Texas Tech University

PhD in Technical Communication & Rhetoric

PhD in Technical Communication & Rhetoric

Our 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 & Rhetoric (TCR) is designed for students with an interest in rhetoric, writing, technical communication, and composition. The degree in TCR requires 48 hours of graduate work in rhetoric and technical communication beyond the bachelor's degree, 12 hours of Qualification Exam research, and an additional 12 hours of Dissertation research for a total of 72 hours. Credits earned on a master's degree may count toward these totals.

The degree prepares students for wide array of positions at colleges, university writing programs, and industry positions. The keystone to our success is our specialized courses in qualitative and quantitative research methods taught by the largest TCR faculty program in the world. 

Areas of Emphasis

Rhetoric, Composition, and Technology

The art, history, and theory of persuasion, argumentation, and expression and how such activities are applied and taught.

Example Courses

  • 5360: History and Theory of Composition. Seminar in history and contemporary theories of composition and rhetoric studies. Required for all new teaching assistants and graduate part-time instructors.
  • 5365: Studies in Composition. Consideration of classical and modern theories and research in written composition.
  • 5067: Methods of Teaching College Composition. Introduces methods of teaching writing through assigned readings, supervised participation in teaching activities, and seminar discussion.
  • 5361: Introduction to Rhetorical Theory. Classical and modern theories of rhetorical invention.
  • 5362: Rhetorical Analysis of Text. Classical and modern theories of rhetorical analysis.
  • 5364: History of Rhetoric. Survey of history and theories of rhetoric with an emphasis on applications to written communication.
  • 5368: Studies in Written Argumentation. History and theories of written argumentation.
  • 5369: Discourse and Technology. Study of the effects of computer networks and digitally mediated knowledge management on theoretical, practical, and pedagogical notions of discourse and discourse communities.

Technical Communication

Theory, history, practice, teaching, and management of workplace communication, including the genres of reports, manuals, and proposals, and the skills of document design, style, and editing in a variety of media.

Example Courses

  • 5366: Teaching Technical and Professional Communication. Theory and teaching of technical and professional writing with special attention to developing course objectives, syllabi, and teaching techniques.
  • 5371: Foundations of Technical Communication. Theory and practice of technical communication.
  • 5372: Technical Reports. Theory and practice of reports and proposals.
  • 5373: Instructional Design. Theory and practice of manual development and design.
  • 5374: Technical Editing. Substantive editing and design of technical documents.
  • 5375: Document Design. Theory and practice of creating comprehensible, usable, and persuasive texts.
  • 5376: Online Publishing. Design and testing of online documents to support instruction and information retrieval.
  • 5391: Grants and Proposals for Nonprofits. Strategies and techniques for researching, writing, and editing grant proposals for nonprofit organizations.
  • 5393: Grants and Proposals for Academia and Industry. Strategies and techniques for researching, writing, and editing grant proposals and business plans for the academy and industry.
  • 5387: Publication Management. Strategies of managing processes and knowledge that support publication.
  • 5388: User Centered Research. Foundational principles and theories of user experience (UX) design. 
  • 5394: User Centered Design. Methods of planning, conducting, and analyzing usability tests.

Rhetorics of Science and Healthcare

Consideration of discourse and communication within scientific, technical, and medical fields.

Example Courses

  • 5384: Rhetoric of Scientific Literature. The foundational, canonical course for the emphasis. It deals with rhetorical critique of classic science arguments, such as Darwin's Origin of the Species. It also introduces ideas developed further in the specialty courses.
  • 5386: Discourse and Social Issues. Especially when it is taught with a focus on social issues also being those of a scientific nature (e.g. environmental, risk communication, classification, etc.).
  • 5369: Discourse and Technology. Especially when it is taught with a focus on documentation of technology as used in the medical profession or in other applications of science.
  • 5379: Empirical Research Methods. Survey of empirical methods commonly used in TCR research.
  • 5382: Theory and Research in the Written Discourses of Health and Medicine. Current theory and research in the written discourses of health and medicine, focusing on the roles of technical and professional.

Technology, Culture, and Rhetoric

History, theory, and analysis of tools, techniques, and epistemologies--including feminism, ethics, and intercultural analysis--in the production and reception of discourse.

Example Courses

  • 5381: Global Technical Communication. Introduction to theories and practices in global technical communication.
  • 5365: Alternative Rhetorics. Consideration of non-western, feminist rhetorical texts
  • 5369: Discourse and Technology. Study of the effects of computer networks and digitally mediated knowledge management on theoretical, practical, and pedagogical notions of discourse and discourse communities.
  • 5377: Theoretical Issues. Special topics in areas such as cultures, feminisms, and genres.
  • 5385: Ethics and Technical Communication. Definitions, philosophies, and applicability of ethics to technical communication problems and solutions.
  • 5386: Discourse and Social Issues. Study of uses of written discourse in problem solving on social issues involving science or technology.
  • 5389: Field Methods. Survey of methods such as ethnography, observation, and participatory design with applications to research in rhetoric and technical communication.

Visual Rhetoric, New Media, and User-Centered Design

Theories, applications, and research in visual communication from a rhetorical and user-centered perspective, including subjects such as Document design, Web design, Multimedia design, Usability studies, Media studies, Instructional design, and Interaction design.

Example Courses

  • 5365: New Media Rhetoric. Introduction to theoretical and practical complexities and practicalities of working with new media and graphics.
  • 5369: Discourse and Technology. Study of the effects of computer networks and digitally mediated knowledge management on theoretical, practical, and pedagogical notions of discourse and discourse communities.
  • 5373: Instructional Design. Theory and practice of instructional document development and design.
  • 5375: Document Design. Theory and practice of creating comprehensible, usable, and persuasive texts.
  • 5376: Online Publishing. Design and testing of online documents to support instruction and information retrieval.
  • 5377: Visual Rhetoric. Analysis and theory of the persuasive, discursive, and argumentative nature of the visual components of documents.
  • 5388: User Centered Research. Foundational principles and theories of user experience (UX) design.
  • 5394: User Centered Design. Methods of planning, conducting, and analyzing usability tests.

 

 

Contact

Dr. Christiana Christofides
Program Director and Advisor
christiana.christofides@ttu.edu