Ph.D. Emphasis in Writing Studies

Writing Studies is a research-based field broadly focused on analyzing the production, consumption, and circulation of writing in specific contexts. The field incorporates subspecialties such as composition and rhetoric, computers and writing, second language writing, genre studies, and textual analysis. It is both interdisciplinary and international, attracting researchers from diverse departments and countries.

Writing studies researchers examine the ways in which writing serves to construct and perpetuate communities of practice --  academic disciplines, community groups, civic enterprises, or professions. These studies frequently combine multiple research methods, including textual analysis, ethnographic observation and interviews, discourse analysis, and statistical analysis.

While studying the production, consumption, and circulation of texts, Writing Studies scholars often cultivate a primary or secondary focus on helping writers analyze and practice the expectations for writing in specific contexts. Thus, experts in Writing Studies also work with writers to develop writing, reading, and critical analysis strategies necessary for successful participation in diverse communities. Experts may be writing faculty or faculty in other disciplines who deliberately analyze writing as a learning activity.

The Ph.D. Emphasis in Writing Studies is a supplementary research qualification currently available for students in English, the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, or Linguistics. Admitted students fulfill the emphasis by completing stipulated course, committee, and advanced project requirements. Upon completing the Emphasis, participants will have knowledge of the disciplinary history, theories, and methods of Writing Studies; a better understanding of the roles that writing plays within the development and perpetuation of communities (and their values); a sense of how writing can enhance teaching and how to incorporate writing to facilitate student learning in any discipline; and experience in an area that is attractive to employers.

Questions about the research Emphasis that are not addressed on this website should be addressed to Prof. Karen Lunsford, Director of the Emphasis, klunsford@writing.ucsb.edu .