Ph.D. in Rhetoric

Rhetoric Ph.D. Mission

The Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies integrates the mission of Duquesne University within its curriculum, recruitment, and program development, while simultaneously attending to disciplinary expectations for scholarly excellence. We invite students into a learning environment attentive to narrative ground and the historical moment. We seek to discern and offer answers to questions confronting the human condition from a humanities grounded rhetoric and philosophy of communication perspective. Our department educates the next generation of communication professors whose primary mission is to educate undergraduate students.


Degree Completion Requirements

Assistantship and Support

Distinctive Features of the Program

Scholar-Teacher Model of Learning

Our faculty works within a dual commitment of a teacher-scholar model of student accessibility and a scholar-teacher commitment to publication and public intellectual life. Our faculty educates students through rhetorical phronesis emergent from a clear story of who we are. We are situated within a gestalt assumption that the story is greater than the individual members. The story guides faculty and student interaction.

Embedded Inquiry

The department openly encourages value-laden inquiry, applied rhetoric, and public admission of the limits of theory and practice. Embedded agents working within stories and historical particulars offer possible answers and temporal suggestions, not universal proclamations.

Constructive Hermeneutics

Communication ethics and constructive hermeneutics form philosophical coherence for the program. We ask students to understand issues theoretically and then offer constructive suggestions for communicative change and/or implementation.

What to Expect in Our Program

The Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies recruits by inviting faculty and students into Duquesne University's story of Education for the Mind, the Heart, and the Spirit. We educate the whole person within the university mission of Catholic and ecumenical values committed to liberal arts and professional education. We build upon the university story, which frames the department commitments: communication research and development, the ethical difference, and walking the humanities into the marketplace. Research, a clarity of commitment to communication ethics, and engagement with the marketplace permit faculty and students to understand who we are, thereby enabling an informed decision about whether or not to join this intellectual community.

Our recent faculty hires reflect the University mission commitments: to Catholic and ecumenical values, to the pragmatic and theoretical importance of communication ethics, and to a textured understanding of the marketplace that includes the academy and professional life outside the campus community.