Academic Residency Requirement

To be enrolled as a full-time student, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units per semester, every semester until they advance to Candidacy.

Required Courses

Rhetoric 200 Classical Rhetorical Theory and Practice
Rhetoric 205 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
Rhetoric 375 Pedagogy
Rhetoric Research Seminar
Rhetoric Proseminar 

Year 1 Review

Review of student’s progress with Head Graduate Advisor and Student Mentor

Year 2 Review 

Review of student’s progress and proposed Qualifying Exam fields with Head Graduate Advisor and two faculty of the student’s choice, at least one of whom is Rhetoric faculty. 


Grading and Independent Study

All required courses must be taken for a letter grade with at least a B average. Only courses graded A, B, C (+/-), Pass, or Satisfactory may be applied to degree requirements. Courses graded below C- do not yield unit credit toward a graduate degree, irrespective of the overall grade point average. No more than one-third of the Master’s program may be fulfilled by courses graded Pass or Satisfactory. Graduate students are required to maintain a B (or 3.0) grade point average. Graduate courses in the Rhetoric 300 and 600 series do not count toward residency or unit requirements. Courses in the 600 series are graded Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory (S or U). Special Study (Rhetoric 295) and Independent Study (Rhetoric 299) may be graded on an S/U basis or letter-graded. Rhetoric 295 may be repeated for a maximum of 6 units. All graduate students enrolled in independent study courses (295) who have not yet been advanced to candidacy for the PhD will be required to submit either a brief description of the research completed for the course together with a bibliography of the books read or a paper written for the course. A copy of all the material submitted for each independent or special study course will be placed in the student’s file.


Foreign Language Requirements

Complete Foreign Language Requirement ideally by fall of the 3rd year. The language exam must be completed before QE orals are taken, in keeping with Graduate Division policy.

To fulfill the PhD foreign language requirement students must demonstrate advanced reading knowledge in one language either by course work (2 semesters at the upper-division level or the equivalent at UC or elsewhere, taken within four years of admission to the PhD program at Berkeley*) or through a two-hour long written examination. The examination will consist in a translation into English of a passage of around 500 words and a paraphrase of the argument of a second passage from another text likewise of around 500 words. A dictionary may be consulted. Examinations will be conducted by the Rhetoric Department whenever possible, and otherwise by another department, a graduate group, or an outside agency upon approval by the HGA. The language requirement must be completed before advancing to the oral QE. 

*A petition to Grad Div for coursework taken more than four years prior to admission to the PhD program is possible, at the discretion of the HGA.
NB: This is the minimum standard for completing the language requirement for all students. Students are encouraged to qualify in languages that are closest to their research foci. Those students who need more extensive language skills to pursue their research projects should seek advice early on in their graduate careers from their mentors and advisors on how best to achieve this goal    

Optional MA Degree

An MA degree is optional following the Year 2 Review. A terminal MA, if chosen, is contingent on fulfilling all requirements for the first two years of the program. The MA degree requirements must be fulfilled by completing either an MA thesis or MA exam. The MA thesis can be fulfilled with approval by a committee of three faculty, at least two of whom must be Rhetoric faculty. The MA exam is set and graded by two faculty members, at least one of whom must be Rhetoric faculty.