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Articles on Speech:
   Major in Speech
   A future in Speech

Major in Speech

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“To …felicitously communicate requires that one’s mind not be a blank slate but already properly formed, disciplined and exercised.” ~Gregory B. Sadler

Have you ever heard of glossophobia? It is the fear of public speaking and affects an estimated 75% of Americans. In fact, fear of public speaking is our number one fear, surpassing even fear of loneliness and death! However, speech is also a college major chosen by many with the potential of opening doors into amazing career opportunities in a wide variety of fields, from education to business to government to broadcasting to journalism to politics to ministry to marketing to social services.

Speech, as a major, takes an in-depth, critical look at human communication in a variety of formats, medias and contexts. It is a broad-based liberal arts major that hones your communication and interpersonal skills. In this program you will sharpen your public speaking, form effective thought, write organized speeches, learn to tell captivating stories, conduct thorough research, understand how to tailor your messages for specific audiences, and develop and give persuasive arguments. Upon completion of this interdisciplinary major, you will not only gain something meaningful to say, you will be able to say it clearly, concisely and compellingly.

So beyond strong communication skills—written, verbal, etc.—what other skills and traits are necessary for success in this major? People skills and the ability to be a team player are definitely important as you will work in group settings and need to communicate effectively with diverse populations and to correctly “read” your changing audience. It is also vital that you be flexible and able to think, speak and act on your toes. Confidence and decisiveness are definitely valuable traits in this major! You will also find it helpful to possess creativity, time management and keen critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In addition, it is an asset to be the kind of learner who stays attuned to current world events and cultural shifts.

While completing core classes in the humanities and STEM areas, you can expect to take plenty of courses focused on the principles and practices of speech and public speaking. These classes will cover topics such as rhetoric, voice diction, persuasive speaking, acting and recitation. Depending on your desired career goals, you may use your electives to branch into specific areas of interest such as theater, business, politics or government. Some of the specific speech-related classes you might take include:

  • Creative Writing
  • Debate and Argumentation
  • Oral Interpretation
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Nonverbal Communication

Some students find a speech major to be a great stepping stone into ongoing learning and eventually obtain a master’s degree in a medically related area such as speech therapy or speech pathology. Other common outcomes include advanced degrees in law or counseling. But a bachelor’s degree in speech qualifies you for a whole host of career opportunities such as:

  • Actor
  • Speech writer
  • Lobbyist
  • Radio or TV announcer
  • Negotiator/mediator
  • Public relations specialist
  • News reporter
  • TV/movie/stage director
  • Grant proposal writer
  • Journalist
  • Press secretary
  • Editor, writer or copy editor

Speech is a wise degree choice in that it prepares you for far-ranging employment prospects. While some shy away from public speaking and the spotlight, others are created for that very place! Maybe you are one who shines brightly when given the chance to communicate in front of an audience. If this description sparks something in you, then maybe God is calling you to step into speech as your college major!