Texas Tech University

Online TCR PhD FAQ

If you don't see answers to questions here, contact the TCR Grad Director

What are the dates of the two-week May Seminar?

  • 2024: TBA
  • 2023: May 18 - 20

What does the degree emphasize?

As with our onsite Ph.D., this program can be tailored to your own studies.  The Texas Tech TCR program is very strong in technology, production, rhetorical theory, rhetorical analysis, rhetoric of science, visual rhetoric, gender studies, and research methods -- and these strengths intersect with what we traditionally think of as studies in Composition, Technical Communication, and Rhetoric. You can read more details about these areas on our Emphasis page.

What the admissions requirements and are they different from those of the onsite doctoral students?

The online doctorate has the same admissions requirements as the onsite Ph.D.  The diploma and transcripts will indicate simply "Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric." Our philosophy is that our online programs should differ ONLY in the delivery means, not in standards and quality.

All online program applicants need to sign and return our distance learning agreement, which indicates that you understand our technology and time requirements. In addition to the onsite PhD application requirements, the online program requires a letter of commitment from your employer, since virtually everyone we plan to admit into the program will be doing their studies and research while working for someone else. This letter of commitment from your employer explicitly acknowledging that class and May workshop attendance is obligatory. This letter must be signed and on company letterhead. Your employer should indicate in this letter that they a) support your efforts to complete the program, b) acknowledge the program will require you to attend online classes one or two weekday evenings during normal semesters, and also to attend mandatory two-week seminars in May of each year, an c) agree to give you the time and space needed to attend classes, seminars, or any other required TCR activities. The idea, of course, is that you and your employer need to be on the same page regarding this lengthy endeavor.

All other application requirements are identical to the on-campus doctoral program.

Do I have to have an MA degree in English?

No. We have no bias against masters degrees from other areas (in fact, we believe it makes the program stronger). If you come into the program from a related field, we will probably be able to credit you for 8-10 courses from the master's degree. If you're coming to us from a discipline that is further afield, that number drops to 3-5 in many cases, thereby requiring you to take more coursework. We cannot accept previous coursework that is older than 7 years. 

What does the program cost?

Texas residents. Since Texas Tech is a state university, Texas residents will receive reduced tuition rates. Typical in-state, one-course doctoral students will pay approximately $1500 for a course.

Non-residents. Typical out-of-state doctoral students will spend approximately $2800 per class, depending on how many classes they take per semester.

Distance Electronic Students. Students who are enrolled fully online will pay the distance electronic rate which is about $1500 per 3 credit hour course. 

May workshop (only for online PhD students). The course fee for the May workshop is approximately $1000. This fee includes lunch for the conference portion of the workshop, keynote speakers and guests, special event dinners, all daily activities, and administrative costs. The fee does not include housing for the two weeks you are in Lubbock or travel expenses.

Note: Attendance at your first five May Workshops is mandatory.

The most recent tuition schedule can be found at the Student Business Services' Tuition and Fees Estimate Grids.

How long will it take for me to receive my doctorate?

Depending on how much relevant graduate work you transfer to Texas Tech, you can be finished with coursework in 2-3 years. In order to accommodate the needs of the online doctoral group, we plan to offer more classes in the summertime, so even if you only take 1 course per long semester, you have the possibility of taking 2 or 3 courses during the summer. We will require all online doctoral students to attend an intensive 2-week session held each May on the Texas Tech campus; this experience gives you daily exposure to ongoing scholarship, as well as steady communication with faculty advisors as you begin to craft (and eventually finish) your dissertation.

After you are finished with coursework, you will take a qualifying exam, usually in the semester after completing coursework. After completing this exam, you will write a dissertation. The typical post-coursework phase of a doctorate takes between 1 and 3 years for our onsite students, depending on the nature of their research.

How many hours do I have to take after completing coursework?

When you have completed your last course and are preparing for qualifying exams, you will enroll at a level of 3 hours of ENGL 7000 in the long semesters. You have one year from the time you have completed coursework to sit your exam.

After you have successfully passed your qualifying exams and have been formally admitted into doctoral candidacy (ABD) by the Graduate Dean, you will register for 3 hours of ENGL 8000 during the long semesters and maintain continuous enrollment via 3 hours of ENGL 8000 in the long summer until the semester of graduation. The number of ENGL 8000 hours required for graduation is at least 12.

What are the program's doctoral residency requirements?

The online program does not require the student to have a conventional period of residency, as is the custom with many other degrees. We work in the world of ideas, of readings, and exchange of ideas. We encourage and develop a context of scholarship and of research through a variety of high-tech means, from web-cam meetings with committee members to frequent textual postings of research topics. A key requirement of participation in the program is attendance in a 2-week May Workshop every year. [View the official residency requirements.]

Workshop attendance is mandatory. 

Do I get course credit for attending the May workshop?

Yes and no. The 2 weeks you're here are treated not as a course, but a workshop/seminar. The daily lab/course activities feed directly into a course that's on Texas Tech's books for the summer. Of course, when you sign up for this summer course, you will have completed 75% of its activities and requirements during the 2-week workshop. In this respect, the answer is yes, you're getting most of a course knocked out in about 2 weeks. What you'll do is take the course for credit, along with another course during the 10-week summer session.

After you're finished with coursework, you will come to Lubbock, but will not have to take any summer-long courses. For this reason, we treat the workshop as something distinct and separate from coursework.

Can the library provide access to materials that are not available online?

In addition to online resources, the library will mail books to you, photocopy materials, and look for books and articles to your specifications.

What is the deadline for submitting an application?

The deadline for Fall semester admission is January 5If you are admitted, you may begin coursework in the following fall. Based on several years of data, we are confident in saying that this program is among the most competitive in the country. Persuasive and convincing admissions materials are going to be critical in the application process. 

Please apply and send all materials here

Who is the faculty? What is their expertise?

The Texas Tech TCR program has 15 tenure-track faculty members. Our faculty has diverse interests, from technology and discourse to ethics in communication, from the rhetoric of science to visual rhetoric, from research methods to teaching methods. Our strategy is to provide deep coverage for core disciplinary issues (writing, style, editing, manuals, reports, rhetorical analysis, rhetorical history) and to offer progressive specialties with at least two faculty members' expertise (rhetoric of science, discourse analysis, industry relations, usability testing, visual rhetoric, cultural criticism, feminist studies).

How are the online courses delivered?

We use several modes of instruction and interaction in delivering our online courses. We use Blackboard for asynchronous discussions, reading responses, group work, and so on. We use Zoom for synchronous meetings (usually once a week in long semesters and twice a week in the summers).

What kind of financial support is possible for me?

The department has a variety of internal scholarships. The department also has historical success at providing doctoral students with university-wide fellowships.

Can I receive travel funds to go to conferences and conduct research?


Visit the Military & Veterans Programs website for more information.

Military & Veterans Programs site

Bernice Flett is the administrator in charge of Hazelwood.

Can I take graduate classes in Lubbock or move to the on-campus program if I want?

Absolutely. You can move to Lubbock any time during your degree with no additional applications or requirements. And yes, you're free to take any Lubbock courses you want--whether for the degree requirements, a minor, electives, or research methods.