2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Composition and Cultural Rhetoric, PhD

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences


Eileen E. Schell
239 H.B. Crouse Hall


Lois Agnew, Patrick W. Berry, Collin G. Brooke,Leonard Grant, Krista Kennedy, Rebecca Moore Howard, Aja Martinez, Brice Nordquist, Stephen Parks, 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 department 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:

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 2017-2018 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 $18,000.00, tuition scholarship for 9 credits for the fall and spring semester, and 6 credits in the summer. Teaching assistants, appointed by the department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition 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.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Engage with and undertake reading, research, and scholarly writing in rhetoric, composition, and writing studies, becoming familiar with and fluent in the major terms, debates, theories, methods/methodologies, genres, and histories of the field

2. Engage with and undertake reading, research, and writing that allows them to explore additional areas in the field that fall outside the core courses, including elective courses offered by the department and electives in other disciplines

3. Demonstrate their understanding of core texts in the field through a two-part written exam that takes place over two weeks; b) research and write a potentially publishable scholarly essay about an area of the field in which they have a specific interest/research question; c) work through and provide an annotated bibliography on a core set of readings that will prepare them to undertake their dissertation prospectuses and projects

4. Research and write a book-length project that makes an original contribution to scholarship in the field

5. Develop and improve as teachers and writing consultants who offer challenging college-level writing courses/consulting sessions, informed by the latest theories of writing pedagogy and writing center theory

6. Develop as professionals and acquire and practice skills and strategies that will prepare them for their future careers as faculty members

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences