Contact Charles Morris III, Chair
100 Sims Hall, 315-443-2308
The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies supports a theory-based program emphasizing leadership by developing communication skills and a sophisticated understanding of communication as a creative process. Communication is recognized as central to the development of all things social: interpersonal relationships, social roles, personal identities, organizational cultures, and the like. Understanding exactly how and why the process works is important to every career. Syracuse’s program goes far beyond the common practice of public speaking. Instead, the department emphasizes the full range of communication practices: everyday conversation, group decision making, organizational communication, political communication, speech making, rhetorical criticism, and intercultural communication.
Communication and Rhetorical Studies constitute the fiber with which we weave a framework of interaction among and between people, groups, and society. It is a highly complex process requiring observation, examination, and dynamic personal involvement. A comprehensive education based on a mastery of all the aspects involved in communication and rhetorical studies guarantees the student life-long benefits academically, personally, and professionally.
The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University prepares students to become adept thinkers, competent decision makers, and versatile professionals. Individuals skilled in the theory and practice of communication and rhetorical studies have almost unlimited career opportunities. They are found in every business and profession. The majority of communication and rhetorical studies majors pursue careers in internally oriented corporate and organizational communication and/or externally oriented corporate and public information. In recent years, virtually every graduate of the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies has received and accepted a challenging job offer, continued on to a professional school, or pursued a graduate degree in communication and rhetorical studies.
The world is increasingly more dependent on a complex system of communication. Individuals equipped with finely tuned skills in the area of communication are highly sought by potential employers and highly valued by society as a whole. The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies offers students the opportunity to make the most of their potential by making the most of the program.
The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies is devoted to the study of human symbolic activity, chiefly as it is constituted through spoken language. Communication and rhetorical studies is envisioned as a fundamental human process through which individuals learn to adapt to and create linkages with their social, psychological, and physical environments; develop higher mental processes; and regulate their own behavior as well as that of others. Education in communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University focuses on the development of communication competence; students learn how communication is used in constructing social contexts and in articulating decisions to achieve specific outcomes.
Aware that message-related behaviors vary as participants, settings, and conditions change, departmental faculty use a variety of methods and theories to investigate and explain the richness in human communicative behavior. Appropriately, the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies embraces and embodies a pluralistic view in its approach to instruction in communication and rhetorical studies.
The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies embraces diversity as a core component in its curricular offerings. People always communicate within particular contexts, creating unique and complex relationships between speakers, messages, audiences, and occasions. Responding to this, the department has ensured that most courses address the concept of diversity and develop students’ cultural awareness and ability to adapt and respond to the demands of the communication situations they encounter and create.
Students pursue a B.S. degree in communication and rhetorical studies by taking 36 credits in communication and rhetorical studies, 54 credits in arts and sciences, and 30 credits in University-wide electives. In this program, students integrate studies in communication and rhetorical studies with courses from other professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Outstanding students are encouraged to pursue honors in communication and rhetorical studies. Exceptional students may undertake a project of their own choosing under the direction of a faculty member. Project reports are presented at the end of the semester. For further information about the Honors Program, contact the Office of Student Affairs, 200 Crouse College, or the Honors Program, 306 Bowne Hall.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts, through the Syracuse University Abroad (SUAbroad), provides communication and rhetorical studies majors with the opportunity to study in London or Madrid. Students may participate for a semester or a year. Other programs may be available in Istanbul, and through the World Partner program. Normally, communication and rhetorical studies courses are offered only in the spring semester. Students may choose from courses in communication and rhetorical studies and complete their course loads by selecting from a wide range of courses in arts and sciences, management, public communications, and human services. For further information, contact the Office of Student Affairs, 200 Crouse College, or SUAbroad, 106 Walnut Place (suabroad.syr.edu).