The Department of Rhetoric offers an interdisciplinary PhD program focusing on the study of rhetorical theory and the interaction of the historical concerns of rhetoric with contemporary critical theory across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Crucial to the department's approach is an investigation into the rhetorical constitution of the arguments of such fields as law, politics, literature, philosophy, performative practices, global studies, critical race studies, and science, technology, and media studies. The interests of faculty and graduate students thus range throughout these fields and are informed by a critical interest in the rhetoric of disciplines. During their first two years, graduate students explore major areas in the history and theory of rhetoric and pursue a variety of special topics in seminars. Beginning in their fourth semester, they concentrate in greater depth on preparation for their doctoral qualifying examinations and dissertation research.