Rhetoric, Writing and Culture

To be admitted with full status to the program, the applicant must fulfill all of the requirements set out below.

  • In most cases, applicants are expected to have completed a Master of Arts or Science, but exceptional candidates may be admitted directly out of the bachelor's degree
  • Have completed a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, or Master of Science from an accredited educational institution.
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5.

Conditional admission may be granted to students who do not meet all requirements for admission or have deficiencies in prerequisite course work, but demonstrate potential for graduate study. Such students may be required to take additional courses to address deficiencies.

In addition to the Graduate School required materials, applications must include:

  • an academic writing sample, not to exceed 20 pages, that reflects the student's academic or professional interests and that demonstrates the student's critical and analytical abilities
  • A statement of purpose that includes the following:
    • coursework you plan to complete in the program
    • faculty members with whom you wish to study
    • research you plan to pursue
    • a sense of what you hope to do once you have completed a doctoral degree in English
    • how your education and/or life experience have prepared you for graduate work
  • official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • a letter stating your interest in and qualifications for a teaching assistantship.

Financial Assistance

Teaching assistantships are available and awarded based on the applicant's scholastic record and letters of recommendation. Students need to apply to the Graduate College to be considered for admission in the Department of English and before they are eligible for an assistantship. Letters of interest for teaching assistantships, detailing prior experience (if applicable) and qualifications, need to be submitted as part of the application to the program.

Teaching assistantships are reviewed and renewed annually based on academic and professional performance, as well as funding. The annual stipend is $14,000. In addition to the stipend, graduate assistants receive a graduate tuition waiver. Tuition waivers cover base tuition for NDSU graduate credits only. Students are responsible for differential tuition, student fees, and tuition for non-graduate level credits taken or Cooperative Education credits. Teaching assistants are responsible for books and fees.

In rare cases, teaching fellowships may be granted to advanced doctoral students who have passed their preliminary examinations and completed their course work. Scholarships are available through the department, the academic college, the Graduate College, and the university. 

The Ph.D. program requires 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree and a minimum of 60 graduate credits taken beyond the Master of Arts and at NDSU.

  • Students must take 48 of 60 graduate credits from within the Department of English.
  • Students must take a minimum of 30 credits at the 700- or 800-level.
  • ENGL 764 Teaching Workshop for Writing Instructors is required of all graduate teaching assistants who have not taken a similar class elsewhere.
  • Students with a master’s degree in another discipline may be required to complete additional graduate course work in specific areas of English, as specified by their adviser and supervisory committee.
  • No more than 10 credits may be transferred into the program.

Anastassiya Andrianova, Ph.D.
City University of New York, 2011 
Field: British Romantic and Victorian Literature, Drama, Translation, Pedagogy, Postcolonial Literature, Slavic Literature, Animal Studies

Lisa R. Arnold, Ph.D.
University of Louisville, 2011
Field: Rhetoric and Composition, Writing Program Administration, History of Writing Instruction

Sean Burt, Ph.D.
Duke University, 2009
Field: Ancient Jewish Literature, Genre Theory, Ancient Hebrew Poetry, Poetics, Horror Literature & Theory

Adam Goldwyn, Ph.D.
City University of New York, 2010
Field: Medieval Studies, Medieval Greek World, Influence of Ancient Greek Culture in the Middle Ages

Amy Gore, Ph.D.
University of New Mexico, 2019
Field: Early Indigenous and American literatures, Book history, Gothic literature, Body studies, and the Recovery of marginalized women and Native American writers

Alison Graham-Bertolini, Ph.D.
Louisiana State University, 2009
Field: Contemporary American Literature, Literature of the Southern United States, Women's Literature, Contemporary Ethnic and Postcolonial Literature

Holly Hassel, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2002
Field: Writing Program Administration, Writing Assessment, Feminist Pedagogy, Placement, First-Year Writing, The Profession

Linda L. Helstern, Ph.D., Emerita
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 2001
Field: Native American Literature, Modernism, Contemporary Poetry, Literature and the Environment

Daniel Kenzie, Ph.D., Affiliated Faculty
Purdue University, 2017
Rhetoric & Composition, Professional & Technical Writing, Rhetoric of Health & Medicine, Disability Studies

R.S. Krishnan, Ph.D., Emeritus
University of Nebraska, 1981
Field: Restoration and 18th-Century British Literature, Postmodern Theories, British Novel, Postcolonial Literature

Bruce Maylath, Ph.D., Emeritus
University of Minnesota, 1994
Field: International Technical Communication, Rhetoric and Composition, Linguistics

Mary McCall, Ph.D.
Purdue University, 2017

Rhetoric & Composition, Usability & User Experience, Professional & Technical Writing, Writing Across the Curriculum, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Robert O'Connor, Ph.D., Emeritus
Bowling Green State University, 1979
Field: Romantic Literature, Science Fiction and Fantasy

Dale Sullivan, Ph.D., Emeritus
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1988
Field: Rhetoric Theory and History, Rhetoric of Science, Rhetoric of Religion, Technical Communication

Verena Theile, Ph.D.
Washington State University, Pullman, 2006
Field: 16th/17th Century Literature, Shakespeare, Early Modern Drama, European Literature, Literary Theory, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Film and Adaptation Studies