Frequently Asked Questions
For current tuition and fee rates, please consult the UNH Graduate School webpage www.gradschool.unh.edu. Please note that these rates are subject to change in any subsequent semester.
For current on-campus housing options, fees, and information about application, please consult the UNH Graduate School webpage here and/or the Department of Housing. Information about off-campus housing in the university area can be found at the Off-campus housing page of the Department of Housing. You might also want to check with the Commuter/Transfer Center, Memorial Union Building on campus, or the local newspaper, Foster's Daily Democrat, 333 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820.
Questions about the Ph.D. in Composition program
Our Ph.D. Program in Composition Studies is designed to prepare experts in composition theory, research and administration. Ph.D.s in Composition Studies usually seek tenure-track positions in higher education, where they will engage in research and scholarship on writing, administer composition programs, prepare composition teachers, and teach composition courses as well as graduate courses in composition history, theory, research and pedagogy.
No, UNH offers Composition Studies at the Ph.D. level only. UNH does offer an MFA program in Creative Writing for those who want to become writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Ph.D. in Composition Studies is for those who want to develop expertise in writing theory, research and administration.
3. Do I need a master's degree in Composition Studies to apply to the Ph.D. program in Composition Studies?
A master's degree in a related academic field is required. Although an applicant does not have to have an MA in Composition Studies, some graduate-level coursework in composition theory or research will be advantageous in gaining admission. If you have little or no background in Composition Studies, you will be expected to "catch up" during the first two years while completing your coursework. We expect all incoming Ph.D. students to be familiar with articles included in Cross-Talk in Comp Theory 2nd ed., edited by Victor Villanueva.
4. Will the Ph.D. program in Composition Studies help me develop my own ability to write literary genres such as poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction?
Ph.D. program in Composition Studies is designed to provide a professional preparation for scholar-teachers who will engage in rigorous research and scholarship in Composition Studies. Although the intense writing experience in graduate school may enhance your ability to write in various academic genres, the Ph.D. Program is not intended as a preparation for future writers of literary genres. If you are interested in developing your ability to write in literary genres, UNH offers an excellent MFA program in Creative Writing.
5. Can I pursue my Ph.D. degree in Composition Studies in absentia--i.e., without living in Durham or surrounding area?
The answer is a definite no. As a matter of policy, UNH's doctoral program does not normally admit Ph.D. students without teaching assistantship because teaching preparation is one of the important aspects of professional preparation for doctoral students who will go on to teach at other institutions of higher education. Doctoral students who try to pursue their studies in absentia will also be deprived of the necessary support from the faculty and the graduate student community.
Being a Ph.D. student is like having a full-time job -- sometimes it may feel like a job and a half.
During the first two years, Ph.D. students are expected to enroll in two graduate (800- or 900-level) courses per semester while teaching one writing course. After the coursework is completed, students will prepare for the qualifying exam by developing a reading list that represents both the breadth and depth of their knowledge of theory and research in Composition Studies. During the final stage of the program, students will engage in dissertation research, which constitutes an original contribution to Composition Studies.
In addition, Ph.D. students will be expected to develop their own research expertise within composition studies, to present their research at conferences, and to prepare manuscripts for publication. Students will also gain experience in administration by serving as assistant directors of various programs and by participating in departmental committees. Some students also work closely with faculty members as research or editorial assistants.