PhD in English-Rhetoric, Writing, & Culture


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

The Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture program provides students with employable skills in the area of professional and technical communication. This innovative and regionally unique program invites students to work at the intersection of rhetorical, textual, and cultural studies.


100% of the graduates from this program find employment in their field. Our graduates may pursue careers as:

  • professors in universities or colleges
  • training and development specialists, user-experience experts, and human-computer interaction specialists in the industry
  • technical, scientific, or professional writers and editors in research and development organizations, high-tech companies, non-profit organizations, or government agencies

Hands-on experience is essential to our program. The Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture Ph.D. requires six credits of experiential learning. Students can work with professors or mentors in disciplinary writing. Others opt to intern for non-profits or local industries.

NDSU offers opportunities for students in the Ph.D. program to teach discipline-specific writing, such as:

  • Writing in the sciences
  • Writing for engineers
  • Writing in business and finance

Meet our Ph.D. instructors

Admission Requirements

To be admitted with full status to the program, the applicant must fulfill all of the requirements set out below.

  • In most cases, applicants are expected to have completed a Master of Arts or Science, but exceptional candidates may be admitted directly out of the Bachelor's degree
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Conditional admission may be granted to students who do not meet all requirements for admission or have deficiencies in prerequisite course work but demonstrate the potential for graduate study. 

In addition to the Graduate School required materials, applications must include:

  • An academic writing sample, not to exceed 20 pages, that reflects the student's academic or professional interests and that demonstrates the student's critical and analytical abilities
  • A statement of purpose that includes the following:
    • the coursework you plan to complete in the program
    • faculty members with whom you wish to study
    • the research you plan to pursue
    • a sense of what you hope to do once you have completed a Ph.D. degree in English
    • how your education and/or life experience have prepared you for graduate work
  • a letter stating your interest in and qualifications for a teaching assistantship.

Financial Assistance

Teaching assistantships are available and awarded based on the applicant's scholastic record and letters of recommendation. 

Teaching assistantships are reviewed and renewed annually based on academic and professional performance, as well as funding. The annual stipend is $14,000, which includes a tuition waiver for the duration of the degree program.


Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program requires 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree and a minimum of 60 graduate credits taken beyond the M.A. and at NDSU.

  • Students with a master’s degree in another discipline may be required to complete additional graduate course work in specific areas of English, as specified by their adviser and supervisory committee.
  • No more than 10 credits may be transferred into the program.
Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

NDSU is a student-focused, land-grant, research university with a graduate student population of about 2,000 across 75+ programs. Our students work with world-class faculty on innovative, and often in ... Read More

NDSU is a student-focused, land-grant, research university with a graduate student population of about 2,000 across 75+ programs. Our students work with world-class faculty on innovative, and often interdisciplinary, research. Additionally, our students have access to professional development opportunities, and events such as Three Minute Thesis. Our low tuition costs make NDSU a bargain, and our career outcomes are excellent. We are located in Fargo, ND – a Midwestern “hidden gem,” and a welcoming and vibrant community of about 230,000 with a unique rural-urban feel. We have a bustling entrepreneurial atmosphere; rich culture; great local fare, arts, and entertainment; and family friendly environment. Read less