Effectively communicate in diverse environments. You’ll do that here.

The Rhetoric and Public Communication track within the Communication studies major prepares graduates for all things advocacy. Whether students hope to pursue careers in local, state, or national politics, non-profit administration and outreach, or seek advanced degrees in law or the humanities, our students gain all the skills needed to succeed in their chosen path by completing course work in the Communication Studies, Rhetoric and Public Communication major. 

What to Expect

Courses offered in the Rhetoric and Public Communication track provide students with the opportunity to develop and strengthen oral and written communication skills crucial to success in any advocacy setting. Classes like Communication and Publics, Modern Presidency, Argumentation and Debate, and Persuasion and Rhetorical Theory offer ample opportunities to develop the research, argumentation, intercultural competency, presentational speaking, and academic and speech writing necessary for all types of advocacy positions as well as post-graduate education.

  • Interact with well-trained faculty in small-class settings.
  • Learn and train in state-of-the-art facilities in Academic Hall.
  • Develop skills in oral, written, and visual communication, as well as listening, teamwork, leadership, and more.
  • Experience one-on-one advising to determine the best courses and minor (or second major) best suited to personal goals and aspirations.
  • Have access to the student organizations such as  COMMrades and Jimmy's Friends.
  • Be poised to try out for Southeast's award-winning debate team and/or as a tutor in the department's Speaker's Resource Center.
  • Have the opportunity to oversee public events while earning course credit.

Hands-on Learning

You can gain hands-on real-world experience through internship opportunities, our award-winning debate team, and various student organizations.

Outcomes & Careers

  • 100%

    Successful Outcomes Rate

    Students graduating with degrees from the Department of Communication Studies and Modern Languages report being employed or furthering their education six months after graduation.

  • $149k

    Public Relations Manager

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for public relations and fundraising managers is $148,740.

  • $67K


    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for writers and authors is $67,120.

  • $71K

    Postsecondary Communications Teacher

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for postsecondary communications teachers is $71,030.

What You'll Study

The Rhetoric and Public Communication curriculum includes 34 hours specific to this major. Students are also expected to complete a minimum of 120 required credits, including the general education requirements and at least 39 senior division hours.

Communication Studies: Rhetoric & Public Communication Option
(34 Hour – Minor Required)

Required Courses:

  • SC001 Exit Interview (0)
  • SC105 Fundamentals of Oral Communication (3)
  • SC155 Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication (3)
  • SC200 Communication and Publics (3)
  • SC360 Experiential Comm Projects (1-3)
  • UI425 Persuasion (3)
Choose One Course:
  • SC314 Argumentation & Problem Solving (3)
  • SC320 Group Comm & Decision-Making (3)
Choose One Course:
  • SC420 Rock-n-Roll & Rebellion (3)
  • SC491 Investigating Communication Studies (3)

Rhetoric & Public Communication Option

Choose 9 Hours:
  • SC310 Speechwriting (3)
  • SC314 Argumentation & Public Deliberation (3)
  • SC482 Special Problems in Communication (3)
  • UI320 Modern Presidency (3)
  • UI504 Leaders of Social Change (3)
Choose 6 Hours From:
  • SC215 Intercultural Communication (3)
  • SC301 Foundations of Health Communication (3)
  • SC310 Speechwriting (3)*
  • SC314 Argumentation & Public Deliberation (3)
  • SC316 Gender Communication (3)*
  • SC360 Experiential Communications Projects (1-3)
  • SC420 Rock-n-Roll & Rebellion (3)**
  • SC482 Special Problems in Communication (3)*
  • SC496 Practicum in Communication Studies (3)
  • UI320 Modern Presidency (3)*
  • UI423 Political Communication (3)
  • UI504 Leaders of Social Change (3)*

*if not taken above
**if not taken in the core

Some requirements may be fulfilled by coursework in major program.

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences – 6 hours
  • Constitution Requirement – 3 hours
  • Written Communication – 6 hours
  • Oral Communication – 3 hours
  • Natural Sciences – 7 hours (from two disciplines, one to include a lab)
  • Mathematics – 3 hours
  • Humanities & Fine Arts – 9 hours (from at least two disciplines)
  • Additional requirements – 5 hours (to include UI100 for native students)
  • Civics examination

Freshman Year 

Fall Semester (13 Hours) 

  • UI100 (1) 
  • EN100 (3) 
  • SC105/SC155 (3) 
  • General Education (3) 
  • General Education (3) 

Spring Semester (15 Hours) 

  • SC105/SC155 (3) 
  • SC200/General Education (3) 
  • General Education (3) 
  • General Education (3) 
  • General Education (3) 

Sophomore Year 

Fall Semester (13-15 Hours) 

  • SC360 (1-3) 
  • Comm Studies Elective (3) 
  • General Education (3) 
  • General Education (3) 
  • General Education (3) 

Spring Semester (16-18 Hours) 

  • SC200/General Education (3) 
  • SC314/SC310 (3) 
  • Comm Studies Elective (3) 
  • Minor Course (3) 
  • General Education (3) 
  • Elective (1-3) 

(Consider taking a summer or intersession course) 

Junior Year 

Fall Semester (15 Hours) 

  • SC420/SC491 (3) 
  • Comm Studies Elective (3) 
  • Minor Course (3) 
  • General Education (3) 
  • Elective (3) 

Spring Semester (15 Hours) 

  • Comm Studies Elective (3) 
  • Minor Course (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (3) 

Senior Year 

Fall Semester (17 Hours) 

  • UI425 (3) 
  • Minor Course (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (3) 

Spring Semester (12-14 Hours) 

  • SC001 (0) 
  • Comm Studies Elective (3) 
  • Minor Course (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (3) 
  • Elective (0-2)

Become a Redhawk.

Do more than dream about the future. Take the first steps to make it all happen.

What can you do with a Rhetoric and Public Communication Degree?

Employment and Internship Opportunities of Recent Graduates

Graduates have the opportunity to secure employment in a wide variety of settings. Past graduates have been employed with:

  • Caterpillar
  • Childrens’ Charity of St. Louis
  • Cintas
  • Maritz Motivation Solutions
  • Missouri House of Representatives
  • Roberts, Wooten, & Zimmer: Attorneys at Law
  • Timberland

Comm Studies majors also have the opportunity to intern with companies such as: 

  • Disney World
  • AT&T Mobility
  • KRCU: A National Public Radio Affiliate
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Office of Prosecuting Attorney (Cape Girardeau)
  • Panama Canal Authority

Graduate Programs of Recent Graduates

More interested in continuing your education beyond a communications degree? Our graduates have gained entrance to notable graduate programs and law schools including:

  • Ball State
  • Duke University
  • Northwestern University
  • Saint Louis University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Mississippi
  • Washington University

Getting the Job

Your education is just one piece to launching an extraordinary career. Once you’ve mastered the material, you still have to find the job you want, make the right connections, sell your knowledge and experience—and if all this is giving you anxiety, don’t panic. SEMO’s Career Services office is here to help you with the next step. They’ll provide the expertise and support you need, so you’re landing your dream job in no time.


"The most important thing I learned relative to my profession: You will never 'know' everything. Ask questions. Do your research. Keep learning. The most important thing I learned relative to life: persistence. "

Dinah Ross Jones

Southeast alum, Dinah Ross Jones, smiles with another person in front of a set of stairs.

Communication Studies Rhetoric and Public Communications (BA) Degree Map

Explore the courses you'll need to complete your degree.

Office Location
Academic Hall 213
Mailing Location
One University Plaza, MS 3225
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701