Skip to main content

Technical Communication and Rhetoric: PhD

Technical Communication and Rhetoric

The technical communication and rhetoric program is designed to meet the interests and needs of students who aspire to conduct advanced study of and research into the communicative practices of organizations.

Grounded in rhetorical inquiry, the program provides students with advanced study in the communicative and cultural dimensions of artifacts, processes, and technologies.

Researchers in professional communication pursue knowledge about discourse and communicative practices in organized contexts, including business, academic, scientific, technical, and nonprofit settings. They study communication as it is or has been practiced in actual, lived contexts. They primarily use theories and research methodologies associated with rhetoric and professional communication. These researchers are particularly interested in how communicative practices shape and are shaped by culture, technology, history, and theories of communication.

Students often work as professors of technical communication. Primarily they find work in teaching and academic research. Occasionally graduates have careers in non-academic environments as administrators or in research positions.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must have a master’s degree in a subject area that complements their professional reason(s) for pursuing a PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Provide a letter of intent
  • Provide a current curriculum vita
  • Submit two writing samples (a total of 20-40 pages), exhibiting your best writing. The samples may include academic or non-academic writing, but at least one of the samples should demonstrate your critical research skills.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admissions Deadlines

The department has the following application deadline:

  • Fall semester – January 15

Financial Assistance

All PhD students that meet the qualifications are supported with graduate school tuition awards, subsidized health insurance, and a monthly stipend for work performed as graduate instructors in instructional activities or research assistants in research groups.

Lisa Gabbert, PhD, Indiana University
Associate Professor, Director of Folklore Studies
Area: Folklore
Office: RWST 204 C
Phone: (435) 797-2721

Keith Grant-Davie, PhD, University of California - San Diego
Associate Professor
Area: Editing, technical writing, rhetorical theory
Office: RWST 310 A
Phone: (435) 797-3547

David Hailey, PhD, University of New Mexico
Associate Professor
Area: Technical communication, rhetorical theory, computer writing, computer technologies
Office: RWST 313 A
Phone: (435) 797-2741

Ryan Moeller, PhD, University of Arizona
Associate Professor
Area: Rhetorical theory, rhetoric of technology, professional and technical writing, computer game design and development
Office: RWST 312 B
Phone: (435) 797-8637

Rebecca Walton, PhD, University of Washington
Assistant Professor
Area: Cross-cultural communication, information and communication technology, technical communication, document design
Office: RWST 301 A
Phone: (435) 797-0263

Labs, Centers, Research

Learning Suite: The Learning Suite is comprised of two student computer labs: the Teaching Lab and the Open-Access Lab. The Learning Suite strives to foster an environment where communication can develop between students, instructors, and their audiences. It supports communication as any expression through the medians of written text, graphics, sound, and still and moving images, and updates its technology to provide as much support as possible for these forms of communication.