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Communication & Rhetorical Studies

Chair: Ronald C. Arnett, Ph.D.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes for Communication & Rhetorical Studies
  • Students will be able to write, speak, synthesize information quickly and clearly, and communicate well with others.
  • Students will possess professional knowledge and intellectual agility within their chosen area of applied communication study.
  • Students will demonstrate a commitment to ethical and moral discussion in a complex world.
Integrated Marketing Communication Degree
  • Students will demonstrate fluency and competency in the vocabulary and skills of public relations and advertising as a function of integrated marketing communication (IMC).
  • Students will be able to offer a strategic, coordinated IMC public relations and advertising campaign to a marketplace client.
Corporate Communication Degree
  • Students will demonstrate diverse and varied theoretically-informed practices appropriate for the work of a corporate communication professional.
  • Students will value the liberal arts as an element of contemporary corporate communication theory and practice.
Communication Studies Degree
  • Students will demonstrate appropriate and effective communication skills appropriate for marketplace contexts.
  • Students will apply communication theories to marketplace contexts.
Rhetoric Degree
  • Students will explain the ethical function of rhetoric in a democratic society.
  • Students will articulate the role of faith in relation to reason within the narrative/faith/religious tradition or world view within which they find meaning.

Why Study Communication at Duquesne University?

Top Tier Ranking

Studying communication in the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies is a starting point for an exciting and successful professional journey. The program, recognized by the Princeton Review in 2008, unites communication research and client-based marketplace projects through a humanities education. Ongoing faculty scholarship and marketplace involvement infuses student learning experience with ideas and the ability to put those ideas into action.

Leadership Development

The Department’s ongoing commitment to research, ethics and engagement in the marketplace brings classroom learning to life through four majors: Integrated Marketing Communication (Advertising & Public Relations for the 21st Century), Corporate Communication, Communication Studies, and Rhetoric.

Each major provides opportunities for students to put theory into practice, honing your skills as a communication professional. We prepare you to be a communication leader who will shape this century.

Marketplace Preparation

Energized by the Spiritan tradition and a firm belief in the mission of Duquesne University, the Department’s distinguished faculty, dedicated staff, and involved students are inspired, called to serve, and driven to succeed. Faculty and students are involved in learning outside the classroom that includes volunteer, internship and practicum experiences nationally and internationally.

Undergraduate Majors and Minors in Communication

Basic Requirements

As a major in Integrated Marketing Communication, Corporate Communication, Communication Studies, or Rhetoric, students complete between 30 and 45 credits of study in the department.

  • 15 credits are dedicated to core courses in department.
  • At least 15 credits are dedicated to courses in the chosen major.

In consultation with the Undergraduate Directors, students will design a plan of study that develops their knowledge in the skills, strategy and management of communication. The Department encourages students to plan ahead for volunteer and for-credit internship experiences available through the Communication Internship Office.

Required Core (6 credits)

No matter which major they choose in Communication & Rhetorical Studies, students will understand themselves as part of history and strive to be ethical communicators.  All B.A. students in Communication & Rhetorical Studies take the following courses:

  • COMM 301W       History of Communication
  • COMM 494W       Communication Ethics

Elective Core, Part I (6 credits)

The elective core unites communication, the marketplace, persuasion, and cultural difference.  These areas are strongly represented in this portion of the elective core.  Simultaneously, the courses address crucial institutions and contexts for communication leaders in the twenty-first century.  Students choose two of the following three courses, with specific selections depending on the major:

  • COMM 201          Human Communication & Society
  • COMM 206          Communication in the Marketplace
  • COMM 407          Intercultural Communication

Elective Core, Part II (3 credits)

The exploration and advocacy of ideas is essential to a student’s role as learning worker in the marketplace.  Students choose one of the following courses:

  • COMM 204          Professional Communication in Integrated Marketing
  • COMM 304W       Persuasion

Overview of Career Building Majors

Integrated Marketing Communication

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) unites advertising and public relations with the breadth of the marketing communication field for ethical strategic communication in a changing world. IMC is the strategic integration of communication to reach all business stakeholders, from customers to employees to the community. Advertising and public relations are critical functions of IMC, as are promotions, event planning, community relations, interactive strategies, and every communicative activity that connects an organization to its multiple and diverse audiences.

As an IMC major, students will be introduced to functions and strategies of the integrated process through foundational courses in advertising and public relations. In addition, students will choose from a variety of courses that will enhance their understanding of a fully integrated approach to marketing communication: the advertising and public relations degree for the 21st century.

Courses available in this major include, but are not limited to:

Advertising

  • COMM 333    Integrated Marketing Comm. Functions II: Advertising
  • COMM 433    Integrated Marketing Comm. Strategies II: Advertising

Public Relations

  • COMM 330    Integrated Marketing Comm. Functions I: Public Relations
  • COMM 430    Integrated Marketing Comm. Strategies I: Public Relations
  • COMM 350    Communication and Community Relations

Marketing Communication

  • COMM 204    Professional Communication in Integrated Marketing
  • COMM 305    Undergraduate Research and Development I
  • COMM 306    Undergraduate Research and Development II
  • COMM 342    Environmental Communication
  • COMM 387    Event Planning: Communication Architecture
  • COMM 388    Corporate & Integrated Marketing Comm. Research
  • COMM 432     IMC: Brand, Identity, Reputation
  • COMM 436    Integrated Marketing Comm.: Coordinating Ad & PR
  • COMM 438    Integrated Marketing Comm.: Interactive Strategies
  • COMM 445    Nonprofit Development & Philanthropy Communication

The IMC degree is ideal for employment in advertising, public relations, and integrated marketing communication agencies, political campaigns, for-profit and nonprofit firms, and other venues. All IMC majors are encouraged to pursue one or more internships, both as a volunteer and as a for-credit experience. Internship opportunities are available year-round through the departmental Internship Office. IMC majors must take COMM 206 (Communication in the Marketplace) as one of their primary elective core classes and COMM 204 as their secondary elective core class. IMC majors must take 3 of the 4 IMC Functions/Strategies courses (COMM 330, 333, 430, 433) and the IMC capstone course (COMM 436) as part of the 15 credits of the major.

Corporate Communication

Corporate Communication is the study and implementation of strategic organizational leadership in a changing global marketplace. It addresses organizational communication strategies that prepares students for ethical decision-making and leadership in business contexts. Students will engage sophisticated theories of conflict and crisis management, strategies for corporate and community relations, small group and team management, and sensitivity to gender and cultural issues in the marketplace. Corporate Communication recognizes the importance of interpersonal and public communication in national and international organizational contexts, especially in terms of corporate public relations (public affairs), event planning, employee and community relations, communication management, and conflict negotiation.

As a Corporate Communication major, students will be introduced to courses that include, but are not limited to:

Organizational and Management Communication

  • COMM 388    Corporate & Integrated Marketing Comm. Research
  • COMM 427    Communication Management
  • COMM 455    Small Group & Team Communication
  • COMM 456    Organizational Communication
  • COMM 463    Strategic Corporate Communication
  • COMM 486    Organizational Consulting

Public Relations

  • COMM 330    Integrated Marketing Comm. Functions I: Public Relations
  • COMM 430    Integrated Marketing Comm. Strategies I: Public Relations
  • COMM 322    Corporate Communication: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Communication
  • COMM 350    Communication and Community Relations
  • COMM 387    Event Planning: Communication Architecture
  • COMM 445    Nonprofit Development & Philanthropy Communication

Professional Communication Skills

  • COMM 202    Business & Professional Communication
  • COMM 204    Professional Communication in Integrated Marketing
  • COMM 309     Visual Communication
  • COMM 418W Conflict Management in Organizations
  • COMM 454    Interpersonal Communication

As a Corporate Communication major, students are prepared for employment in corporate communication, internal marketing communication, public affairs, community relations, human resource management, for-profit and nonprofit firms and other business contexts. All Corporate Communication majors are encouraged to pursue one or more internships, both as a volunteer and as a for-credit experience. Internship opportunities are available year-round through the departmental Internship Office. Corporate Communication majors are strongly encouraged to take COMM 206 as one of their primary elective core classes.

Communication Studies

Communication Studies is applied communication for public and private life. It takes theory into practice in every area of life, from business and industry to family and friendship. As a Communication Studies major, students will "build their own" degree in consultation with the Undergraduate Directors to design a program of study tailored to meet their professional and personal goals.

In this major, students may select from the entire set of course offerings in the department. Course examples include:

  • COMM 201      Human Communication in a Technological Age
  • COMM 304W   Persuasion
  • COMM 342      Environmental Communication
  • COMM 350      Communication & Community Relations
  • COMM 454W   Interpersonal Communication
  • COMM 456      Organizational Communication
  • COMM 458      Rhetoric & Popular Culture
  • COMM 406      Political Communication
  • COMM 407      Intercultural Communication
  • COMM 422      Communication Research Methods

Communication Studies prepares students for employment in entrepreneurial ventures, family business, for-profit and nonprofit firms, and other industry specific opportunities. All Communication Studies majors are encouraged to pursue one or more internships, both as a volunteer and as a for-credit experience. Internship opportunities are available year-round through the departmental Internship Office.

Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the study and practice of ethical persuasion. This ancient discipline brings enduring currency through the ages to the marketplace and civic life to engage today's global community.

Rhetoric combines ethical concern for contemporary issues with artful public persuasion. It reflects the department's strong philosophical and humanities focus. Argumentation and persuasion are skills fundamental to this major and are informed by rhetorical theory and philosophy of communication. As a Rhetoric major, students will analyze the practice of these theories in areas such as religion, free speech, organizational communication, and popular culture.

As a Rhetoric major, students will choose from a variety of rhetorically and philosophically grounded courses. These courses include, but are not limited to:

Rhetoric & Philosophy of Communication

  • COMM 220    Approaches to Rhetoric, Religion, & Society
  • COMM 304W Persuasion
  • COMM 342    Environmental Communication
  • COMM 406    Political Communication
  • COMM 423    Communication & Evidence
  • COMM 426    Free Speech & Responsibility
  • COMM 458    Rhetoric & Popular Culture
  • COMM 459    Philosophy of Communication
  • COMM 461    Rhetorical Theory

Rhetorical Performance

  • COMM 102    Public Speaking
  • COMM 303    Presentational Communication Skills
  • COMM 402    Argumentation

A major in Rhetoric is ideal for students who are interested in law or graduate school, a career in politics, or any vocation where argument and persuasive strategies and skills are important. All Rhetoric majors are encouraged to pursue one or more internships, both as a volunteer and as a for-credit experience. Internship opportunities are available year-round through the departmental Internship Office. Rhetoric majors should choose COMM 201 as one of their options in the primary elective core and COMM 304 in the secondary elective core.

Overview of Double Major Options

Communication and English

Students who choose this major can add a major in English, and majors in English can add a major in Communication & Rhetorical Studies. The first selected major requires 30 credit hours and the second major 24 credit hours

Accelerated Communication B.A./M.A.

Undergraduate students at Duquesne and at selected Catholic universities can begin a Master of Arts degree as undergraduates. Undergraduate students are able to earn six graduate credits by taking two 400-level senior courses in which they are assigned graduate-level work by the professors at their undergraduate university.

Overview of Minor Options

A minor in Communication & Rhetorical Studies requires a minimum of 18 credit hours (6 courses), including COMM 494W (Communication Ethics), the student’s choice of COMM 201 (Human Communication in a Technological Age), 206 (Communication in the Marketplace), COMM 114 (Exploring Intercultural Communication), or COMM 407 (Intercultural Communication), and any three additional courses with the exception of the internship (internships credits are available for majors only).

Notes of clarification

  1. Following McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts policy, students majoring in one of the four majors in Communication & Rhetorical Studies may not take a second major nor a minor in Communication & Rhetorical Studies.
  2. Students may not take both the major in the Integrated Marketing Communication (Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies) and the major in Public Relations and Advertising in the Department of Journalism and Multimedia Arts.

Undergraduate Communication Organizations and Activities

The Classroom-Outside-the-Classroom

In addition to the formal internship experiences available to students through the departmental Internship Office, students can gain valuable communication experience through campus organizations and activities, especially those directly associated with the field of communication. Portfolio pieces are generated by involvement in official internships, as well as student organizations and activities, volunteer professional experiences, and classroom campaigns.

The following are some of the ways to experience the classroom-outside-the-classroom.

Undergraduate Research and Development

The Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies is home to a communication R & D firm dedicated to for-profit and nonprofit client-centered communication work in integrated marketing, corporate and intercultural communication. Interested majors are invited to participate in this firm beginning their freshman year. It can be engaged as a volunteer opportunity or as a for-credit course experience.

AAF (American Advertising Federation) Student Chapter

The "ad club" is a volunteer, student-led organization that researches and develops a fully integrated marketing communication campaign involving advertising, public relations, and the breadth of the marketing communication field for a nationally selected client. Completed IMC campaigns are submitted for competitive review and presentation in the national student competition.

PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) Chapter

PRSSA is a volunteer, student-led organization that researches and develops a public relations campaign for a national client. Completed PR campaigns are submitted for competitive review nationally.

City Dialogues

The Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies connects communication majors to Pittsburgh's cultural and civic heritage through specialty events throughout the year. All majors are invited to participate in these learning excursions. Representative City Dialogue host sites include the Heinz Regional History Center, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chatham Baroque.

Marketplace Colloquia

Every semester the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies hosts dynamic and informative sessions specific to its majors. These colloquia showcase successful program graduates who share professional advice and insights for entering today's marketplace. Colloquia are open to all majors.

Lambda Pi Eta (LPE), National Communication Honor Society

In their junior year, majors with a specific GPA are invited to join the national communication honor society. LPE members participate in service activities, invitation-only events, and special marketplace opportunities.

Communication Internship Office: Portfolio and Professional Development

From the first semester at Duquesne University, students are invited  to "Walk the Humanities into the Marketplace" by connecting classroom learning with practical experience. To this end, the Department encourages students to participate in a minimum of one internship during your time here.

  • Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to experience resume-building opportunities through campus organizations and activities, as well as though volunteer opportunities in the marketplace. An excellent starting point for getting involved are the communication organizations and activities offered through our department.
  • Juniors and seniors are encouraged to continue their campus involvement while pursuing additional for-credit internship experiences locally, nationally and internationally. All majors have up to six elective credits allocated for internships.

Professional Advisement

Through the Internship Office, students have access to professional advisement by a number of qualified faculty and staff including the Marketplace and Internship Directors (the Undergraduate Directors serve in this capacity), Marketplace and Internship Coordinator, and Communication Internship Assistant.

Professional Services

The Internship Office is connected to over 100 organizations offering professional communication experience. It supports professional growth through the ongoing cultivation of marketplace opportunities related to student majors and by providing students with invaluable resources and consultation in several areas:

  • Resume Building
  • Interview Preparation
  • Portfolio Development
  • Professional Leadership
  • Internship and Career Planning

Professional Preparation

As a complement to its professional services, the Department provides students with professional guidelines that shape for-credit internship experiences. These requirements serve to refine and enhance professional development, making students even more competitive candidates for future employment in their desired career or vocation.

Internship requirements include:

  • Completion of weekly time reports
  • Completion of two summary reports
  • Mid-term Employer Performance Appraisal
  • Final Employer Performance Appraisal
  • Completion of a Final Paper or Portfolio Project

Professional Opportunities

Some of the organizations with which the Department has internship relationships are ALCOA, Bayer Corporation, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins, Giant Eagle and Giant Eagle's Market District, Sargent Electric Company, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Chatham Baroque, the Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center of Duquesne University, U.S. and State Senate offices, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, MARC USA, Ketchum Public Relations, Brunner and Mullen.