As an undergraduate student in the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, you will explore professional and public leadership grounded in Duquesne’s liberal arts tradition.

You will learn the history and practice of producing and interpreting oral and written arguments in the professional and public spheres, leading you toward a career in a wide array of fields in the global sphere, including law, public policy advocacy, nonprofit administration, marketing, business and corporate affairs.

Through a combination of theoretical and practical coursework, you will become well versed in the history, theory and practice of communication and rhetoric across a range of contexts, including interpersonal, organizational, public, and mediated communication.


Program Information

Learn the history and practice of producing and interpreting oral and written arguments for professional and public spheres. Prepare for careers in law, public policy, nonprofit administration, marketing, and more.

Program Type




Academic Department

Communication and Rhetorical Studies



Required Credit Hours


“I really struggled with public speaking and debating. I would get so nervous. But being a rhetoric major, I’ve become really confident in this. It’s actually very fun for me now and really helpful in learning how to talk persuasively to people.”

—Amanda Riisen

Program Requirements

Professional & Public Advocacy:

  • COMM 102 Public Speaking
  • COMM 305 Public Advocacy

Rhetorical Tradition: Professional & Public:

  • COMM 201 Human Communication in a Technological Age
  • COMM 206 Communication in the Marketplace
  • COMM 301W History of Communication
  • COMM 494W Communication Ethics

Rhetorical Production: Professional & Public:

  • COMM 205 Argumentation in the Global Public Sphere
  • COMM 207 Exploring Leadership Communication

You will select two electives, in consultation with advisors, under one of the following areas of advisement:

Professional & Public Advocacy:

  • COMM 418W Conflict Management in Organizations
  • COMM 426 Free Speech & Responsibility
  • COMM 427 Communication Management
  • COMM 445 Non-Profit Development & Philanthropy
  • COMM 463 Strategic Corporate Communication
  • COMM 498 Internship

Rhetoric & Public Culture:

  • COMM 406 Political Communication
  • COMM 426 Free Speech & Responsibility
  • COMM 457 Communication, Science & Revolution
  • COMM 458 Rhetoric & Popular Culture
  • COMM 459 Philosophy of Communication
  • COMM 461 Rhetorical Theory
  • COMM 498 Internship

Public Policy & Advocacy:

  • COMM 101 Debate (Practicum)
  • COMM 402 Argumentation
  • COMM 406 Political Communication
  • COMM 407 Intercultural Communication
  • COMM 426 Free Speech & Responsibility
  • COMM 461 Rhetorical Theory
  • COMM 498 Internship

Four Rhetoric Majors

  • Integrated marketing communication (IMC) unites advertising and public relations with the breadth of the marketing communication field for ethical strategic communication in a changing world. You will come away ready for careers in advertising and public relations agencies, integrated marketing communication agencies, corporations, not-for-profit organizations and public institutions.
  • Corporate communication addresses organizational communication strategies that prepare students for ethical decision-making and leadership in for-profit and not-for-profit contexts. You will be prepared to work in management, corporate communication contexts, nonprofit development and communication, human resource development, public affairs, community relations and entrepreneurial contexts.
  • Rhetoric combines ethical concern for contemporary issues with artful public persuasion, reflecting our department's strong philosophical and humanities focus. You will become an expert in argumentation and persuasion, informed by rhetorical theory and philosophy of communication. As a rhetoric major, you will analyze the practice of these theories in areas such as religion, free speech, organizational communication and popular culture.
  • Communication studies charges students with the responsibility to design a unique plan of study with undergraduate directors. This major optimizes specific marketplace participation in the area of communication.

We prepare you to be a communication leader who will shape this century.

Wish to enhance your major? You may take up to 15 additional credits that allows you to supplement the major with additional coursework and internships that will set you up for success after graduation.