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Minor Rhetorics

Course Code: LETMIN09
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King
Today, rhetoric is everywhere and persuasive speakers and writers are much in demand. Attention is scarce and to stand out in the restless and saturated (online) world, you need both a good message and the skills to sell it.

The Rhetorics Minor teaches you how to persuade responsibly in a world filled with fake news, spin doctors, and misleading advertisement. The future needs inspiring leaders equipped with the rhetorical knowledge to solve challenges and counter manipulation. After all, those not skilled in rhetoric are prone to become its victims. The Rhetorics Minor provides you with the tools to become the type of orator you aspire to be.

In this minor, you will explore rhetoric as a theory, practice, and way of life. You will learn about the rich history of the field and important theories and persuasive techniques. The minor is practice-oriented: you immediately put into practice what you’ve learned and train essential skills like debating and improvisation to become an effective speaker. In addition, you will learn to judge other people’s attempts to persuade and manipulate you and how to counter this.

This minor is imagined by and developed with the help of students (read more in the Ukrant).

Interdisciplinary project-based teamwork

The heart of the minor consists of the Rhetoric Lab, in which you employ your rhetorical skills in an interdisciplinary team to work on a rhetorical challenge for an organisation, client, or stakeholder in or outside de university. This collaborative project will teach you to work together with students and clients from diverse backgrounds on a professional level and make a real impact in everyday society. The Rhetoric Lab will make you a persuasive, eloquent, and interdisciplinary team player ready to take on the challenges of the next decade.

Students who complete the minor

  • are inspiring master rhetoricians who know and put into practice a broad arsenal of persuasive techniques
  • can effectively present their position to a diverse audience
  • can critically engage with persuasion in politics, media, science etc. and distinguish manipulation from persuasion
  • can work in an interdisciplinary project team and use their skills to solve and meaningfully impact a rhetorical challenge in society

Overview of the courses

Below you can find an overview the course units within the minor Rhetorics. The extensive course descriptions are available in Ocasys.

Rhetoric Lab

10 ECTS, Compulsory, semester 1 (a&b)
The Rhetoric Lab is the project-based core module of the Rhetorics Minor in which you employ the rhetorical skills that you acquired in Secrets of Rhetoric and your specialization course in an interdisciplinary team and a project of your own choosing. Under the supervision of mentors and instructors, you will work on a rhetorical problem or challenge for an organization, client, stakeholder or cause in or outside the university. The first part of the course focuses on team-building and setting the goals of the project. Together you will decide what problem you want to work and identify the knowledge, skills, and material you need to complete the project. Next, you will consult with the client/organization/stakeholder, execute your project and, at the end, present your suggested course of action and how this will impact society. At the end of this course, you will be able to employ your rhetorical skills in different context to make a meaningful impact in society.

Secrets of Rhetoric

10 ECTS, Compulsory, semester 1a
This course provides you with the tools, theory, and techniques to become a vir bonus dicendi peritus , or good person, speaking well. In this course, you will explore rhetoric as both a theory, practice, and way of life. You will familiarize yourself with the theory of rhetoric by learning about its rich history and important classical and modern theories and concepts. At the same time, you will immediately put into practice what you’ve learned in the tutorials, where you learn and train essential skills and attitudes to become an effective and excellent speaker. Finally, you reflect on the rhetoric’s potential for manipulation and learn to critically assess and, if needs be, unmask others’ rhetoric.

Politics and Media

10 ECTS, Choice, semester 1b
In this specialization course, you will explore the role of rhetoric and its challenges and potential in the world of politics and media. You will analyze political speeches, campaigns, advertisement as well as traditional and online journalism to deepen your understanding of the particular demands of political rhetoric in contemporary mediacracy. You will build on and expand your rhetorical know-how garnered in Secrets , and familiarize yourself with theories like (media) framing, constitutive rhetoric, and narrative story-telling. As always, you will put this knowledge in practice by developing and executing your own rhetorical project.  

Science Communication

10 ECTS, Choice, semester 1b
The course examines the textual dynamics and the social and cultural consequences of rhetorics on understandings of science and broader public discussion about science. Built upon existing knowledge base of rhetorics, science, and communication, the course examines how scientists communicate the processes and findings of their work to the public and how the public engages with science through the following means/spaces:

(a) Popular Science magazines

(b) Science events (e.g., science cafes, festivals, art and science events, famelab, science shops); and,

(c) Video (e.g., documentaries, YouTube)

The aim of the course unit is to provide students with an understanding of the different forms of science communication (oral, written, visual/non-written) and the opportunity to practice those through practical work as well as the assignments. This class supports students to develop understandings about the state of the art of the field of science communication and to develop the abilities needed to communicate science effectively in a variety of real-world contexts. In the course we will examine how different audiences shape the way science is communicated and we will develop a set of best practices for effective science communication, which students will then apply in their own science communication projects.


The timetables will be available soon.


Students have to register for the whole minor (between 18 May and 8 July) as well as for the course units of their choice within the minor (between 20 June and 8 July) via Progress. The course code is: LETMIN09

Contact and information

For more information please contact dr. J. Olthof, Minor Coordinator. This flyer presents the Minor information in a compact overview.

Please note

This minor is an interdisciplinary project-based program imagined by students in the University Council and currently in the last stages of construction. This means that small changes may still be made to improve it. If this happens, students will be informed about this via this webpage and via Ocasys.

Last modified:27 May 2022 4.44 p.m.