Rhetoric & Writing at BGSU
Since its founding in 1980, Bowling Green State University’s Rhetoric and Writing program has been committed to preparing students for faculty careers in rhetoric and composition. It has done this, in part, by building a strong curriculum which emphasizes a variety of courses in history, theory, and pedagogy and also encourages students to pursue their research interests by working with a wide range of dissertation topics. The Rhetoric & Writing Ph.D. Program has evolved over nearly three decades so that students and faculty here use the range of intellectual approaches--rhetorical, cultural, empirical, technological--that characterize the field of rhetoric and composition in the twenty-first century. The program's goals-based assessment is linked to the development of web-based portfolios highlighting academic and professional accomplishments.
Core Rhetoric & Writing Program Courses (24 sem hours)
As the core of the Rhetoric & Writing PhD Program, the eight courses described in this section may not be waived or substituted.
• Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition as a Discipline (ENG 6210)
• History of Rhetoric and Written Discourse (ENG 7220)
Survey of major figures/developments in the history of rhetoric with special reference to their relevance to written discourse. The course will include topics such as attitudes toward and development of written literacy, contributions of non canonical rhetoricians, and institutionalization of writing instruction. Special attention will be given to methods of historical research and historiography.
• Issues in Historical Rhetoric (7230)
• Rhetoric and Written Discourse (ENG 7240)
Survey of rhetorical theory about writing from antiquity to present. Topics include theories of invention, arrangement, and style; kinds and purposes of discourse; the effects of literacy; and the epistemology of writing and reading processes.
• Research in Rhetoric & Writing (ENG 7260)
Research methods and the study of the social, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological processes of writing. Topics include evaluation of writing, the composing process, computers and literacy, dialect and writing, grammar and writing.
• Computer Mediated Writing: Theory & Practice (ENG 7280)
Designed to explore current computer issues in the field of rhetoric and composition covering such topics as computer-aided composition instruction, the nature of rhetorical voice in a computer setting, and questions of authorship.
• Publication in Rhetoric & Writing (ENG 7290)
Designed to help students initiate, revise, and prepare scholarly works for publication and professional careers. Students will produce a portfolio of work appropriate to their specialty. The major work will usually be an article submitted to a scholarly journal.
• Special Topic R&W Seminar (at least one 7800 besides Issues in Historical Rhetoric)
Seminars in Rhetoric Topics vary each semester. Usually two different 780s are taught each year. As such a 780 course may be repeated if the topic is different. Recent topics include: Writing Administration, Advanced Writing Courses, Cultural Studies in Composition, Writing Across the Curriculum, Advanced Writing Pedagogy, Basic Writing, Voice, Online Teaching of Writing.
In addition, the Composition Instructor's Workshop (ENG 6020) is required of all first-year teaching assistants. The course is comprised of theories, approaches, methods and techniques designed to guide prospective teachers of composition in selecting those most appropriate to her/his goals.
Elective Rhetoric & Writing Program Courses (at least nine credit hours required)
Students take at least three additional Rhetoric & Writing Program Courses, but may take more electives if they wish. Example courses include: 6200, additional 7800s, other special-topic R&W courses, Readings courses, Research Group, Practicum.
In addition to the 33 hours of Rhetoric & Writing Core and Elective courses, students may choose to take cognate courses in areas relevant to their research or teaching interests (e.g.: Technical Writing, Literature, Women’s Studies, Speech Communication, Ethnic Studies, Higher Education Administration, American Culture Studies).
General Department & University Requirements
Overall, the Program requires at least 90 seminar hours, up to 30 hours of MA credit and at least 60 hours of courses, exam preparation and dissertation work beyond the MA. This includes the following:
ENG 6200 or equivalent course in MA
ENG 7980 Study for Prelims (3-6 sem hours)
ENG 7990 Dissertation Research (16-21 sem hours)
Foreign Language Requirement
ENG 6020 Composition Instructor's Workshop does not count toward required hours.
Rough and Incomplete Time Line of Studies
Students take courses during the first four or five semesters (not counting summers).
Toward the end of the second year, students set up Preliminary Exam Committees and start studying for Prelims. Before moving into this process, students undergo an online degree audit to ensure the correct amount of program hours for the degree. Often, students use the summer following the second year for intense study and take Exams during the fall semester of the third year. There are two Preliminary Exams. The General Exam, written over a weekend, is based on the General Exam Reading List. The Specialized Exam is a portfolio including a revising/editing project based on a seminar paper, a curriculum project including a course syllabus and discussion of principles that inform it, an initial dissertation reading list, and a bibliographic essay based on that list.
The semester following completion of Preliminary Exams, students give their Graduate Lectures (our approach to dissertation topic approval). Students work with Committee chairs as they develop substantial proposals and working bibliographies. They submit the work to the Committee two or more weeks before the Graduate Lecture. Then they give compact lectures based on the proposal, and they interact with Committee members and others who come to the public presentation.
Following topic approval, students work on dissertation research and writing in close contact with their dissertation advisors (AKA Committee chairs). Typically, they share chapters or other segments of the dissertation with the rest of the committee when the chair advises them to.
When dissertations are complete, students give copies to all Committee members well in advance of the public Dissertation Defense. Following the Defense, students usually have some revision/editing to complete before submitting the dissertation electronically .
First-year assistantship duties typically involve a two-course teaching load in the General Studies Writing (GSW) program spread over two semesters. Second, third, and fourth year assistants teach three courses a year; they often satisfy their teaching responsibilities in part by serving in administrative, supervisory, research, or editing positions. Approximately five new doctoral assistantships are awarded each year. Students in the Ph.D. program may expect four years of funding as long as academic work and assistantship duties are fully satisfactory. Assistantships carry a tuition waiver. Summer opportunities for funding are also competitively available.