Why Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies?

Our Mission
The Designated Emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies (WRaCS) enables graduate students to study writing practices and written communication in academic, professional, and social contexts.
Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), Writing in the Disciplines (WID), and Professional and Technical Writing have emerged as distinctive fields of inquiry that draw on methods and expertise from composition studies, cultural studies, education, linguistics, literary studies, psychology, and rhetoric.

Theory & Practice
The WRaCS DE provides students with both a theoretical and practical knowledge of writing research, instruction, and program administration. The study of how social, technological, and cognitive factors impact writers’ composing processes extends our knowledge of writing as a cultural and historical construct and as a cognitive process. Findings from this area of research have vital applications across many contexts.

Career Opportunities
PhD graduates in affiliated programs find that the WRaCS DE 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 applicants with expertise in writing and the teaching of writing. Graduates of the program have been highly successful in finding full-time career positions in research, teaching, and administration.

WRaCS students take one course in each of four areas, for a minimum of 16 credit hours. Those areas are

  • a) research methods and practices

  • b) rhetorics and/or literacies

  • c) writing pedagogy

  • d) writing program design and administration.

In addition, both the qualifying exam and dissertation should involve topics relevant to the DE and include at least one committee member affiliated with the DE.

Admission to the WRaCS DE is open to students admitted through an affiliated PhD program. Students are encouraged to complete a Designated Emphasis Application Form (available from UC Davis Graduate Studies) during the first year of graduate study, prior to taking the qualifying exam. Students should also submit a letter of application to WRaCS through the program chair to explain their interests in and preparation for graduate-level study in WRaCS.

Affiliated PhD Programs
The following PhD Programs are affiliated with the WRaCS DE: