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Rhetoric & Composition

The Department of English offers students the opportunity to pursue studies in Rhetoric and Composition at the undergraduate, Master's and Doctoral levels. We emphasize a broad knowledge of the field—its history, trends, methods, issues, and themes—while we encourage and assist students in developing focused, timely research projects.

Our program has special strengths in genre and language theory, style, public discourses, and writing pedagogy. All of our students have considerable flexibility in developing their own course of study, and faculty work closely with students in their scholarly and professional development. Doctoral graduates of our program have gained positions at a wide range of institutions, from small liberal arts colleges to major research universities. We also offer a new undergraduate emphasis in Language, Rhetoric, and Writing within our existing English major.

Explore our site and please feel free to contact Amy Devitt or Frank Farmer for further information.


Undergraduate Emphasis in Language, Rhetoric, and Writing

English majors may choose to concentrate their work in the study of the English language or rhetoric and composition, and they may include several courses in advanced or technical writing.

Degree Requirements

30 Hours total (33 for Honors); 2.0 GPA or higher in major required to graduate. Information about admission to the major can be found here.

Course descriptions for individual semesters, including equivalency and other course fulfillment information, can be found here.

Required: ENGL 308, plus 4 of the 5 remaining core courses

ENGL 308 or equivalent
      Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory (or an equivalent course       that emphasizes literary-critical methodology). Students are urged to       take English 308 before they enroll in a 500-level literature class.

ENGL 312 or equivalent
      (Major British Writers to 1800) OR any other English course numbered       300 and above which focuses on British literature of at least one of the       literary periods from the Middle Ages to 1800, excluding       Shakespeare—(3 hours).

ENGL 314 or equivalent
      (Major British Writers after 1800) OR any other English course       numbered 300 and above which focuses on British literature of at least       one of the literary periods from the Romantic Period to the present—(3       hours).

Shakespeare
      A course in Shakespeare (ENGL 332 or 525)—(3 hours).

ENGL 320 or equivalent
      (American Literature I) OR any other English course numbered 300       and above which focuses on American Literature of at least one of the       literary periods from Colonial times to 1865—(3 hours).

ENGL 322 or equivalent
      (American Literature II) OR any other English course numbered 300       and above which focuses on American Literature of at least one of the       literary periods from 1865 to the present—(3 hours).

15 hours: Language, rhetoric, and writing courses :
      Required: English 380 (Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition) or       English 387 (Introduction to the English Language).

      At least 6 additional hours of language and rhetoric courses (English       359, 380, 385, 387, 400, 580, 587, 590 with appropriate topic, or their       equivalents).

      Students may take all 15 hrs (5 courses) in language and rhetoric (as       above), or they may include up to 6 hrs (2 courses) of writing courses.       Appropriate writing courses include English 360, 361, 362, 562, 563,       564, and no more than 3 hrs in creative writing courses.

      ENGL 495 (Directed Study), 496 (Internship), 498 (Honors       Proseminar), and ENGL 499 (Honors Essay), if done with a language,       rhetoric, and writing emphasis, may be applied toward these language,       rhetoric, and writing courses.





MA Option II Rhetoric and Composition

Graduate students may choose Option II in the English MA to combine their study of literature with the study of rhetoric and composition.

Degree Requirements

  • A total of 30 hours in English courses carrying graduate credit. No more than 6 hours may be taken at the 600 level. At least 6 hours must be taken at the 900 or seminar level. Exam option students will take 9 conventional courses (27 hours), plus 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) or another elective course. Thesis option students will take 8 conventional courses (24 hours), plus 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours).

  • 3 hours (1 course) on Methods or Theory appropriate to different areas of focus in Rhetoric and Composition, ordinarily 780 (Composition Studies), or another course appropriately designated by the Graduate Director. A 998 (Directed Reading) directly focused on questions of methods and theory can fulfill this requirement if approved by the Graduate Director.

  • 3 hours (1 course) on Pedagogy: the 801-802 sequence (required for TAs), 780, or other appropriate course as approved by the Graduate Director.

  • 18 (6 courses with thesis option) or 21 (7 courses with exam option) distribution hours (6 courses) to be selected in consultation with advisors (Graduate Director during first year and thereafter advisors with whom students plan to move toward exam or thesis options). At least 6 hours in Rhetoric and Composition courses (including at least one seminar) beyond the courses used to fulfill requirements 2 (Methods and Theory) and 3 (Pedagogy).

  • 6 hours of elective courses

  • For students selecting the exam option, 6 hours in second exam area (rhetoric and composition specialty, English language studies, literature, literary theory), including at least one seminar

  • Two courses (6 hours) outside the department may be included in the 18 distribution hours with approval of the Graduate Director.

  • Exam option (3 hours): The student will generally enroll in 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) and must pass a 90-minute oral exam based on two lists developed in consultation with advisors:  a) a 15-item exam list of works in rhetoric and composition, and b) a 15-item exam list of works in a second area: literature, literary theory, English Language Studies, or specialty within rhetoric and composition. The student may opt to enroll in one additional 3-hour elective course instead of ENGL 897.

  • Thesis Option (6 hours): The student must enroll in 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours) over 2 semesters of thesis work: (1) a first semester of work with the thesis director leading to polished proposal with a bibliography; and (2) a thesis semester of writing leading to defense of finished thesis.

For information regarding the foreign language or research skill requirements, MA thesis, and final oral examination, see the English Department's Graduate Handbook.





PhD with Emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition

Graduate students may elect the traditional PhD in English after their MA degree. The emphasis in rhetoric and composition allows a distinct comprehensive examination as well as coursework and dissertation work that emphasize topics within rhetoric and composition.

Degree Requirements

  1. At least 24 hours of credit in appropriate formal graduate courses beyond the M.A. At least 15 hours (in addition to 800 if not taken for the M.A.) of this course work must be taken from among courses offered by the Department of English at the 700-level and above. English 997 and 999 credits cannot be included among the 24 hours. Students may petition to take up to 6 hours outside the Department.

  2. An introduction to the field: either English 800 Methods, Theory, and Professionalism or English 780 Composition Studies.

  3. Two seminars (courses numbered 900 or above) offered by the Department of English at the University of Kansas, beyond the M.A. or M.F.A., at least one of which should be in Rhetoric and Composition.

  4. English 999, Dissertation (normally at least 12 hours).

Students with M.A.s earned at an institution other than K.U. may be required by the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, acting on behalf of the Graduate Committee, to take additional course work.

Note on English 998: A student wishing to enroll in English 998 (Investigation and Conference) must secure the prior approval of the graduate faculty member with whom he or she intends to work and the approval of the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, who will indicate that approval by countersigning the graduate adviser's signature on the enrollment card.


Additional Requirements for Ph.D. Degree


  • A reading knowledge of one approved foreign language and completion of the college Responsible Scholarship and Research Skill requirement.
  • At least one year of supervised quarter-time teaching.
  • At least two semesters spent in resident study.
  • Comprehensive examination.
  • Dissertation Proposal Review.
  • Doctoral dissertation and defense.

Please consult with your advisor to confirm requirements for degree

    For information regarding the foreign language or research skill requirements, MA thesis, and final oral examination, see the English Department's Graduate Handbook.

 





PhD (5 yr) from BA in Rhetoric and Composition

Graduate students may choose to complete a PhD in rhetoric and composition without stopping for an MA degree. This program focuses the required hours of coursework on the student’s particular interests; eliminates the MA examination, thesis, and degree; and can be completed in five years while holding a position as Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Degree Requirements

  1. At least 36 hours of credit in appropriate formal graduate courses beyond the B.A. At least 30 hours of this course work must be taken from among courses offered at the 700-level and above. English 997 and 999 credits cannot be included among the 36 hours.

  2. Students in this specialization may take up to 12 hours outside the Department without petition, with written approval by the students’ graduate advisors. Students may petition to take more hours outside the Department, with the approval of their graduate advisors, and provided they can demonstrate how the courses fit within their programs of study.

  3. An introduction to the field: either English 800 Methods, Theory, and Professionalism or English 780 Composition Studies.

  4. At least 3 seminars (numbered 900 or above) offered by the Department of English at the University of Kansas, at least two of which should be in Rhetoric and Composition.

  5. English 999, Dissertation (at least 12 hours).

Note on ENGL 998: A student wishing to enroll in English 998 (Investigation and Conference) must secure the prior approval of the graduate faculty member with whom he or she intends to work and the approval of the Graduate Director. Six hours of English 998 may be counted toward the 36-hour course credit required.

Note on the M.A. degree: This 5-year program is designed for students who wish to pursue the Ph.D. degree without an intermediary M.A. degree. Students who decide not to pursue the Ph.D. after at least 30 hours of coursework may elect to stop at a Master of Arts degree by successfully passing the Department’s Option II Final Oral Examination.

 

Additional Requirements for Ph.D. Degree

  • At least one year of supervised quarter-time teaching.
  • At least two semesters spent in resident study.
  • Comprehensive examination.
  • Dissertation Proposal Review.
  • Doctoral dissertation and defense.
Please consult with your advisor to confirm requirements for degree


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