Graduate Composition & Rhetoric

Graduate work in Composition and Rhetoric at UNL prepares teacher-scholars as active contributors to their school, disciplinary, and community settings. We provide students a rich understanding of both historical and contemporary questions, issues, and ideals that shape the field of Composition and Rhetoric.  From this exploration, we offer students support and guidance in determining their own lines of scholarly inquiry and pedagogical commitments, which, in turn, contribute to the field’s knowledge.

UNL's Composition and Rhetoric program identifies the graduate seminar classroom as one among many sites of important scholarly work.  Equally important are the many ways teacher-scholars collaborate on research projects, teaching and curriculum design, program administration and development, and outreach to the communities surrounding UNL.

M.A. and Ph.D. Specialization

The Composition and Rhetoric program offers a generalist M.A. specialization and an individually-tailored Ph.D. specialization. There are no core or required courses at the Ph.D. level. Ph.D. students design an individual program of study with faculty in their area(s) of interest. Our advising documents describe the program of study, language requirement, exam and dissertation process.

Graduate specializationPh.D. Advising DocumentPh.D. Timelines

Core Areas of Inquiry

Public Rhetorics

Examine relationships among language, culture, identity and agency through historical and contemporary inquiry. Topics include how rhetoric shapes public discourse, social conventions and norms, as well as how rhetors rewrite cultural norms and practices.

Sample courses:
Rhetoric of Women Writers
Rhetoric and the Body
Rhetoric and the Essay

Literacy Theory and Practice

Examine how practices of reading and writing—as well as assumptions about what “being literate” entails—are shaped by social, cultural, political and economic contexts. Topics include literacy instruction and acquisition, digital media and literacy, and literacy and identity.

Sample courses:
Digital Literacies
Literacy and Community
The Politics of Literacy

Composition Theory and Practice

Explore historical and contemporary approaches to writing instruction. Topics include changing institutional and cultural exigencies, new technologies, diverse student writers, and dialogues between K-12 and university teachers of writing.

Sample Courses:
Composition and Rhetorical Theory
Composition Theory and Practice
Writing Center Theory and Practice
Nebraska Writing Project Institutes

Socially Committed Pedagogies

Explore critically-oriented processes of learning, including queer, feminist, place conscious and critical pedagogies. We also provide many outlets for pedagogical development, including mentorship of new TAs, writing center consulting, composition colloquia, and work with the Nebraska Writing Project.

Sample Courses:
Place Conscious Teaching
Pedagogy and Difference
Radical Pedagogies
Activist Teaching