Texas Tech University

PhD TCR Requirements

The PhD requires at least 60 hours of graduate courses beyond the bachelor's degree and at least 12 hours of English 8000 (Doctor's Dissertation). The course requirements include 45 hours in technical communication and rhetoric (TCR) and 15 hours for the minor. These hours may include hours earned for the master's degree if the credits earned are eligible for transfer. 

The minor is optional but provides an opportunity to develop expertise in a subject that complements TCR. In addition, students must demonstrate proficiency in research methodology. Students with minimal prior coursework or experience in technical communication and rhetoric may be advised to complete undergraduate leveling courses or additional graduate courses.

Pre-qualifying exam (7000) hours are offered to students to maintain continuous enrollment in the program when they are finished with coursework and are preparing for qualifying exams. Only 8000 hours fulfill the 12.0 credits of dissertation research beyond coursework required by the Graduate School.

Required courses

4 courses, 12 hours

Pedagogy (one or both)

  • 5360 History and Theory of College Composition
  • 5366  Teaching Technical and Professional Writing


  • 5363 Research Methods in Technical Communication and Rhetoric

Rhetoric (one or both)

  • 5364 History of Rhetoric
  • 5361 Introduction to Rhetorical Theory


  • 5371 Foundations of Technical Communication

TCR Specialization Courses

8 courses, 24 hours

  • Include at least 5 theory courses (5361, 5362, 5365 as theory, 5368, 5369, 5377 as theory, 5382, 5384, 5385, 5386)  
  • Include at least 2 courses that emphasize the application of theory (5372, 5373, 5374, 5375, 5376, 5377 as practice, 5387, 5388)
  • Most courses may be repeated for credit when the topic varies.

Interdisciplinary TCR Electives

Up to 3 courses other than English Department TCR courses

Students may complete all of their specialization courses from among those listed above. Or they may choose up to 3 language- or communication-related courses from among other English Department courses in in rhetoric, linguistics, or courses in other departments such as Business, Instructional Technology, Communication Studies, or Mass Communication, when the choices have content closely related to the specialization. Student advisory committees must approve interdisciplinary TCR electives.


5 courses, 15 hours

The minor is optional but offers an opportunity to enhance your ability to do dissertation research or to teach a variety of classes. Students who do not choose a minor complete all of their 60 hours of coursework in technical communication and rhetoric. The minor consists of five courses in a field other than rhetoric and technical communication. The courses may be taken in one department or may be a cluster of courses on related topics from different departments.

The choice of a minor must be approved by the advisory committee and the DGS–TCR as well as by the minor department if the minor is completed in one department. You will need to follow that department's requirements regarding courses and examinations.

Research Methods

Research methods courses enhance a student's ability to complete and to evaluate research. In addition to ENGL 5363, Research Methods in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, students are required to complete nine graduate hours in research methods courses with a grade of B or better in at least two of the three. ENGL 5362, 5379, 5388, and ENGL 5389 may count toward the TCR specialization as well as to methods.