PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, & Professional Communication
Combine theory and the practice of effective communication with a PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication
Are you a recent graduate looking for a career as a scholar and teacher specializing in persuasive writing and effective communication? Are you a working professional with experience teaching writing or communicating technically with a wide variety of audiences? If so, earning a PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication from East Carolina University will help you master advanced skills and knowledge in professional communication, composition, and rhetoric to prepare for a rewarding career in academia.
Our PhD program in professional communication, rhetoric, and writing studies is ranked among the top composition and rhetoric PhD programs in the country, thanks to the expertise that our faculty bring into the classroom and the many successes of our graduates throughout the nation.
What is a PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional Communication?
You might be wondering what professional communication, composition, and rhetoric studies entails. Simply put, when you study rhetoric, writing, and professional communication, you learn about the theories and tools to better understand messages, audiences, contexts, and organizations. You then apply this understanding to develop or improve the theories and practice of rhetoric, writing, and professional communication.
Why earn a PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication at ECU?
When you join the doctoral writing and rhetoric studies program at ECU, you become a vital member of one of the best PhD programs in writing studies in the country. You will also surround yourself with world-class faculty and engaged peers who will help you achieve more every day.
At the core of our professional communication, composition, and rhetoric PhD program is our commitment to professional development. That’s why you’ll enjoy three semester hours dedicated solely to professional development—including a structured jobs group to help you prepare for and navigate the academic job market.
With the small classes and interactive courses in our professional communication, writing, and rhetoric studies program, you’ll have many opportunities to work closely alongside professors who are leading researchers and scholars in their respective fields. Their research interests speak to the interdisciplinarity of the program: From technical communication to social justice, our faculty mentors’ expertise help make us one of the best PhD programs in rhetoric studies in the nation.
By the time you graduate with your rhetoric, writing, and professional communication PhD, you’ll have a journal-ready article or bibliographic essay as well as a full dissertation that you can then turn into a publishable manuscript. You can also gain experience teaching through our valuable teaching assistantships. With at least one past publication and a dissertation written under the mentorship of our faculty, you’ll be among top competitors for faculty jobs in rhetoric and writing around the world.
Courses you will take in the PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication program
We are among the best rhetoric writing, and professional communication PhD programs in the U.S. for many reasons, including our engaging and diverse courses.
When you join the rhetoric, writing, and professional communication PhD program at ECU, you’ll enjoy courses that engage a broad range of important topics, including critical race theory, social justice, and gender equity approaches to rhetoric and writing studies.
Some of the courses that help make us one of the top PhD programs for writing and rhetoric studies in the country include:
- ENGL 7780 – Theory of Professional Communication
- NGL 8600 – Seminar in Writing Studies and Pedagogy
- ENGL 8630 – Seminar in Community and Cultural Rhetorics
- ENGL 8615 – Seminar in Rhetorical Theory
Hear from our PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication program students
“Teaching in this program has been the most enjoyable and fulfilling thing I’ve done since I’ve been at ECU or before. I’ve always wanted to teach, and this experience showed me I had a chance to do it on a level I had never really considered for myself.”
– Zac Singletary, PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication, 2024
What can you do with your PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication?
You may be wondering how earning a PhD in professional communication, composition, and rhetoric can help you find a rewarding career. At ECU, the expertise and experience you’ll gain in rhetoric and writing studies will make you an impressive candidate for tenure-track positions in colleges and universities around the nation.
You’ll have the opportunity to gain teaching experience that will prepare you to design and run your own classes even before graduation.
Master the skills to teach and inspire others
As one of the best PhD programs in professional communication, writing, and rhetoric studies in the nation, our graduates leave with the expertise to be exceptional scholars, teachers, and leaders.
The professional development you work on in classes will help you in job interviews, at conferences, and when you stand up in front of a class every day.
Where are PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication graduates working?
Thanks to their teaching and research experience, our rhetoric studies graduates find tenure-track positions at many prestigious colleges and universities around the globe, including University of Maryland, Syracuse University, Missouri Science and Technology, University of Rhode Island, and Rochester Institute of Technology. In fact, about half of our rhetoric, writing and professional communication phd graduates are employed in tenure-track positions.
Get started on your rhetoric, writing, and communication PhD degree
Take the next step toward joining one of the most respected rhetoric and writing studies PhD programs in the nation. Still wondering how a PhD in professional communication, composition, and rhetoric can help you find a great career? We have the resources to answer all your questions and help you get started.
Degree programs related to our PhD in rhetoric, writing, and professional communication
If you’re considering joining our rhetoric, writing, and professional communication PhD program, you may also be interested in learning more about these similar programs.
- Ethnic Studies
- Gender Studies
- Multicultural and Transnational Literatures Graduate Certificate
- Professional Communication Graduate Certificate
- Teaching English in the Two-Year College Graduate Certificate
Accreditation for East Carolina University
When you join the rhetoric, writing, and professional communication PhD program at ECU, you’ll enjoy an educational experience that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This means that the degree you earn will be nationally recognized for meeting the high standards for excellence set by SACSCOC.