University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Department of Rhetoric offers an interdisciplinary PhD program focusing on the study of rhetorical theory and the interaction of the historical concerns of rhetoric with contemporary critical theory across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Crucial to the department's approach is an investigation into the rhetorical constitution of the arguments of such fields as law, politics, literature, philosophy, performative practices, global studies, critical race studies, and science, technology, and media studies. The interests of faculty and graduate students thus range throughout these fields and are informed by a critical interest in the rhetoric of disciplines. During their first two years, graduate students explore major areas in the history and theory of rhetoric and pursue a variety of special topics in seminars. Beginning in their fourth semester, they concentrate in greater depth on preparation for their doctoral qualifying examinations and dissertation research.

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Admission to the University

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. A complete list of graduate academic departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

Where to apply?

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.

Doctoral Degree Requirements


Courses Required
RHETOR 200Classical Rhetorical Theory and Practice4
RHETOR 205Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Practice4
RHETOR 220Rhetoric Graduate Proseminar2
RHETOR 221Rhetoric Graduate Research Seminar2
Four elective graduate seminars (three in Rhetoric and one outside of Rhetoric)
RHETOR 375Teaching Rhetoric2



Contact Information

Department of Rhetoric

7408 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1415

Fax: 510-642-8881

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Department Chair

James Porter


Rhetoric Graduate Advising Office

Graduate Advisor

7407 Dwinelle Hall


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