Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design


Program Information

The Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design is an academic-professional degree, preparing students to conduct research and to disseminate their findings through teaching in the university and through publishing in professional and popular journals. The RCID program seeks an overall balance of ecologies in rhetorics and communications and, thereby, features a cross-cultural, transdisciplinary curriculum with a conceptual emphasis on Aristotle's triad of knowing, doing, and making, that is, on theoretical, practical-pedagogical, and productive approaches to knowledge.

This Ph.D. program is offered simultaneously with the in-residence program.

Job opportunities are broad and may include these careers:

RCID prepares students, through research, to be consultants for and to work within industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. RCID prepares students to be professionals in traditional and emerging economies. At present, virtually all of the students wish to work primarily in academia. We expect that they will be of value to the growing demand for innovative faculty in colleges of liberal arts and humanities: Specifically in Departments of Art, Communication Studies, English, Rhetorics, Writing, New Media, as well as Departments and Centers whose names have yet been determined in an ever-emerging economy for undergraduate and graduate education.

Admission Requirements

Students must have a Master's degree in English, Communication Studies, Media Studies, Art, Professional Communication, or other related fields. Students with a Master's degree in another field of study, such as history, philosophy, languages, or the sciences, may apply to the program with the understanding that they may be required to successfully complete prerequisite, Master's-level courses in Professional Communication or other areas prior to full admission to the Ph.D. program

  • A 3.5 GPA in previous graduate work
  • Transcripts of his or her previous graduate and undergraduate work
  • A Curriculum Vita, including information, if any, about their teaching assignments in English or Communication Studies are other academic departments as well as industry.
  • A portfolio of previous graduate work, including their thesis or their own writing samples and electronic projects (if stand-alone projects, burn them on a CD or DVD; if on the Web, send URLs).
  • A personal statement addressing interests and intentions in pursuing the Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. See the program’s admissions page for details regarding this letter.


The program has four stages:

  1. Enrollment in core and cognate seminars (ten seminars, 30hrs, required and elected).
    • The core seminars are: Histories of Rhetorics, Cultural Research Methods, Empirical Research Methods, Visual Rhetorics, and Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Technologies.
    • The cognate seminars include seminar work from the interdisciplinary fields of Communication Studies, Literature, Writing, Technology and Communication, Professional Communication, Philosophy, Languages, and Art (history and studio), as well as from allied fields.
  2. Engagement in research in two studios (6hrs) by specializing and studying for their exams, which prepare them for researching and writing their dissertation project.
  3. Preparation and completion of exams in the primary and support areas and final submission of the dissertation prospectus. Students may take their exams in the early fall, third year. There are three written exams (one major area, two support areas) and an oral with multimedia presentation on the dissertation project.
  4. Successful defense of the dissertation.

*Students are required to be on campus to defend exams and dissertation

South Carolina is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and Clemson University (CU) is an approved SARA institution, which means we adhere to established standards for offering post-secondary e-learning programs in all member states. Please review our state authorizations to see if this program is offered in your state and our process for student complaints against the university.

Program Contacts

For more information about this online program, please contact the program director, Dr. Cynthia Haynes, texcyn@clemson.edu.

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per credit hour

*Price is approximate and may not be reflective of the current cost. Please check the Student Financial Services Page for the most accurate tuition rates.

Program contacts

Dr. Cynthia Haynes, Director