Ideal for students who wish to pursue careers as teachers of writing or as professional writers or editors, the theme in Rhetoric and Composition focuses attention on the art and craft of teaching, on the many roles of writing in business and industry, and on the history and practices of public discourse itself — from political rhetoric and the rhetoric of advertising to the complex uses of language and imagery in contemporary magazine and internet publications.

Admission Requirements

Closeup of hands writing on a notebook. For admission in good standing, you must meet the UAB Graduate School's requirements for scholarship and test scores. You should normally have finished the requirements for an undergraduate degree in English, including satisfactory completion of at least six semester hours in a foreign language. A generally well-prepared applicant who is lacking in some part of the undergraduate preparation may be admitted with the provision that any deficiencies be removed by a time specified by the graduate program director.

Plans of Study

Rhetoric and Composition students can choose between writing a thesis (Plan I) and taking area exams (Plan II). We invite you to read a general overview of the procedures governing the plans, while theme-specific requirements for Plan I and Plan II are listed below. Please visit the UAB Graduate Catalog for the most up-to-date program information and course descriptions.

Plan I: Thesis

Rhetoric and Composition graduate students following Plan I must take:

Emphasis on how materials in Sterne Library may be used effectively. Includes computer searching, listserve, and the internet. Field trips to special collections. 3 hours.
Students must take 6 hours of EH699.

Students must also take:
  • Linguistics (3 hours)
  • Rhetorical Theory (3 hours)
  • Composition Pedagogy, Professional Writing, or additional Rhetorical Theory (6 hours)
  • Literature electives (9 hours)
Additional requirements:
  • 12 hours of course work, not including EH 699, must be at the 600 level in English.
  • Students must choose a member of the English faculty to chair their Graduate Study Committee (GSC). In consultation with this chair, students must select at least two other faculty members to complete their GSC. All members of the GSC must be graduate faculty. Once constituted, membership of the GSC cannot be changed without the approval of the departmental Graduate Committee.
  • Before students can be admitted to candidacy, they must have passed 18 hours of course work and had a thesis proposal accepted by their GSC and the departmental Graduate Committee.
  • Students must pass a Thesis Defense.

Plan II: Non-Thesis

Rhetoric and Composition graduate students following Plan II must take:

Emphasis on how materials in Sterne Library may be used effectively. Includes computer searching, listserve, and the internet. Field trips to special collections. 3 hours.

Students must also take:
  • Linguistics (3 hours)
  • Rhetorical Theory (3 hours)
  • Composition Pedagogy, Professional Writing, or additional Rhetorical Theory (12 hours)
  • Literature Electives (9 hours)
Additional requirements:
  • 15 hours of course work must be at the 600 level in English.
  • Students must pass individual examinations in 5 areas, but 1 of these examinations may be replaced by earning a cumulative 3.5 or better G.P.A. in two English graduate courses in one of the listed areas OR by passing two creative writing courses at the 500 level.
  • All students must take and pass at least one examination selected from each group.
  • No single area examination may be attempted more than three times.

Graduate School Information

For information about applying to the Rhetoric and Composition program, contact us or visit the UAB Graduate School website.Save