Carnegie Mellon University

Rhetoric Ph.D. Funding Package

While Ph.D. students are enrolled full-time, in good academic standing, the English Department provides a financial support package. In return for this financial support, we expect students to teach one writing course each semester, starting in the second year of the program.

We offer a top-tier Ph.D. funding package that includes:

  • Full tuition remission.
  • Coverage of mandatory university fees (Activities, Transportation, and Technology).
  • Up to six years of full twelve-month financial support.
    • Annual Stipend Amount: approximately $28,000 paid out semi-monthly beginning in September. 
    • First Year Stipend; no teaching requirements.
    • Stipend After First Year; teaching experience is part of the training provided in the program, and following the first year, students receive the stipend for teaching one course per semester.
    • Fully funded summers.
  • University Funds to cover 100% of the costs of the annual CMU student basic medical insurance if needed (self only).
  • A professional conference travel allowance of $600 per year with rollover.
  • A Job Seeking fund of $700 in the final funding year.

Not yet earned a Master’s degree?

  • The Rhetoric program has admitted exceptional candidates into our PhD program who have not yet done graduate coursework.
  • Because candidates without a Master’s degree are competing against candidates that do have one, admission under these circumstances is highly competitive.
  • Candidates without a Master’s degree not admitted to the Ph.D. program will have their application considered for our Master’s program.
  • Candidates admitted to the Ph.D. program without a Master’s degree, are required to complete six semesters of full-time coursework (three academic years) to meet the credit requirements for the Ph.D.
  • To support the additional year of coursework they must complete, students admitted to the Ph.D. program without an M.A. receive an extra year of funding.

All of the foregoing financial support is renewable from year-to-year subject to full-time enrollment, maintenance of good academic standing, satisfactory progress towards degree, and satisfactory teaching performance. If these conditions are met, financial support will be provided for up to six years.

Teaching experience is a requirement of the academic program and a critical part of a Ph.D. student’s training. Starting in the second year of study, our Ph.D. students are required to take a Teaching Practicum and have the opportunity to teach highly talented and motivated undergraduate students in First-Year Writing courses. Other teaching opportunities are likely to arise as studies advance, as is the chance to teach extra courses for additional financial support. The availability of supplementary teaching is not guaranteed since Departmental needs vary each semester, but many Ph.D. students benefit from such opportunities.

In addition to shared office space, students will be loaned a new laptop computer for teaching and research. Students are expected to keep the same laptop for the duration of the program; the department will provide software necessary for teaching and will cover costs for reasonable repair and maintenance.

2022-2023 Tuition and Related Costs

Rates may change annually, please reference the Dietrich College Student Financial Services webpage for the latest rate information.

Graduate Student Tuition and Fees are listed below for each year (or semester) of the program.  As noted above, these costs are completely covered by the Department for full-time students in good academic standing.

Academic Year Fall Spring
Tuition $48,560 $24,280 $24,280
Student Activities Fee $228 $114 $114
Transportation Fee $250 $125 $125
Technology Fee $450 $225 $225
TOTAL $49,488 $24,744 $24,744

Note: Graduate Students are also responsible for securing medical insurance. Insurance can be purchased directly from the University unless an insurance waiver is approved. The English Department will cover 100% of the costs of basic medical insurance if PhD students choose the University plan. Please review the University Health Services website for full details.

Additional Funding Opportunities - Rhetoric PhD

Research Assistantships (RA-ships)

Who is eligible: All graduate students are eligible to apply for all positions.
Amount: $13/hour  

If students choose to join the program, they will have the opportunity to apply for additional financial support through paid research assistantships. Graduate students work with faculty members on a wide array of assignments designed to supplement coursework and to give them valuable professional experience. These positions generally involve 5-10 hours of work per week at $13/hour. Available positions are generally advertised to incoming students at the beginning of each fall term. While there is no guarantee of an RA-ship, the majority of English graduate students typically hold such a position at some point during their time in the program.

Consulting for Communication Support

Who is eligible: All admitted graduate students are invited to apply for a consulting position with Communication Support
Amount: ~$18/hr

Communication Support, a part of the Student Academic Success Center (SASC) has trained consultants who are ready to help CMU students, faculty, and staff with any kind of written, verbal, or visual project. SASC and Communication Support strive to help make sure ideas are clear and communicated effectively. Communication Support offers free consulting Sunday through Friday, and free workshops regularly throughout the semester.

Department Graduate Student Teaching Award

Who is eligible: Graduate instructors nominated for the award
Amount: Extra research allowance of $250

The Graduate Student Teaching Award recognizes the excellent teaching done by graduate students on behalf of the Department of English. Each fall, the Director of Graduate Studies and other members of the Graduate Studies Committee review and assess materials from graduate instructors nominated for the award. The program considers teaching portfolios that typically include statements of teaching philosophy, sample syllabi, instructional materials, all course evaluations, other assessments, and explanatory narratives. The program supplements these materials with independent class observations by members of the Graduate Studies Committee and letters we solicit from former students. After the decision process, the Director of Graduate Studies relates extensive feedback from the committee members to all nominees on their materials and teaching.

Teaching Opportunities (outside 76-100 and 76-101)

Ph.D. students are encouraged to design and teach their own special topics courses. Advanced Ph.D. students also sometimes teach courses in their areas of interest during the academic year. Regular session courses are typically offered to advanced undergraduates (junior and senior level), although a few Ph.D. students in Rhetoric have also taught graduate-level courses. As the following list of recent courses demonstrates, Ph.D. students in Rhetoric teach a wide variety of courses across a number of disciplinary boundaries:

  • Books You Should Have Read By Now

  • Books (By Women) You Should Have Read By Now

  • Introduction to Gender Studies

  • Writing for the Professions

  • Jane Austen

  • Shakespeare: Comedies and Romances

  • Language & Culture

  • Shakespeare: Tragedies & Histories

Ph.D. students also assist in other courses. They are sometimes hired as teaching assistants in courses offered by other departments in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. In addition, The Heinz School of Public Policy and Management and the Tepper School of Business have recruited our Ph.D. students to assist in their courses. Duties often include reading and grading written assignments, but may also require other kinds of expertise, for example with non-native speakers of English.