Jul 17, 2024  
2013-2014 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
2013-2014 Graduate Studies Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Rhetorical Studies, M.A.

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Associate Dean and Adjunct Instructor Oppenheim, Graduate Program Director, 516-463-5216

The philosophy of the Department of Rhetoric is based on the recognition that our society is enmeshed in an all-encompassing, interdependent, and ever-expanding web of human and technological communication. Students who major in or take courses in this department learn how the communication process works in interpersonal and group settings, in formal organizations, and in public communication situations. The primary goals of the curriculum are to develop competencies in observing, analyzing, and evaluating communication practices; to develop knowledge about human communication theory; and to develop communication skills in a variety of settings.

The Department of Rhetoric offers a Master of Arts degree both for those students intending to pursue doctoral work and for those for whom an M.A. will be the final degree. The program provides a strong liberal arts background that can be applied to a variety of professional fields such as business, education, and government. Examples of specific career applications include communication training and development, conflict management and resolution, law, corporate and public advocacy, and public performance.

Students receive a great deal of individual attention from faculty and have  considerable flexibility in tailoring a course of studies to fit their individual needs. Part-time students are welcome and most classes are scheduled in the evening to accommodate those with daytime employment.

Students may concentrate either in rhetorical studies or in performance studies. In addition, students may, with the permission of the program director, choose a cognate area outside The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication , such as political science, history, English or comparative literature. Students may choose either a final project or a traditional thesis.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must complete and return an application to the Dean of Graduate Admissions, 126 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549-1260. The application process includes:

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  2. Transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education.
  3. Two letters of recommendations from faculty who can write in support of the applicant’s scholarship and potential ability to complete graduate-level work.
  4. A writing sample (academic or professional).
  5. In order to be adequately prepared for graduate study, entering students should have taken at least 15 semester hours in the following undergraduate communication courses, earning at least a 3.0 GPA:
    • 3 s.h. in basic oral communication (theory and practice)
    • 3 s.h. in public speaking
    • 3 s.h. in performance studies
    • 3 s.h. in interpersonal communication
    • 3 s.h. in rhetorical studies (in addition to public speaking)

Financial Assistance

A limited number of partial scholarships are awarded for qualified students. Other student aid in the form of loans and work-study program may also be available.

Program Requirements - Semester Hours: 33

Required Courses - Semester Hours: 9

Non-Thesis Option - Semester Hours: 3

Thesis Option - Semester Hours: 6

Graduation Requirements

  1. Pass an oral defense of the thesis or non-thesis project.
  2. Completion of all program requirements with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in overall graduate course work.

Career Opportunities

Career paths open to students with graduate training in speech communication are many and varied. These include communication training and development, conflict management and resolution, law, corporate and public advocacy, industrial relations, personnel and human resources, advertising, management, sales, government service, community organization, education and public performance.

Employers consistently report that the number one quality they look for in new hires is the ability to communicate effectively, and that skilled communicators are very hard to find. Graduates of this program will be among the very best-trained communicators entering the job market in any of a very broad range of careers.


Graduate students in The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication  should contact the Graduate Program Director to have an adviser/mentor assigned as soon as they arrive on campus. Students should meet with their adviser for scheduling of classes for each semester. Adviser/mentors are available throughout each semester.

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