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Curriculum Development

The Ph.D. in Rhetoric invites you to understand and engage rhetorical and philosophical communication assumptions. The curriculum frames a "Rhetoric & Philosophy of . . ." communication program emphasizing a praxis understanding of communication that moves theory into application. After completing a core of theoretical courses, you will develop two major emphases of study in areas of applied communication, explored through rhetoric and the philosophy of communication.

Our curriculum is grounded in the mission of the university and the mission of the department,  working out Education for the Mind, the Heart, and the Spirit through The Ethical Difference and Walking the Humanities into the Marketplace.

Theoretical Core

The theoretically rigorous core in Rhetoric & the Philosophy of Communication is distinctive because it effectively applies enduring and emerging ideas from the humanities (rhetoric & philosophy) to marketplace problems and practices. Through completing the core curriculum, all graduates of the program will be qualified specialists in Rhetoric & the Philosophy of Communication.


  • COMM 604  Communication Ethics
  • COMM 609  Rhetorical Theory
  • COMM 611  Rhetoric & Hermeneutics
  • COMM 635  Rhetoric of the Marketplace
  • COMM 659  Philosophy of Communication
  • COMM 678  Rhetoric of the Humanities

Applied Emphases

Each area of emphasis consists of two or three courses beyond the Core. Students elect courses in two of the four areas that will best prepare them to achieve their personal and vocational goals.



  • COMM 614  Rhetoric & Philosophy of Crisis Management
  • COMM 626  Rhetoric & Philosophy of Free Speech



  • COMM 615  Rhetoric & Philosophy of Organizational Communication
  • COMM 654  Rhetoric & Philosophy of Interpersonal Communication



  • COMM 633  Rhetoric & Philosophy of Advertising
  • COMM 636  Rhetoric & Philosophy of Integrated Marketing Communication
  • COMM 649  Rhetoric & Philosophy of Public Relations

*The future of Advertising and Public Relations rests in Integrated Marketing Communication. Accordingly, students must take COMM 636 but may choose either COMM 633 or COMM 649.


  • COMM 610 Rhetoric & Philosophy of Cyberspace
  • COMM 628 Rhetoric & Philosophy of Technology