Course Descriptions

The following are brief descriptions of the courses offered by the Rhetoric and Communications Department.

RCS 100 Fundamentals of Public Speaking (4) Emphasizes developing performance skills through graded speaking activities. Stresses basic public communication theory and the organization and presentation of oral and written materials


RCS 120 Introduction to Communication Theory and Practice (4) Introduces the field of communication studies, its history, major theories, and major contexts of study including interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, organizational communication, public communication, and group communication.
RCS 210 Interpersonal Communication (4) Introduces the theory and practice of interpersonal communication. Emphasizes actively practicing interpersonal communication skills through graded exercises. The student is encouraged to develop increased awareness of the effect one’s communicating has on others and the self within close relationships.
RCS 220 Intercultural Communication (4) Examines the similarities and differences in the communication patterns of cultures. Study of the way these patterns reveal themselves in values, beliefs, assumptions, and ways of perceiving. Practice in improving communication between members of different and similar cultures.
RCS 230  Science Communication (4) Introduces the theory and practice of argumentation and theory, emphasizing science and communication, and how to communicate effectively to the public. *Science communication is only offered in the January interterm.
RCS 240 Persuasion and Social Influence (4) Introduces the study of messages that move humans to act. Emphasis on persuasive, argumentative appeals and strategy selection. Attention to theories of human attitude change, compliance-gaining, and interpersonal influence.
RCS 250 Spin Doctoring (4) Examines how we recognize the differences between belief, truth, and fact by looking at fake news, trigger warnings, and cancel culture. The class discusses boundaries and guidelines for all to engage with each other through difficult, but necessary conversations and prescribe ideas that will hopefully get to the ultimate goal of understanding and accepting one another.
RCS 260 From Plato to Hashtags: Intro to Rhetoric (4) Introduces rhetorical history and theory from Greek antiquity to the present, including rhetorics of the Americas. Students will analyze contemporary multimodal (written, oral, visual) performances and arguments using rhetorical theories, in order to understand how individuals and groups communicate belief and action in civic life and in other public discourses.
RCS 265 Decolonial Rhetorics (4) Introduces theories and practices of decolonial rhetorical traditions (e.g., LatinX, indigenous) that challenge Eurocentric thinking and influence. Fulfills LVE 100.
RCS 300 Advanced Argumentative Writing for Public Discourse (4) Covers theories and practices of written argumentation and public sphere theory. Students compose arguments on contemporary issues, engaging with public audiences through written, digital, and oral modes.
RCS 310 Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication (4) Examines the more dysfunctional aspects of relationships including abuse, criticism, infidelity, hurt, forgiveness, and relational transgressions. Attention to theories and models pertaining to the darker aspects of communication within interpersonal relationships.
RCS 330 Interviewing Principles and Practices (4) Examines the communication principles that characterize formal interviews. The influence of roles, verbal and nonverbal communication, strategies, and ethics will be considered for interviews in a variety of settings. Students will participate in a variety of practice interviews.
RCS 350 Argumentation and Debate (4) Introduces rhetorical principles of argumentation in theory and practice. Novice and experienced debaters will practice using the World Championship Debating format.
RCS 360 Leadership Communication (4) Using the tenets of interpersonal communication, leadership communication cultivates a theoretical and practical understanding of leadership practice. Leadership communication is designed for students desirous of becoming authentic leaders in their community, organizations, or any specific component requiring some form of leadership. Fulfills LVE 305.
RCS 380 Feminist Rhetorics (4) Examines the rhetorical strategies of activists during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rds waves of U.S. feminist movements. The course explores tactics feminists used to confront ideological opposition as well as the cultural contexts and historical developments of feminism in American culture.
RCS 390 Queer Theory and BIPOC LGBTQ Rhetoric Introduces students to the study of sexuality, queer theory, and the interdisciplinary field of queer and LGBTQ+ studies. The course historicizes Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) LGBTQ+ scholarship and activism and provides a conceptual framework for understanding contemporary LGBTQ+ issues.
RCS 400 Voices of Revolution (4) Examines historical speeches at the academic intersection of historical contextualization and applied rhetorical theory. In the process, the application of devices and mechanisms employed in these speeches will be analyzed, along with their effect in emboldening a new generation of orators to take their place on the podium, behind the lectern, and in creating their own history.
RCS 420 Health Communication (4) Introduces theory and research on communication within the context of health, illness and medicine. This course examines such subjects as cultural conceptions of health and illness, patient provider communication, end of life communication and how media influences perceptions about healthcare.
RCS 450 Political Communication (4) Focuses on various theories, communication concepts, and academic research in relation to political speeches, public discourse, debates, the election cycle, and the binary discourse that relates from historical to the contemporary political structure.
RCS 460 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (4) Teaches theory and methods of rhetorical criticism. Students will read the criticism of other rhetorical critics, apply methods of criticism to material provided by the text and professor, and produce original pieces of rhetorical criticism.
RCS 499 Senior Project (4) Students will write a thesis that demonstrates the skills and knowledge attained over the course of their academic tenure both at the University of La Verne and within the department of Rhetoric and Communication Studies. Under the advisement of their faculty advisor, students will choose a topic within the Rhetoric and Communication Studies field and will write a research based paper to be presented to faculty members within the department at the end of the semester.