Doctor of Philosophy

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Welcome to the NDSU Ph.D. Rhetoric, Theory, and Culture

In the Department of English, you'll be part of an inclusive and thriving scholarly environment that transcends disciplinary boundaries.  The Ph.D. Rhetoric, Theory, and Culture offers students the opportunity to pursue advanced, interdisciplinary study in a variety of areas within the fields of rhetoric, writing, and textual and cultural studies.


Our Program Provides:


We prepare students for interdisciplinary engagement across rhetoric, writing, textual, and cultural studies. Our students present at conferences, earn teaching and research awards, and publish prior to graduation.

Upon graduation, our students

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of various major conversations, theories, and theorists in rhetoric, writing, and cultural studies
  • Demonstrate an ability to design and apply specific disciplinary and interdisciplinary research methodologies, such as: Qualitative methods; Quantitative methods; Historical analysis; Discourse analysis; Rhetorical analysis; Cultural analysis
  • Demonstrate knowledge of various pedagogical theories and debates within rhetoric, writing, and cultural studies
  • Demonstrate a trajectory for continued growth as a professional, including a sustainable research, writing, and teaching agenda
  • Make an original contribution to our understanding of a disciplinary-specific problem
Experiential learning

We offer students professional internships and teaching assistantships that transfer and apply theoretical skills to practical, real-life work environments, be they academic, pedagogical, or professional.

Supportive Mentoring

At NDSU, doctoral students work one-on-one with faculty who have professional expertise in specialized areas such as pedagogy, writing assessment, writing program administration, curriculum development, technical and professional writing, usability and user experience, medical rhetoric and disability studies, and feminist rhetorics. For example, our teaching seminar for first-year graduate students focuses on carefully developing, supporting, and improving teaching practices.  

Funding and Financial Support

We offer teaching assistantships for which graduate students teach introductory composition classes to undergraduates. In return, graduate students receive a tuition waiver that covers the cost of classes, as well as a small monetary stipend. Our department offers travel money to graduate students who present at conferences. 

Our graduates most frequently accept positions as writing program administrators and faculty in English and Communications departments. 

Degree Requirements

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Graduate Student Handbook

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Program of Study

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Recent Dissertations

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