English Rhetoric and Composition (PhD)

Admission Requirements

Application Due: January 5 (fall admission only)

All applicants should submit:

  1. Online Graduate Application.
  2. A written statement of no more than 1,000 words detailing the applicant's professional goals in the field of rhetoric and composition.
  3. Complete official transcripts of all college-level work.
  4. Three academic letters of recommendation.
  5. Critical writing sample (15-20 pages).
  6. Application for Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA).  The entire application must be completed by January 5th to be considered for a GTA position. The completed GTA application form should be sent directly to the department via email to: englgrad@louisville.edu.
  7. Statement (1-2 pages) describing how you would approach teaching in general and teaching writing in particular. If you have experience as a teaching or tutor, describe your teaching philosophy and provide some specific examples of how you turn that philosophy into practice in the classroom or writing center. What are the most important concepts and skills you think student writers need to learn? If you do not have experience as a teacher or tutor, describe what, as a student, you have found effective in your best teachers. What approaches to teaching and what personal qualities did you value in their work? Describe how you would approach teaching based on what you have experienced. What are the most important concepts and skills you think student writers need to learn?  
  8. All applicants for whom English is a second language must also submit official TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 213 or higher on the computer-based test. English proficiency can also be met by submitting official IELTS scores of at least 6.5 overall band score from the academic module exam or official Duolingo overall score of 105.  Students holding a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States may be exempt from this requirement.

Degree Requirements

All doctoral students are expected to complete a minimum of 45 graduate credit hours; demonstrate proficiency in one language other than English; successfully complete the Modern and Contemporary Rhetoric and Composition exam and the Specified Literature Area exam; complete and defend a dissertation; and participate in a year-long supervised teaching-internship. (Graduate teaching assistants automatically fulfill the professional requirement once they have completed one successful year as a graduate teaching assistant.)

More information on requirements can be found in the English Department Graduate Program Guidelines.

Graduate-level English courses beyond those listed may count towards requirements depending on the topics covered. Detailed course descriptions, available on the English Department website, will provide this information and can be discussed during advising with the director of graduate studies. 

General Requirements
ENGL 602Teaching College Composition3
ENGL 620Research in the Composition3
ENGL 689Directed Reading for Comprehensive Examinations3
Pedagogy and Program Administration3
Assessing and Responding to Student Writing
Composition Theory and Practice
Studies in Genres
History of Rhetoric I
History of Rhetoric II
Rhetoric and Textual Analysis
The Rhetoric of Science
Literature 19
Contemporary Theories of Interpretation
Topics in Interpretive Theory Since 1900
Studies in Genres
Teaching Literature: Theory and Practice
Creative Writing I
Creative Writing II
Old English and Middle English Language and Literature
Renaissance Drama
Renaissance Poetry and Prose
Eighteenth-Century Fiction
Eighteenth-Century Poetry and Prose
Romantic Poetry and Prose
Nineteenth-Century Fiction
Nineteenth-Century British Poetry and Prose
Irish Studies
Twentieth-Century Literature
African-American Literature
Nineteenth-Century American Fiction
Nineteenth-Century American Poetry and Prose
American Authors: 1900-Present
Contemporary Poetry
Seminar in Special Studies
Seminar in Modern British Studies
Seminar in American Studies
ENGL 690Dissertation Research12
Minimum Total Hours45

Students must take either ENGL 691 or ENGL 692 as part of the Literature requirement. The remaining Literature hours may be selected from any of the additional courses listed, in consultation with the student's advisor.