​Communication and Rhetorical Studies

​College of Visual and Performing Arts

Enjoy the flexibility to craft a major that is uniquely your own, focusing on your individual interests.

You’ll combine courses from VPA and other SU colleges to achieve a comprehensive understanding of communication in contemporary society – from interpersonal relationships to organizational networks, public and political interaction, and cultural exchanges.

The core skills you develop will serve you well no matter what career path you decide to take. The program’s focus on active listening and critical thinking leads to enhanced skills in information gathering and organization, group leadership, and advocacy for individuals and groups.

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About VPALink

Home to the visual and performing arts at Syracuse, VPA supports the creative process and professional development. The College is divided into six areas: the School of Art; the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies; the School of Design; the Department of Drama; the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music; and the Department of Transmedia. 

Learn more about the communication and rhetorical studies program.

CoursesLink

Sample courses for communication and rhetorical studies majors include:

  • Concepts and Perspectives in Communication Studies
  • Concepts and Perspectives in Rhetorical Studies
  • Public Advocacy
  • Foundations of Inquiry in Human Communication
  • Critical Research and Writing

View official major requirements.

Practical ExperienceLink

CRS majors usually take a combination of VPA and Arts & Sciences courses, but those who choose to pursue a second major, an additional minor, or spend a semester abroad, have greater flexibility to enroll in courses offered outside the College of Arts and Sciences umbrella. Up to 57 credits of the 120-credit degree program may be taken in other areas of study.

The CRS space in Sims Hall has been renovated for CRS majors to use classrooms designed for video capture and speech replay. A space is also available for meetings, events, and other uses.

Study AbroadLink

Broaden your perspective and enhance your resume with an international experience through SU Abroad, with more than 100 programs in 60 countries. Courses specific to communication and rhetorical studies are offered in London and Madrid, emphasizing an appreciation for language in an intercultural setting. You can enjoy a semester, a summer, or a year abroad without interrupting your degree program.

An intensive two-week course called "Communication and Rhetorical Studies in D.C." explores political image making in everything from campaign advertising to lobbying to public diplomacy and policy-making. The first week is spent in Syracuse, and then students travel to Washington, D.C. to meet experts and compare current practices with prevailing scholarship.

Life After Syracuse UniversityLink

As a VPA graduate with a major in communication and rhetorical studies, you can explore such careers as:

  • Advertising, marketing, and public relations manager
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • News analyst or correspondent
  • Human resources manager
  • Public policymaker
  • Communications manager

You can also pursue graduate training in such areas as communications law, communications, public relations, graphic design, digital journalism, and management. Recent graduates of the program have attended some of the top graduate schools in the U.S.