Top Schools for Speech Communications and Rhetoric

Formal education programs in communications and rhetoric can lead to a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts (M.A.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Some schools offer specific programs in the field, while others include instruction within broader English or communications programs.

School Overviews

Excellent programs in this field can be found at Ohio University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Maryland and Appalachian State University. Each of these schools was nationally or regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

Ohio University in Athens, Ohio

School Highlight: Ph.D. students take a written exam and two oral exams before graduating.

Ohio University (OU) is a public school that ranked tied for 74th on the U.S. News & World Report list of top public colleges in the country for 2017. The Department of English at OU offers an undergraduate English major that includes the study of cultures, rhetoric and theory. Doctoral students can earn a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition. Doctoral students take six doctoral seminars.

University of South Carolina - Upstate in Spartanburg, SC

School Highlight: USC Upstate participates in the USC Conference on Rhetorical Theory.

The University of South Carolina - Upstate (USC - Upstate) is a public institution ranked 10th among regional colleges in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2017. The university's Department of Languages, Literature and Composition offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition. Coursework includes topics in the rhetoric of gender, politics, law, medicine and digital media. Graduate students can pursue fellowship opportunities through USC's affiliation with the South Carolina Academy of Authors.

University of Maryland in College Park, MD

School Highlight: Students can join the English Undergraduate Association, Graduate English Organization or Sigma Tau Delta (the English Honor Society).

The University of Maryland (UM), a public institution and one of the largest institutions in the state, ranked tied for 60th on the U.S. News & World Report list of national universities for 2017. UM's Department of Communication offers an MA with a concentration in rhetoric and composition, as well as a PhD with a dissertation project in rhetoric, composition or language. Graduate students also have the opportunity to research a variety of different topics.

Appalachian State University in Boone, NC

School Highlight: The school awards the Belk Library Prize for First-Year Students' Demonstration of Information Literacy Skills.

Appalachian State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Composition, which can be pursued as a standalone program or within a Master of Arts program. The certificate consists of 12 hours of coursework in the theory and practice of composition, and it culminates in a capstone project or thesis. For undergraduates, there are five undergraduate courses available in rhetoric and composition, most of which focus on expository writing. For 2017, Appalachian State was ranked #9 among regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report.

Top Speech Communications and Rhetoric Programs

Here are some more universities that provide great educational offerings in speech communications and rhetoric:

  • At Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, the Ph.D. in English program offers a rhetoric, composition and linguistics concentration.
  • Clark University in Worcester, MA, offers accelerated bachelor's and master's degree programs in communication and culture.
  • Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, offers undergraduate programs in rhetoric.
  • Located in Athens, GA, the University of Georgia's Department of English offers an M.A. with a concentration in rhetoric and composition and a Ph.D. specialization in rhetoric.
  • The University of Memphis in Memphis, TN, offers a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Politics and Society.

Whether students are looking for a program focused specifically on rhetoric and speech communications or want to focus their studies on the subject while pursuing a degree in a related field, there are well-regarded institutions around the country with excellent offerings in these subjects.

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