Undergraduate Programs in

Rhetoric & Public Advocacy

Rhetoric is the oldest of the liberal arts. From the fifth century BCE until today, humans have valued the ability to express ideas in a compelling way as essential for self-government and the realization of freedom. If you have ever felt passionate about a cause, movement or idea, studying Rhetoric and Public Advocacy can help you acquire knowledge, skills, and experience you need to inspire an audience, persuade skeptics, counter critics, and make a lasting impact on the world around you.


The Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Public Advocacy is a liberal arts communication program. Students acquire knowledge of the communication process and its historical evolution, along with analytical and practical skills needed to frame arguments, analyze messages, apply verbal and visual language strategically, and use their voices and bodies in compelling ways – timeless abilities that are important for a rewarding career path and engaged citizenship.

Major in Rhetoric and Public Advocacy

Rhetoric and Public Advocacy majors are educated in theory, critical practice, and analysis. They acquire knowledge, skills, and experience to explore how meaning is created and ideas are debated in classes such as
•    Argumentation and advocacy
•    Gender and intercultural communication
•    Popular culture
•    Political communication
•    Visual rhetoric


Minor or Second Major/Minor in Rhetoric and Public Advocacy

Rhetoric and Public Advocacy is a popular minor or second major/minor. It complements a wide variety of majors, including Political Science, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Sustainability, Business, Pre-law, and Education.

Students who wish to study the role of communication in organizational contexts can minor in Organization Communication.

Political Communication Option

Students can choose a concentration in political communication to gain a deeper understanding of the role of effective communication in a diverse society. It is ideal for students interested in leadership positions in civic life or with social advocacy groups, as well as for those pursuing law school or graduate programs in public affairs.

Learn from the Experts

Our faculty have won grants and fellowships from entities as diverse as the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the State of New York, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They lead not-for-profit organizations in New York City and consult for political campaigns on Long Island. Their research projects comprise a diverse range of subjects, including the role of civility in 21st century U.S. public discourse, art as a mode of cultural activism in Great Britain, and funerals as a type of public protest by early 20th-century radical socialists.

The Student Experience

Explore potential career paths, get real-world insights, develop valuable workplace skills, and build a network of professional contacts through internships, peer teaching opportunities, and student organizations.

professor and student in conversation

Among the places our students have recently interned:

  • New York State Senator James Gaughran’s office 

  • Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness

  • Harlem School of the Arts

students in oratory performance

Express Yourself

Numerous on-campus opportunities to find your voice and gain hands-on experience include Spotlight Hour performances, oratory competitions, and participation on Hofstra's award-winning, co-curricular Speech and Debate Team (also known as Hofstra Forensics), which welcomes students of all majors to compete against peers from other universities across the nation. 

Student taking a photo in Rome.

Go Global

Learn outside the classroom through a variety of study abroad opportunities that provide life-changing experiences that enhance your academic and personal growth. Learn how to communicate with people from other parts of the world, cultivate a global perspective, and build your résumé. 

The Outlook

Your Hofstra degree will help you channel your interests and skills into many career options such as lawyer, teacher, public relations specialist, political strategist, campaign manager, lobbyist, corporate recruiter, corporate communications officer, speechwriter, patient advocate, event planner, museum director/educator, nonprofit administrator, fundraiser, or marketing/advertising professional. Based on a survey of recent alumni:


of Rhetoric and Public Advocacy majors were employed, in graduate school, a year of graduation.


of those who reported employement accepted their positions within three months of graduation.


completed at least one internship as part of their academic experience.

Alumni Success

Our graduates enjoy considerable success upon graduation, whether they obtain positions at prestigious companies or pursue advanced study at top graduate schools. 

Recent alumni work at companies such as:

  • AssuredPartners, Inc.
  • Columbia University Medical Center
  • East Meadow School District
  • Northwell Health
  • Ovation TV

Those pursuing graduate degrees study at:

  • Columbia University
  • CUNY School of Professional Studies
  • Hofstra University
  • New York Institute of Technology
  • Rutgers University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Memphis
  • Wayne State University

Find Your Voice

Questions about our program?

Director of Forensics

Professor Kevin Boston-Hill
Room 116 Mason Hall
Send an Email

Department Chair

Dr. Ethna Lay
Room 123 Mason Hall
Send an Email