Meet your own interests and needs

The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies offers the bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in communication and rhetorical studies, which requires 120 credits. 

As a student in the department, you generally take 36 credits in communication and rhetorical studies, 54 credits in arts and sciences, and 30 credits in University-wide electives. This flexible framework gives you a broad educational foundation and allows you options to meet your own interests and needs.

For further information on the curriculum described below, visit Syracuse University’s online course catalog.

The Major (36 Credits)

The major in communication and rhetorical studies is comprised of 36 credits (12 courses). The following courses are core and are therefore required of all majors:

  • CRS 181 Concepts and Perspectives in Communication Studies
  • CRS 183 Concepts and Perspectives in Rhetorical Studies
  • CRS 225 Public Advocacy
  • CRS 287 Foundations of Inquiry in Human Communication

You can select any eight electives from the departmental curriculum.

Arts and Sciences Distribution (54 Credits)

You must take a total of 54 credits in arts and sciences. However, if you have a second major, an additional minor, or attend any study abroad programs for a semester, you are allowed to enroll in up to 57 credits in non-arts and sciences courses. This means that CRS majors who fall under one or more of the above categories are no longer required to pursue 54 credits in arts and sciences courses but are given greater flexibility in taking more non-arts and sciences courses. You are required in this case to take only the required distribution in arts and sciences (27 credits). This must include WRT 105, WRT 205, two humanities, two natural sciences, and two social science courses as well as satisfy the foreign language requirement at the 102 level (which usually means taking two courses: 101 and 102 of a given foreign language).

Required Distribution in Arts and Sciences (27 Credits)

  • WRT 105 Writing workshop I
  • WRT 205 Writing workshop II
  • Two humanities courses
  • Two science courses
  • Two social science courses
  • Foreign Language at the 101 and 102 levels

Electives in arts and sciences must total 27 credits.

Foreign language note: You also must show proficiency in a foreign language at a 102 level (which means that most students will have to enroll in 101 first and then move to 102, unless tested out). This proficiency can be satisfied either by taking courses or by exemption through testing for some or all of the language courses.

Proficiency is demonstrated through one of four ways:

  1. Students enroll in and pass the necessary courses (101 and 102) in any language offered by Syracuse University, including American Sign Language.
  2. Students transfer credits for a foreign language course (3 or 4 credit) earned at another university as long as it is commensurate with 102 proficiency.
  3. Students with foreign language proficiency place high enough on the placement exam to test out. Students either test into 101, 102, or 201. To test out completely out of the foreign language requirement, students must test into 201. CRS students who wish to be tested out at any level will need to do so in person with the Department of Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics. No online testing are acceptable for CRS majors.
  4. Those exempt from this requirement due to documented disability must take two culture-based courses, selected in consultation with and approved by the student’s advisor.

Note: Heritage speakers or those with a background in a foreign language need to take the placement exam.

General Electives (30 Credits)

You take 30 credits in general electives, which means that you can take any course from any unit to fulfill general elective credits.

Note: all internship credits are counted toward your 30 credits of general electives. They do not count as CRS credits for the major.

Your First Year

In your first year you begin laying the foundation for later study. You take CRS 181 Concepts and Perspectives in Communication Studies, CRS 225 Public Advocacy, and CRS 183 Concepts and Perspectives in Rhetorical Studies.

A series of first-year program workshops complements your coursework with guest speakers and forums on a variety of topics relevant to the first-year experience. These topics include adapting to college life, time management, internships, study abroad, dual majors and minors, career development, and community service, as well as an interactive alumni panel, where you meet returning alumni representing a variety of career paths.

You also begin your studies in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences, which eventually make up almost half of your coursework. We feel strongly that a broad education in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences complements your communication studies and serves you well throughout your lifetime.

Combining Programs

CRS majors with a second major, a minor in another program, or who have studied abroad for one semester must comply only with the arts and sciences distribution (two science, two social science, two humanities, WRT 105, WRT 205, and the required language courses or proficiency thereof). Put differently, they are not required to take the 27 credits in arts and sciences electives.