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Rhetoric Minor

The vision behind the University of Maryland’s Minor in Rhetoric is to provide students with ways of seeing the world as a place open to change and skills for acting on its possibilities.

The Minor in Rhetoric is an interdisciplinary program supported jointly by the Department of Communication and the Department of English and open to undergraduates entering any discipline, field, or career.

The minor educates students to understand and analyze the history, theory, and criticism of civic discourse and cultural practices. Course offerings feature both applied and theoretical approaches. Knowledge and skills acquired through the minor empower graduates to engage with important social issues and take active leadership roles in their communities and careers.

Why Minor in Rhetoric?

We study rhetoric to understand and practice the use of symbols and symbol systems to communicate and create shared meaning. Courses in the minor provide opportunities both to practice applied skills in composing across media and to study rhetorical theory and methods of analysis across time periods. Students who minor in rhetoric acquire the knowledge and skills to take on a broad range of leadership roles in which they advocate for and communicate with others to address issues of social and political importance.

The Minor in Rhetoric, open to all University of Maryland students, may be especially valuable for those who plan careers in fields like business, education, government, law, non-profits, and others where persuasive writing and speaking skills are prized. The minor requires just 15 credits in a wide range of courses offered in both Communication and English.

Entering the Minor

The College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) has established a maximum enrollment in the Minor in Rhetoric. Students wishing to pursue the minor should check the ARHU minors page.

When enrollment in the minor is open, students can submit the online contact form to initiate the process of meeting with an advisor and officially declaring the minor.

University regulations specify that “to ensure appropriate academic advising, students who wish to pursue a minor should inform both the college responsible for their major and the unit offering the minor as early as possible, but in no case later than one full academic year before the expected date of graduation.” We recommend you seek admission to the minor and receive advising within the first six credits of your minor.

Degree Requirements

  • 15 semester hours of coursework are required
    • Select six semester hours from the course list in Rhetorical Theory and Analysis of Discourse
    • Select six semester hours from the course list in Writing and Speaking Skills
    • Select three semester hours in electives from either section of the Rhetoric Minor Course List 
  • A grade of C- or better is required in each of the courses making up the 15 credits of the Minor.
  • Six semester hours from the course list in Rhetorical Theory and Analysis of Discourse
  • Six semester hours from the course list in Writing and Speaking Skills
  • Three semester hours in electives from either section of the Rhetoric Course List
  • At least nine credits must be 300-level or higher, and at least six of those credits must be taken at UMD, College Park.
  • No more than six transfer credits may be applied to the Minor.
  • No more than six credits may overlap with the student’s major, supporting courses, or college requirements.
  • At least three credits must be taken from the English Department and at least three from the Department of Communication.
  • No course used to satisfy a Fundamental Studies requirement may count toward the Minor.
  • No course used to satisfy the requirements of another Minor may count toward the rhetoric Minor.
  • An overall GPA of 2.0 in the Minor is required for graduation.

NB: Students who added the Rhetoric Minor before February 1, 2017 can choose whether to follow the current requirements or the 2000-2016 requirements. If you have any questions about the requirements, please contact the English Undergraduate Studies Office.

Advising

Current Minors
Rhetoric minors receive advising through the English Undergraduate Studies Office. Before meeting with an advisor, you may want to review the list of current courses.

Students are encouraged to communicate with an advisor at least once a semester to verify that all courses they hope to apply to the minor are eligible, to maintain a plan for all minor requirements to be fulfilled, to complete a senior-year audit of minor requirements, and/or to seek answers to other advising questions.

English Undergraduate Studies Office
1128 Tawes Hall
7751 Alumni Drive
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-3825

Entering the Minor
The College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) has established a maximum enrollment in the Minor in Rhetoric. Students wishing to pursue the minor should check the ARHU minors page.

When enrollment in the minor is open, students can submit the online contact form to initiate the process of meeting with an advisor and officially declaring the minor.

University regulations specify that “to ensure appropriate academic advising, students who wish to pursue a minor should inform both the college responsible for their major and the unit offering the minor as early as possible, but in no case later than one full academic year before the expected date of graduation.” We recommend you seek admission to the minor and receive advising within the first six credits of your minor.

Dropping the Minor
If you no longer wish to pursue the Minor in Rhetoric, please contact Karen Lewis, Assistant Director of English Undergraduate Studies, to request that the minor be removed from your records.

For Instructors

Propose a Course
Proposals for the 2020-2021 academic year are due March 1, 2020.

UMD Communication and English instructors who would like to propose a new course for the Minor in Rhetoric should email the coordinators listed below. 

  1. A course description
  2. A brief explanation of how the course supports the minor’s vision to provide students with ways of seeing the world as a place open to change and skills for acting on its possibilities
  3. A course syllabus and/or brief answers to the following questions:
    • What required readings does the course use to teach students a rhetorical perspective?
    • What major assignment makes the course a better fit for the “Rhetorical Theory and Analysis of Discourse” course list OR the “Writing and Speaking Skills” course list?

Before submitting a proposal, it might be helpful to review the list of all courses currently approved in the minor.

Rhetoric Minor Coordinators

Carly Woods

Associate Professor & Co-Director of Graduate Studies (Recruitment/Admissions), Communication

2118 Skinner Building
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-6523