Texas Tech University

PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric

Purpose of Degree Program

The PhD qualifies people to conduct independent research by various methods and thus to contribute to knowledge. The PhD is usually a qualification for a professorial position in a university. The aims of study are broad knowledge of the literature on technical communication and rhetoric, specialized knowledge of some aspect of technical communication or rhetoric as reflected in the dissertation research, and ability to conduct ongoing independent research using one or more methods.

The PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric (TCR) is designed for students with an interest in rhetoric, writing, technical communication, and composition. The degree in TCR requires 45 hours of graduate work in rhetoric and technical communication beyond the bachelor's degree. An additional 15 hours may be used for a minor in a related field. Credits earned on a master's degree count toward these totals. This degree prepares students for positions in a wide range of college and university writing programs. This degree program requires courses in qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The program emphasizes five broad areas of scholarship in its scholarship, coursework, and initiatives:

  1. Rhetoric, Composition, and Technology,
  2. Technical Communication,
  3. Rhetorics of Science and Healthcare,
  4. Technology, Culture, and Rhetoric
  5. Visual Rhetoric, New Media, and User-Centered Design

Use these guidelines to determine requirements and to monitor your progress through the program. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies in TCR or your advisory committee when you have questions. Students seeking the PhD at Texas Tech University must also follow the guidelines in the Catalog of the Graduate School.


Please see the course requirements page.


Upon completing the PhD-TCR curriculum successfully, students should be able to do the following:

  • Employ appropriate research methodologies to produce scholarship that extends knowledge in the disciplines of technical communication and rhetoric.
  • Analyze technical communication situations and documents from a variety of theoretical and rhetorical perspectives.
  • Participate effectively in appropriate scholarly and professional organizations.
  • Prepare scholarship for presentation and publication.

Please visit our program's list of completed degrees, dissertation topics, committees and abstracts


Students' success in meeting the outcomes stated above will be measured through:

  • Annual review by a committee of graduate faculty assembled by the candidate and the Director of Graduate Studies in Technical Communication and Rhetoric
  • A qualification examination and a dissertation, both to be evaluated by a committee of graduate faculty assembled by the candidate and the Director of Graduate Studies in Technical Communication and Rhetoric.

Online Program

Texas Tech is proud to offer its PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric via distance education. The degree is identical to the one we have offered on-site since 1992; all degree, coursework, and exam procedures are identical to the on-site degree.

For more information, please contactDr. Craig Baehr, Director of Graduate Studies for Technical Communication and Rhetoric

Frequently Asked Questions about the Online PhD

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PhD Program Info

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Graduate Fellowships for 2019-20

  • TCR Deadline: Apply by January 15, 2019 for Fall 2019 Admission.
  • Fall 2018 is CLOSED.
  • See our Graduate Fellowships page for complete details.
  • For more information, contact Dr. Craig Baehr, Director of Graduate Studies in Technical Communication and Rhetoric (TCR)

TCR Grad Application Info

  • Learn how to apply
  • What to expect after admission

    The TCR graduate program reviews applications ONLY once a year for Fall admission. The Graduate School's application portal WebAdmit/Liaison opens in August. All of your materials must be submitted by January 15. This means you should open your application in the system and begin uploading documents BEFORE the deadline. Do not wait to take the GRE in January because your scores will not be available before the cut off date. Do not send any application materials to the department, we cannot process them. Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to submit materials. The Graduate School needs time to process all of your submissions and you do not want your application to be delayed.