“Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion. This is not a function of any other art.” – Aristotle

Plato excelled in it, as did Socrates and Aristotle. And as lofty as it may seem, you too can count yourself as a “rhetor”—one who has mastered rhetoric—or, at the very least, sharpen your current rhetorical skills. We’ll explain how below, but let’s first examine the meaning of rhetoric.

The definition and style of rhetoric have evolved somewhat over the millennia since those great philosophic minds walked the earth. What began as a discipline centered around public speaking (often as part of political discourse) has come to mean, in simplest terms, a way of communicating in written or verbal form that’s convincing to the audience, which may consist of one or many people.

What’s also changed is the connotation of rhetoric, which today is often negative. Someone who is “all talk and no substance” or who uses too many words to say very little and provides no supporting action is said to be full of rhetoric. However, in the modern educational context, rhetoric is clearly an important discipline. Every individual can benefit from having strong rhetorical skills, and they’re crucial to both our professional and personal lives.

In formal education, rhetoric is often included as part of a communication program encompassing topics such as mass media, public relations, political communication, and intercultural communication. Though students may not necessarily pursue careers in those areas, they will develop rhetorical and other essential skills that will serve them well no matter where their life and career take them.

Master Rhetoric and Other Key Communication Concepts Online

Join history’s great philosophers—and today’s most successful professionals—in being an exceptional communicator. The University of Texas Permian Basin’s 100% online Bachelor of Arts in Communication program can provide you with a firm, thorough foundation in rhetoric through courses like:

These courses are part of a robust curriculum that also delves into public speaking, media, research methods, and interpersonal communication. Through the study of these topics—and a broad spectrum of communication electives and general education subjects—you’ll develop expertise that can help you in practically any profession you choose to pursue. Our BA in communication helps you develop strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as critical thinking and research skills, all of which are among the top talents sought by employers today.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer, best-selling author and influential entrepreneur

Studies published by Forbes reveal that more than 90% of business leaders surveyed said that “soft skills” like communication are as important as hard skills when seeking candidates for employment. Further, about the same number of business leaders stated that identifying job candidates that possess these skills was challenging. The U.S. Department of Labor concurs that business leaders are actively seeking these skills among potential hires.

The Flexibility of Online Learning

Our communication bachelor’s degree program is delivered in a 100% online, asynchronous format that gives you the flexibility to complete your coursework on your own schedule while giving any professional and personal commitments your full attention. What’s more, you can earn our respected degree from just about anywhere in the world. Whether you’re in Texas or in Tasmania, you can enjoy the same access to a quality education from UT Permian Basin. All you need is internet access and a compatible device. Your classes will feature the same curriculum taught by the same distinguished faculty who teach at the UTPB campus, and most classes are just eight weeks long.

Learn the indispensable art of rhetoric as you hone your broader communication expertise through our online BA in communication program!