In many professions, public speaking skills are essential. Although many people are deathly afraid of speaking to an audience, talented public speakers are more likely to shine in a job interview or make a big sale. Good public speaking takes training, however. As a result, many colleges and universities have resolved to make sure their students have plenty of opportunities to practice speaking to a crowd.
General Education Requirements
Many universities require some form of public speaking class for all their degrees. General education requirements in oral communication aren't universal, but many schools have adopted them. George Mason University, for example, requires all students to take either public speaking or interpersonal and group communication. Texas Tech University also requires an oral communication course as part of its core curriculum. It allows students to take any one of eight different courses to fulfill the requirement, but all involve some form of public speaking.
Communication studies is a broad academic subject that includes interpersonal communication, organizational communication and a handful of other subfields. Most universities offering a communication studies major require their students to complete a public speaking course. Sacramento State University, for example, requires students to pass a course on public speaking or persuasive speaking. Those courses also fulfil the school's general education requirement in oral communication. Another example is Boston College. It requires all communication majors to complete its introductory public speaking course.
Public relations professionals serve of as the public face of companies and organizations. They often facilitate press conferences and give public addresses for their clients or employers. Most colleges and universities therefore require students majoring in public relations to take a public speaking course. Eastern Tennessee State University, for example, requires all PR students to complete its basic public speaking course. PR students may also be required to practice speaking in front of television cameras.
Rhetoric, the study of communication and persuasion, dates back as an academic subject to ancient Greece. Today, many liberal arts colleges offer a major in rhetoric. Typically, rhetoric majors must complete a public speaking requirement of some kind. Willamette University, a small liberal arts college in Oregon, requires students to take either public speaking or a class on argumentation and debate. Bates College in Maine also requires a public speaking course in its rhetoric department. Classes in speech and acting fulfil the requirement.
- Eastern Tennessee State University: Mass Communication Major, B.A.
- Sacramento State University: Communication Studies
- George Mason University: General Education Requirements
- Boston College: Major Requirements: Communication Department
- Texas Tech University: Core Curriculum
- Bates College: Rhetoric: Academic Program
- Willamette University: Rhetoric: Program Information
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images