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College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi


What does it mean to major in rhetoric?

Three students in a rhetoric class

“How can I craft a speech that will make investors fund my start-up?” “What’s the most effective way to write a report documenting my project’s success for my boss?” “Why did the President’s speech send her approval ratings soaring?”

These are the types of questions rhetoric majors tackle as they learn the skills and tools of effective communication. Rhetoric is the essential art of using language and other symbols to inform or persuade. Rhetoric majors learn to speak, write, and design effectively while also becoming discerning critics of the communication practices saturating our world.

Rhetoric majors choose from a wide variety of speech, writing, and rhetorical theory classes that examine communication in interpersonal, community, civic, academic, professional, and historical contexts. The variety of classes and topics keeps the major interesting and lively, and the coursework helps students build solid writing, speaking, and reasoning skills as well as gain valuable perspective on all forms of communication.

The degree sheet gives the specific requirements and a sample 4-year curriculum plan.


Minor in rhetoric?

There is not a minor offered in rhetoric.  Instead, interested students might consider the minor in professional writing offered from the Department of Writing & Rhetoric.


Why is UM a good place to study rhetoric?

Karen Forgette teaches a class in Rhetoric

The Department of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi is at the cutting edge of B.A. programs in Rhetoric in its combination of speech, writing, and theory classes. Faculty members bring not only academic credentials but real-world experience as professional speakers, writers, and communicators. Rhetoric majors have opportunities to participate in study abroad, debate, community writing partnerships, Writing and Speaking Center activities, and many cross-campus collaborations designed to help students build and document their skills as effective communicators.

What can rhetoric majors do after graduation?

students using the writing center

Employers consistently rank strong written and oral communication skills as the most-desired abilities in job candidates, so rhetoric majors are well-equipped for public and private sector careers in writing, editing, marketing, media, publishing, business, non-profit administration, and public policy advocacy. A degree in Rhetoric is also an asset for those pursuing advanced degrees in law, public administration, library services, teaching, religion, and other graduate studies. Rhetoric also adds employment value as a second major, pairing well with studies in the humanities, social sciences, applied sciences, engineering, and the natural sciences.


For more information

Dr. Stephen Monroe, Chair and Assistant Professor of Writing & Rhetoric
Department of Writing and Rhetoric
Lamar Hall, Suite B
The University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
662.915.2121  |