Communication and Rhetorical Studies

As a communication and rhetorical studies major, you will work closely with faculty to gain insight into how communication functions and learn to apply this knowledge with practice across various situations and contexts.


  • The CRS major empowers you to understand, evaluate, and practice effective communication in all of its various forms and contexts, whether it is between two people, in small groups, within an organization, through mass media or among people from different cultures.
  • You will study both communication and rhetoric in a fully integrated program with knowledge, theory, skills, etc. from both perspectives, resulting in a strong understanding of both the breadth and depth of the academic discipline.
  • The Organizational and Strategic Communication major will prepare students to work in areas of strategic messaging and management, such as employee relations, public relations, human resources, recruiting, political communication, social media management, project management, and more.
  • Students have access to valuable resources for developing their communication skills, like the Speech Communication Center and with the opportunity to join our Debate and Speech Team
  • Develop the skills to be an effective communicator across a variety of settings (public speaking, debate, advertising, public relations, healthcare, politics, etc.) preparing you for success in a wide range of professional fields.
  • Gain experience in the production, delivery and criticism of diverse forms of human communication. Learn to use your communication expertise ethically, personally, and professionally as a responsible citizen and community leader.
  • You will be connected to faculty experts and professional leaders through signature course assignments and projects to gain practical, hands-on experiences that allow you to apply your newly acquired knowledge and skills outside of the classroom. 
  • Since 2015, CRS majors have partnered with the Reynolds Consumer Products in Jacksonville, Illinois, on a number of organizational communication projects, and hundreds of CRS students over the past decade have participated in service-learning experiences or internships working with various non-profit organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Starhill Arboretum, the American Red Cross and Central Illinois Food Bank, just to name a few. 
  • According to the National Communication Association, a degree in communication and rhetorical studies offers nearly unlimited opportunities in a wide range of careers, graduate studies, community service, and personal development areas. A recent survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities shows that over 80 percent of employers say that effective written and oral communication skills are among the most important skills they consider when making hiring decisions.


The fundamental knowledge and skills learned through the CRS program will prepare you for any profession in which human communication plays a vital role. Alumni report many benefits of their education from enhanced communication skills to increased understanding of major concepts and theories. Graduates of the program become critical consumers and producers of ideas and information with the ability to understand the ethical responsibilities of communication. 

An increasing number of CRS graduates are choosing to pursue graduate study at some of the top programs in the country, at schools like Baylor University, Illinois State University, Indiana University, Northern Illinois University, Purdue University, St. Louis University, Syracuse University, Texas Tech University, Texas A & M University, University of Denver, University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana, West Virginia University, among others. 

Others are immediately starting successful careers in advertising, media (radio/television/broadcasting), journalism, public relations, business, management, education, government/politics, healthcare, international relations/negotiations, law, criminal justice, insurance, accounting, agriculture, speech pathology, and social services, just to name a few.