Graduate Study in Rhetoric and Composition

The Departments of English invites Ph.D. applicants interested in Rhetoric and Composition, including histories and theories of rhetoric, writing studies, new media, global Englishes, and rhetorics of social difference. A common ground for graduate students in English is the teaching of composition. In preparation, students take a seminar in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Composition then teach first-year students in a range of writing and reading courses. After comprehensive exams, students may propose courses in advanced writing, work in the writing center, or apply for administrative work in the office of the Campus Writing Coordinator (CWC). Our students benefit from connections with UCI's cross-disciplinary programs such as Visual Studies, the Graduate Feminist Emphasis, and the Critical Theory Emphasis, as well as interdisciplinary departments such as African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

The Composition Program provides substantial funds to support graduate student presentations at professional conferences. Graduate students regularly present papers individually and collaboratively at CCCC, RSA, and other national and regional conferences. Numerous collaborative writing studies have originated at UCI. Both the Composition Program and the office of the CWC offer opportunities for writing research.

UCI provides an intellectually exciting atmosphere, featuring visiting lectures from internationally known scholars in the humanities, and informal reading and writing groups. We have recently offered colloquia on comparative rhetorics, longitudinal writing studies, and writing and technology.

Recent Graduate Seminars

  • Ancient Greek Rhetoric
  • 19-century American Rhetoric and Religion
  • Public Sphere Theory
  • 21st-century Composition Studies
  • World Englishes
  • Rhetoric, Empire, and Public Memory
  • Composing the Avant-garde
  • Subject, Event, Theology
  • Composing Virtuality
  • Rhetoric of Cognition
  • Affect Criticism

Recent Dissertation Topics

  • Elaina Taylor, "Reading, Writing, Lyric, Queerness: Alternative Epistemologies for Twenty-first Century Composition Pedagogy"
  • Katherine Mack, “A Generative Failure: The Public Hearings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission”
  • Alexandra Sartor, “Written in Water: The Rhetorical Protests of the Owens Valley Water Wars” 
  • Paul Dahlgren, “Genteel Community:  Rhetoric, Poetics, Political Theology, and the Phi Beta Kappa Ceremony at Harvard (1782-1876)”
  • I-Lien Tsay, “‘No Animals Were Harmed’:  The Rhetoric of the Animal Actor and Animal Rights”
  • Loren Eason, “Figments under Fire:  Identity and the Transmedial Rhetoric of Combat in Film and Military Shooter Games”
  • Abraham Romney, “Latin American Rhetoric:  From Civilization to Modernity”
  • Libby Catchings, “Composing (In)Commensurable Publics: Dual Sponsorship and Askesis in the Writings of Detained Youth”
  • Lance Langdon, “Feeling Engaged: College Writers as Literacy Tutors”

For more information, contact core faculty:

Jonathan Alexander, (Writing Studies; Composition/Rhetoric; New Media Studies; Sexuality Studies)
Daniel M. Gross, (Histories and Theories of Rhetoric; Early Modern literature and Culture; Heidegger and Rhetoric)
Susan C. Jarratt, Emerita, (Ancient Rhetorics; Contemporary Rhetorical Theory; Feminism and Rhetorical Analysis; Writing Studies)
Steven Mailloux, Emeritus, at Loyola Marymount University) (History and Theories of Rhetoric; Contemporary Critical Theory; U.S. Cultural Studies)
Jerry Won Lee (Nationalism/National Identity; Global Englishes; Language Ideologies; Cultural Politics of Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language; Multilingual Writing; Comparative/Global Rhetoric)
Brad Queen (Writing Studies; Composition/Rhetoric; Writing Assessment, Theory & Practice; American Legal History & American Studies)

Detailed information about the programs and application processes are available on the English department websites.