Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

Graduate Studies

Graduate concentrations in Rhetoric and Digital Literacies and Literatures are offered through the Department of English. Admissions requirements can be found here.

Rhetoric

The Ph.D. concentration in Rhetoric in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin is prestigious for good reason: we have an excellent placement rate; our alumni have become leaders of the discipline; our faculty are engaged, collegial, and productive; and we offer students a broad range of teaching and administrative opportunities.

The faculty, one of the most productive in the nation, has particular strength in the history of rhetoric, rhetorical theory, research methodology, composition, pedagogy, and digital technologies.

Seminars in rhetoric and writing focus on strands such as  the history of rhetoric, rhetorical theory, research methodology, composition, pedagogy, and digital technologies, as illustrated in the list of previous course offerings. Students regularly supplement their coursework in English, with related courses in departments such as anthropology, classics, computer science, education, linguistics, philosophy, and speech communication.

In any given year, about 15 graduate students are pursuing degrees in the specialization. As illustrated by the profiles of previous students, students in Rhetoric and Writing write dissertations that

  • use a variety of methods (discourse analysis, field research, quantitative analysis, and textual analysis)

  • examine civic, pedagogical, professional, and political topics

  • investigate these topics from the perspectives of history, theory, and practice.

Students gain experience in planning and administering writing programs by teaching writing courses for the Department of Rhetoric and Writing (DRW) and as serving as consultants in the University Writing Center (UWC). Students with an interest in digital rhetorics teach in state-of-the-art networked-computer classrooms belonging to the Digital Writing and Research Lab (DWRL). Students may also apply to serve as assistant directors (ADs) of each of these units.

The Rhetoric concentration is closely associated with the concentration in Digital Literacies and Literatures (DLL). Students in both concentrations may focus their teaching and research in the DWRL, which has a long history of innovative research and development. The graduate students staffing the DWRL are introduced to lively conversations trending in the digital humanities and get hands-on training in a wide array of digital resources, including A/V equipment, multimedia software appropriate to the rhetoric classroom, content management systems, online pedagogical resources, and other digital tools.

The Rhetoric and Writing concentration has an excellent placement history. Our alumni are among the leaders of the discipline, deeply involved in scholarship, innovative teaching, and national policies on writing instruction.

Faculty

  • Boyle, Casey

  • Charney, Davida

  • Davis, Diane

  • Diab, Rasha

  • Faigley, Lester

  • Ferreira-Buckley, Linda

  • Henkel, Jacqueline M.

  • Longaker, Mark

  • Rebhorn, Wayne A.

  • Roberts-Miller, Trish

  • Ruszkiewicz, John J.

  • Spinuzzi, Clay

  • Walker, Jeffrey

  • Woods, Marjorie Curry


To view the faculty profiles, please visit the
Rhetoric faculty listing

Digital Literacies and Literatures

Over the past few decades, digital technologies have reconfigured the possibilities for making, exploring, changing, and sharing the world. To be functionally literate in this age of constant updates and always on media, one must be able to do more than read the morning paper and write a letter to a state representative; one must be able to manage and synthesize multiple streams of multimodal information as well as find, produce, analyze, evaluate, and share information in various digital formats. While these demands require most citizens to keep up a continuous literacy practice, those perusing academic professions are compelled to double their efforts to productively contribute in an ever-changing media landscape.

In the Digital Literacies and Literatures concentration, students develop, research, and teach these twenty-first century literacies in practical, pedagogical, historical, and theoretical contexts, continually assessing the impact of the technologies they're using on the construction of their objects of study and the field of inquiry itself. Recent courses offered in this concentration have covered topics such as spatial rhetorics & locative media, networked writing, digital humanities, accessible rhetorics, extrahuman rhetorical relations, text ecologies, and performative rhetorics.

Recent and current dissertation projects in the DLL concentration focus on fan fiction and networked writing; networked hospitality; writing ecologies of food rhetorics; subjectivity and trigger warnings; irony and online education; online humor; networked subjectivity; parasitic digital communication; online shaming culture; and media archeology and forgetting.

In addition to fostering rich research environment, the DLL program affords students several opportunities to teach in state-of-the-art networked-computer classrooms and help staff the Digital Writing and Research Lab (DWRL). In the DWRL, students join lively conversations trending in the digital humanities and get hands-on training with a wide array of digital resources, including A/V equipment, multimedia software, content management systems, online pedagogical resources, and other digital tools for 21st academic research and pedagogy.

The placement record for DLL graduates is high. Recent graduates have gained Tenure-Track positions, for example, at Penn State, Texas Tech, Wayne State, Rutgers-Camden, UT-Rio Grand, St. Bonaventure, James Madison, West Virginia, Christopher Newport, Ohio University, UT-Tyler, Clemson University, and Middle Tennessee State University.

Faculty

  • Boyle, Casey
  • Charney, Davida
  • Davis, Diane
  • Faigley, Lester
  • Hinrichs, Lars
  • Spinuzzi, Clay

To view the faculty profiles, please visit the Digital Literarcies and Literatures faculty listing. Graduate students and faculty who are preparing for a field exam, please visit the Digital Literacies and Literatures Field Exam reading