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College of Arts & Sciences
Speech Communication & Rhetoric


Students at Study

Graduate Study

The University of South Carolina welcomes applications from students interested in pursuing their Master’s Degree in Speech Communication & Rhetoric.

Successful applicants may come from a variety of fields, including rhetoric, speech, communication studies, cultural studies, political theory, philosophy and religious studies. While working toward their degree, students have the chance to be part of a program that provides an excellent faculty–student ratio, generous assistantships, and a diversity of teaching opportunities.

Located in Columbia and recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as an institution of “very high research activity,” the University of South Carolina features outstanding facilities, a diverse student body, and an internationally recognized faculty.

Applications for admission for the Fall semester are due by December 15.

Click here for application information.


Why Carolina?

Engaging Theory and Practice

The Master of Arts program in Communication & Rhetoric offers students an opportunity to undertake inquiry in the areas of rhetorical theory, textual interpretation and criticism, argumentation, critical social theory, visual, performance and cultural studies, and the philosophy of rhetoric. Throughout its curriculum, the program places particular emphasis on how the close reading of rhetorical practice yields theoretical insight and the ways in which rhetorical theory supports the capacity of speech to invent the terms of everyday life, energize public debate, and foster new forms of political and social engagement.

These concerns are reflected in the questions that focus the program’s research and teaching. Working both nationally and internationally, the faculty at USC devotes substantial attention to problems such as: How do violent and transitional societies create the basis for understanding and reinventing vocabularies for politics? What are the performative dimensions of human expression? With respect to questions of race, class, gender and sexuality, how does the power of language depend on and contribute to the formation of identity and subjectivity? How is speech embodied and how does this embodiment shape culture? What are the kinds of rhetorical practices that compose and divide communities? How do new forms of technology contribute to and complicate public discourse and debate?

An Interdisciplinary Edge

Rooted in a rich tradition of scholarship, the University of South Carolina program in Communication & Rhetoric is committed to interdisciplinary inquiry that advances critical understanding of human discourse and expression.

Self-consciously and critically aligned with the Rhetoric and Composition program in the Department of English, the South Carolina program is one of the few in the nation that seeks to build substantive bridges between different disciplinary interpretations of rhetorical and communicative inquiry. Working together, the core and affiliated faculty undertakes research and teaching that draws from a variety of fields, including literary studies, critical social theory, cultural and performance studies, social anthropology, feminism, philosophy, and political theory.

For graduate students, the program’s core curriculum is comprised of courses that that provide foundational training in rhetorical and social/cultural theory, critical analysis and hermeneutics, and the history of public discourse and rhetorical practice. Together, these seminars provide students with a basis to undertake advanced study and research that sheds new light on the potential of rhetoric and communication

For more information about the MA program in Speech Communication & Rhetoric, click here.
Click here to learn more about the program's faculty.
For the course offerings, click here.