Graduate Program

Graduate Program


The University of Rhode Island has a long and proven track record in the field of Rhetoric & Composition. With seven full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty devoted to the study and practice of Writing & Rhetoric, we boast the largest Rhetoric & Composition doctoral faculty in New England. And yet, we believe that sometimes it is best to Think Big by thinking small. Thus, our program admits a limited number of high quality applicants to each year’s cohort – ensuring that each student receives appropriate support and ample opportunities to engage in our professional work alongside us.

Why Study Rhetoric & Composition @ URI?

asposterpres_smGraduate students at URI who specialize in Rhetoric & Composition comprise a diverse and close-knit community. New students can expect to meet friendly classmates and a supportive faculty when they arrive at URI. They will find a variety of challenging courses and many opportunities for professional development during their time in the program.

In an anonymous survey distributed last year as part of our self-study, current graduate students said the following:

  • “URI’s Rhetoric & Composition program is a warm, professional community.”
  • “For me, people make a program. There are truly great, intelligent, energetic people in URI’s Rhetoric & Composition program.”
  • “With the faculty, there is such an overwhelming abundance of wonderful minds to learn from and with. Also, the graduate students with whom I work, learn, and study provide astounding support: discussions are always so fruitful within and outside of the classroom.”
  • “The faculty are very accessible, personable, and collegial. They are very easy to work with, and are great mentors.”

As part of the same self-study, faculty had this to say about our graduate student community:

  • “One of our strengths is our students – their focus, commitment, drive, expectations, and willingness to immerse themselves in our world and our work.”
  • “We have a self-organizing, positive graduate student community, filled withstudents driven to go ‘above and beyond.’
  • “Our graduate students have a strong sense of community. They are very receptive to feedback, and are willing to learn, willing to listen.”

Consider joining our warm, professional community. We truly enjoy working together.

If you do, all students in the concentration must take courses in rhetorical theory, critical pedagogy, contemporary approaches to writing and rhetoric, and research methods. We encourage our graduate students to take relevant graduate courses in other departments, particularly English, Communication Studies, Education, and Library & Information Sciences. Beyond coursework, students may take part in a variety of opportunities as preparation for professional work in the field of Rhetoric & Composition, including teaching in our advanced undergraduate curriculum, tutoring in the writing center, assisting with our administrative responsibilities, or collaborating on research projects with faculty and undergraduate students.classroom

M.A. students who specialize in Rhetoric & Composition may be most interested in teaching writing at the secondary or college level or may intend to pursue a Ph.D. at another institution. Students complete a portfolio thesis upon graduation (WRT 599), focusing on questions of rhetorical theory, research on writing, writing instruction, and/or other related issues that arise in their coursework.

Ph.D. students who specialize in Rhetoric & Composition write dissertations in the field and are introduced to the profession through a variety of course assignments and extra-curricular opportunities. Doctoral students should expect to sit for their comprehensive exams after two years of coursework, and then begin work on their proposal and dissertation research immediately thereafter (see our flowchart).