Jul 03, 2020  
2020-2021 General Catalog (Year Under Revision) 
2020-2021 General Catalog (Year Under Revision)

Technical Communication and Rhetoric - PhD

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College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of English

The Program

The Technical Communications and Rhetoric (TCR) doctoral program defines technical communication as communication that facilitates action in the world. Facilitating action requires that communication be effective and persuasive - or intentionally rhetorical. Our program is known for addressing issues of social justice, community engagement, diversity, and service learning--issues that can be explored with partners from a variety of fields and backgrounds. Our students have opportunities to craft and pursue their own field-specific research agendas and to gain teaching experience as the instructors of record for a range of undergraduate courses in technical communication.

The Faculty

In the English department, doctoral students work alongside winners of prestigious national awards, experienced journal editors, and field leaders. The core faculty in TCR are experts in areas such as rhetorical theory, genre theory, online education, technology, editing, social justice, and qualitative methods. Our faculty's research interests include topics such as the effects of technologies on ethical behaviors and social justice, technical communication in humanitarian organizations, emergent technologies and human agency in gaming culture, and rhetorics of silence and spaces. 

The Facilities

TCR students have the opportunity to work in well-equipped, up-to-date facilities. Merrill-Cazier Library houses the latest in information technology and serves as the intellectual center of campus. Within the English department, there is a two-lab learning suite with industry-standard software; desktop, laptop, and tablet computers; smartboard technology; and other digital tools and equipment for use by our students, instructors, and researchers. The teaching lab offers a state-of-the-art environment for instruction, while the open lab is available to facilitate the production of communication using text, graphics, sound, and still and moving images.

Curriculum Overview

Students in the TCR program must complete a minimum of 60 approved semester credits beyond their master's degree. (Coursework used to fulfill the requirements of a master's degree may not be used to fulfill the requirements for this PhD program.) In addition to the minimum 60 credits of coursework, students must take Responsible Conduct of Research training, a brief online training on ethical conduct in research that the university requires of all PhD students. 

Division of Classes

Students select appropriate courses from the following seven categories (A-G) to develop their programs of study.

C. Technology and Design (9 credits required)

D. Pedagogy Courses (9 credits required)

E. English Cognate (3 credits required)

3-credit 6000-level course in English outside of Technical Communication and Rhetoric (i.e., ENGL designation not listed in A-D or G, such as Creative Writing, Literature, or Folklore)

F. External Cognate Area (3 credits required)

3-credit course at the 6000 or 7000 level in a department outside English (course selection requires supervisory committee approval)

G. Dissertation (18 credits required)

  • 1-12 (must pass comprehensive exam and successfully defend dissertation proposal before registering for ENGL 7970 )
  • Note: With dissertation committee chair approval, a 3-credit elective may substitute for 3 credits of ENGL 7970 .

Length of Program

From the date of matriculation (i.e., from the time a student is accepted into the program), the USU School of Graduate Studies allows students eight years to finish their doctoral degree, but this program is designed to be completed in four years. Coursework that is more than eight years old may not be used for a graduate degree.

Residency Requirements

PhD students will establish residency in their first year. They must remain in residence at least until achieving doctoral candidacy (ABD) and be engaged as active members of the USU academic community. Please note that students must be Utah residents to maintain their GI-ship.

Summer Credit Workshops and Master's (6000-level) Courses

Doctoral students may take one-week summer credit workshops at the master's (6000) level. Credits taken at the 6000 level will not count towards the program's 60-hour minimum requirement for doctoral-level work. However, with the approval of their supervisory committees, students may take 6000-level courses beyond the 60-hour minimum in order to fulfill credit requirements in categories B–F above. For example, 3 credits of ENGL 6820  will not count towards a student's 60-credit minimum of doctoral-level work, but those credits may be counted towards meeting the required 6 credits of coursework in the pedagogy category of the curriculum.

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