2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 14, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Composition and Cultural Rhetoric, PhD

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Stephen Parks
239 H.B. Crouse Hall


Lois Agnew, Patrick W. Berry, Collin G. Brooke, Kevin Browne, Margaret Himley, Krista Kennedy, Rebecca Moore Howard, Brice Nordquist, Stephen Parks, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Eileen E. Schell, Tony Scott

This program offers a doctoral degree in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric (CCR) situated in the Writing Program, a departmental unit devoted entirely to writing and rhetoric. Its nationally known undergraduate teaching program provides a laboratory for research and innovation. The independence of the CCR program allows focused study of the pedagogy and cultural practices of written language, yet facilitates multidisciplinary study and integrations. In addition to a core faculty and closely associated faculty affiliates, faculty consultants in other disciplines facilitate and advise on students’ interdisciplinary studies, a required element of the program.

The goal of the program is to prepare students for careers blending scholarship, teaching, administration, and consulting on writing and rhetoric in academic, workplace, and community settings. Intellectual themes of the program include studying composition and rhetoric emphasizing social practices of literacy, rhetoric, and writing instruction; and conceiving written language as culturally and historically specific. Students are encouraged to develop disciplinary and interdisciplinary specializations such as writing program administration; cross-cultural literacy studies; professional, technical, and electronic communication; rhetorical history; or feminist studies.


The program admits a class of four to six full-time students a year. Applicants should have satisfactorily completed a master’s degree in a language-related or cognate discipline (counted as 30 credits) and demonstrated a strong commitment and talent in rhetoric and composition. In making decisions about admissions, the faculty considers an applicant’s academic record, career plans and scholarly interests, GRE scores, a scholarly writing sample, and letters of recommendation. Prior teaching experience or practice in communication fields is desirable.

In addition to completing the regular application for graduate study, CCR applicants must submit an essay on their intellectual history and academic interests, as well as a statement on teaching interests and practical experience. Detailed instructions for tailoring the application to the CCR program may be obtained from the Graduate Coordinator, Writing Program, 239 H.B. Crouse Hall, Syracuse NY 13244-1160, 315-443-5146; or from the program’s web site, ccr.syr.edu.

Degree Requirements

To earn the Ph.D., a student must complete a minimum of 45 credits beyond the master’s degree (counted as 30 credits), for a total of 75 required credits. Of these, 36 credits are in required and elective courses. The program is designed to be completed in 4 years. Required credits are distributed as follows:

18 credits in a required core
18 credits (minimum) in electives, 9 of which must be taken in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric
3 credits in doctoral readings (in preparation for qualifying examinations)
6-18 credits of dissertation

Students who enter with a master’s degree in rhetoric and composition or have satisfactorily completed graduate courses in appropriate areas of study at Syracuse University or at other institutions may apply up to 12 previously earned credits to course requirements, based on a careful evaluation of their transcripts.

All students complete all required coursework and pass the qualifying exams. (See ccr.syr.edu.) Students must complete a written dissertation that is a book-length work of scholarship and defend it viva voce.

Graduate Awards

Students are eligible to apply for the following awards (figures for graduate appointments represent 2011-2012 stipends). It is anticipated that all recipients who remain in good standing will continue to receive some form of financial support for up to four years of graduate study.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships:

Offered to approximately four new students each year; nine months; no more than an average of 20 hours of work per week; includes a stipend of approximately $16,0500, tuition scholarship for 12 credits for the fall and spring semester, and 6 credits in the summer. Teaching assistants, appointed by the Writing Program, have full responsibility for 3 sections of writing instruction a year, are expected to attend regular staff meetings and professional development workshops. There is also an ongoing mentorship review of each teaching assistant’s performance as a teacher.

Summer Teaching:

One section offered to some graduate students based on teaching record and availability.

Additional Information

For further details, contact the director or graduate coordinator, or visit the Composition and Cultural Rhetoric web site, ccr.syr.edu.

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