Orange Alert


The Composition and Cultural Rhetoric Doctoral Program (CCR)


The doctoral program in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric (CCR) expects to form a class of four to six full-time students a year. Applicants should have satisfactorily completed a Master's degree in a language-related or cognate discipline (counted as 30 credits) and demonstrate a strong commitment and talent in rhetoric and composition or related fields. In making decisions about admissions, the faculty considers an applicant's academic record, career plans and scholarly interests, writing ability, and letters of recommendation. Prior teaching experience or practice in communication fields is desirable.

To apply for admission to the CCR program, students first complete the University's online Graduate School application form (preferred method) or complete the downloadable paper application, paying particular attention to the special requirements for CCR applicants. (Please note that the CCR Program Code is 1508 and the Ph.D. Degree Code is 12.) To be considered for admission in Fall 2023 and for financial aid, your completed application package should be postmarked no later than January 17th, 2023.

Academic credentials and other requirements should be tailored for the CCR program, as follows:

Academic credentials

  • Three letters of recommendation: References should be solicited from those who can assess the applicant's most recent academic work and/or professional achievement, especially in areas relevant to composition and rhetoric.
  • Exam scores: CCR does not require the GRE for application. (TOEFL is required of all international applicants, and must be sent directly by testing agent.)
  • Financial documents: (international students only)
  • Personal statement : Not required of CCR applicants. Replaced by Intellectual History statement (see item 1 below. Instructions also appear in the Graduate School application form).

Additional materials (specific to CCR)


  • An essay on your intellectual history and academic interests (replaces the "personal statement" of general academic plans required in the application form). In an essay of about 600-800 words, outline the intellectual history that informs your decision to pursue graduate study in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric and explain your goals in the doctoral program.
    What questions and concerns motivate your study of composition and rhetoric? How have your academic background, work experience, or other life experiences generated these questions and concerns and prepared you to study composition and rhetoric? What inquiries do you hope to pursue specifically in the CCR program at Syracuse, and why? Can you specify your interests or goals in terms of particular texts, rhetorical practices, interdisciplinary connections, teaching or work settings, or modes of inquiry? What kind of career do you envision pursuing with this degree?
  • A statement about teaching interests and practical experience. Although formal teaching experience is not a requirement for admission or appointment as a teaching assistant, graduate students in CCR with teaching assistantships or fellowships can expect to teach some time in ¬†Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition's undergraduate writing curriculum, which includes lower and upper division writing courses, courses within our Writing and Rhetoric Major, as well as other teaching roles.
    In a statement of about 500 words, please explain your interest in teaching at Syracuse University as part of your graduate program and describe the skills and experiences that could make you an effective and committed teacher. Explain any other practical experiences that are relevant or that you want to include in your graduate education.
    How is teaching related to your intellectual interests and career goals? Have you had substantive classroom or tutorial teaching experience? What is your teaching philosophy? If you have not taught, what experiences have prepared you for college teaching (for example, work, professional writing experience, community service, coaching, or developing your own strategies for learning)? Draw on these experiences to explain the skills and philosophy of learning that you would bring to teaching.
    Besides teaching, are you interested in incorporating other practical experiences into your graduate curriculum (for example, administrative or professional internships, community service and service learning, or writing across the curriculum)? If so, explain how these goals fit your intellectual purposes and career plans and what experience or background you bring to them.
  • [International students only] Evidence of English spoken and written proficiency. (Interviews may be required for teaching assistantships.)

  • An additional writing sample. Examples include a prospectus, an excerpt or selection from a master's thesis or master's portfolio in progress. The sample should represent recent intellectual work relevant to your interests in composition or rhetoric.


  • Exemplary teaching materials, e.g. a syllabus or assignment that you designed.
  • Exemplary practical writing illustrating other kinds of work experience relevant to composition or rhetoric.