 731 (The Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition), and ENG 698/699 (Teaching Workshop I and II for College Composition) if they had not been completed for the M.A.; and a minimum of 16 credit hours of Dissertation Research. Doctoral students also must demonstrate reading proficiency in at least one foreign language and usually take two graduate-level courses in a cognate area beyond the department, such as Philosophy, History, or Women’s Studies. Students should expect to spend the first two years of the Ph.D. program completing coursework requirements, with the expectation of preparing to take their comprehensive exam early in their third year.

Teaching and Administrative Opportunities

In addition to the required teacher training in composition and the classroom experience of first-year composition courses, doctoral students in Composition and Rhetoric may explore other teaching options depending on their interests. Students have been regularly invited to teach advanced composition and introductory linguistics on the Oxford campus and basic writing at our two regional campuses. Beyond English, they have taught both introductory and topics courses in the interdisciplinary undergraduate programs in Black World Studies and Women’s Studies, and several have served as the teaching/administrative TA assigned to the Women’s Studies program. Particularly well-qualified students in the Composition and Rhetoric program have also taught introductory-level courses in literature and film studies.

The Howe Writing Initiative, site of the Department’s most intensive interaction across the disciplines, also provides doctoral students with another context for writing instruction. Each year, three Howe TAs work, alongside the Howe Professor, with faculty in the Richard T. Farmer School of Business Administration to integrate writing instruction throughout the business curriculum. As a result of this work, now in its sixth year, Howe TAs have expanded their intellectual and professional agendas, presenting papers, co-authoring articles, and planning dissertations that grow directly from their experiences.

Doctoral students also play other important roles in writing program administration. A team works together each summer to edit College Composition at Miami, the in-house publication that is required reading for all first-year writing students. Many participate as well in compiling the Teacher’s Guide on which new graduate teaching assistants rely in teaching first-year composition. And the Portfolio project involves doctoral students in every aspect of a process that culminates in a two-day holistic evaluation of writing portfolios submitted by incoming students for advanced placement.

In addition, doctoral students regularly serve on the department’s College Composition Committee, the Graduate Committee, and search committees for new faculty members. All of these assignments help to give them a realistic and informed sense of what an academic career entails, as well as enabling doctoral students to make sure that their special concerns are well represented in central venues of department life.