Affiliated PhD Programs:

Comparative Literature--Cultural Studies--Education--English--Linguistics--Native American Studies--Performance Studies

The Designated Emphasis (DE) in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies (WRaCS) offers PhD students in the affiliated programs the opportunity to prepare for leadership roles in research, teaching, and program administration at various levels, early childhood to adult. Further, in the last four decades, Writing Across the Curriculum and in Disciplines (WAC/WID), Professional and Technical Writing, Writing/Design with New Technologies, and Socio-cultural and Multi-linguistic Dimensions of Writing have been among areas of writing studies research that have emerged as distinctive fields of inquiry that draw on methods and expertise from composition studies, cultural studies, design, education, linguistics, literary studies, media studies, and psychology.  Rhetoric is a traditional field of study, with 2500 years of scholarship, that has been revitalized by contemporary scholars who investigate its relevance across all disciplines and age groups, and with new globalizing technologies. Through the Rhetoric@Davis Research Cluster, students and faculty in the DE pursue various topics of interest in rhetoric in an interdisciplinary framework.

Career Opportunities: PhD graduates in affiliated programs will find that a Designated Emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies opens up positions at schools, universities, colleges, and community colleges; educational agencies; research foundations; and private-sector companies and industries, nationally and internationally, that are looking for researchers, faculty, and administrators with expertise in writing and the teaching of writing. Graduates of the DE have been highly successful in finding full-time career positions in research/teaching/administrative specialties and institution types of their choice.

Theoretical and Practical Knowledge and Experience. This designated emphasis provides doctoral students with both a theoretical and practical knowledge of writing instruction, program administration, and research. Developing pedagogical strategies and assessment programs which respond to local needs have applications for graduate students interested in researching student writing in pre-K-8, secondary, and postsecondary environments.  Training graduate students to research professional, technical, and scientific writing builds on U.S. News and World Report’s recognition of UC Davis and the University Writing Program as one of only twenty outstanding Writing in the Disciplines (WID) programs nationwide.  The designated emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies (WRaCS) encourages graduate students to make connections among writing practices, theories, and research methods relevant to K-12 education, universities, and workplaces.

Working with the Affiliated PhD Programs: The PhD programs with which the DE in WRaCS is affiliated have judged the DE to be compatible with their philosophies and curricular requirements. The courses that fulfill the four core areas of the DE (see Course Requirements) are drawn from the affiliated PhD programs and the University Writing Program. In many cases, these courses also fulfill core requirements for those degrees. As a student in the DE, you will work with your adviser in the program in which you are enrolled and your DE adviser to ensure that the program of courses you take fits your personal goals for your doctoral education and the goals of the program in which you are enrolled. 

The PhD DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies is dedicated to enrolling and furthering the studies of a diverse student body. As a discipline, writing studies is committed to inclusiveness of developing communicators from all language and cultural backgrounds. Achieving and maintaining diversity of the PhD students in the DE is part of that commitment.

DE Core Requirements: The basic requirements of the designated emphasis are four courses in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies in specific topic areas. Requirements must be completed before the students take their qualifying exams.

The Designated Emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies (WRaCS) prepares PhD students to work in the field by introducing them to four major areas of research:

  • research methods and practices,
  • rhetorics and/or literacies,
  • writing pedagogy, and
  • writing program design and administration.

Extending this course work, the dissertation topic chosen must substantially develop an issue related to the designated emphasis and to the PhD program in which the student is enrolled.