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Speech Communication and Rhetoric

Program Description

Just the Facts

Speech Communication and Rhetoric. A program that focuses on the scientific, humanistic, and critical study of human communication in a variety of formats, media, and contexts. Includes instruction in the theory and practice of interpersonal, group, organizational, professional, and intercultural communication; speaking and listening; verbal and nonverbal interaction; rhetorical theory and criticism; performance studies; argumentation and persuasion; technologically mediated communication; popular culture; and various contextual applications.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Communications programs train students to do everything from writing news releases, company newsletters or speeches to coordinating entire media campaigns for governments, corporations or nonprofit groups.

Training in communications is offered at a variety of levels. There are two-year or three-year associate's degrees, four-year bachelor's programs and even master's programs. There are also shorter programs for people who already have another degree. Many people also enter this field with journalism training.

"We are looking for student applicants who have good writing skills and good computer skills," says Joan Campbell, who teaches communications at a community college.

Professor Nick Douloff says a lack of writing skills is a very real problem among students. "People who are under the age of 30 cannot analyze a sentence," he says. "They can't tell you what a noun and a verb and a predicate and the object are."

Some of the courses you can expect to take include research and program evaluation, planning, programming and budgeting, media relations, marketing communications, speech writing and writing for public relations.

In high school, take social studies, English, marketing and other courses that contribute to your general knowledge of the world from a political, economical and social aspect.

"What's really required is a well-rounded individual," says Douloff. "Someone who has a math, science and certainly an English background is important. Political science or history courses, even economics as well."

Extracurricular activities can give you valuable experience. "Get involved with organizations to help them plan or do events," recommends Campbell. She notes that this will help you gain experience in an area that demands foresight, planning and coordination.

You may want to join the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The society has chapters on over 200 campuses.

You'll have to pay for tuition and books. Other costs are minimal.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study

Public Relations Student Society of America
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