Master of Arts in Speech Communication and Rhetorical Studies
The philosophy of the Department of Rhetoric is based on the recognition that our society is enmeshed in an all-encompassing, interdependent, and ever-expanding web of human and technological communication. Students who major in or take courses in this department learn how the communication process works in interpersonal and group settings, in formal organizations, and in public communication situations. The primary goals of the curriculum are to develop competencies in observing, analyzing, and evaluating communication practices; to develop knowledge about human communication theory; and to develop communication skills in a variety of settings.
The Department of Rhetoric offers a Master of Arts degree both for those students intending to pursue doctoral work and for those for whom an M.A. will be the final degree. The program provides a strong liberal arts background that can be applied to a variety of professional fields such as business, education, and government. Examples of specific career applications include communication training and development, conflict management and resolution, law, corporate and public advocacy, and public performance. Students receive a great deal of individual attention from faculty and have considerable flexibility in tailoring a course of studies to fit their individual needs. Part-time students are welcome and most classes are scheduled in the evening to accommodate those with daytime employment.
Students may concentrate either in rhetorical studies or in performance studies. In addition, students may, with the permission of the program director, choose a cognate area outside the School of Communication, such as political science, history, English or comparative literature. Students may choose either a final project or a traditional thesis.