The Department of Rhetoric at Berkeley trains its majors in the history of rhetorical theory and practice, grounded in argumentation and in the analysis of the symbolic and institutional dimensions of discourse. Rhetoric’s inherent multi-disciplinary subject matter makes it an ideal major for students seeking to obtain the sort of liberal arts education that will prepare them for the diversity of careers requiring advanced critical thinking and communications skills, such as law, business, civil service, education, medicine, science, and more. The department offers both a pragmatic understanding of the elements of rhetorical analysis–with special attention to logic, style, tropes, figures, and images–and a thorough grounding in the historical development of these elements in rhetorical theory, making possible a disciplined grasp of the contemporary character of rhetoric and language.  Through its emphasis on the history and theory of rhetoric, the department provides an understanding of the format of contemporary theories of argument and interpretation as well as an opportunity, within this framework, to explore the role of persuasion in pragmatic and aesthetic contexts.


Faculty Advisors:

7309 Dwinelle Hall
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7325 Dwinelle Hall
Undergraduate Major Advisor:
Grayson Johnston
7406 Dwinelle Hall 
Please email Grayson at to schedule an appointment.