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Public Speaking Courses in Colleges: Best Options, Pros and Cons

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Public speaking is an important tool in every aspect of life, your academics, the workplace, social settings, and even family relationships.

Everyone who aims to be successful and powerful in their career and education needs this character trait; the ability to stand in front of a large crowd and command their attention or focus.

It not only increases your charisma, but it also exudes the confidence that will make you stand out among your peers.

As critical as it is to be able to do this, there are so many people who simply cannot muster the courage to do so.

Public speaking is one of the concepts that so many are afraid of, which is a contradiction, seeing how essential it is, especially in this age. This is why so many colleges with public speaking majors exist today.

Training yourself to speak publicly will go a long way in helping you develop yourself, build character, and erase self-doubts. As impressionable young adults, college is the best place to learn this trait and gain mastery of it before you start your career.

This article will explore how this could work and highlight some of the best colleges for public speaking. As top law school consultants, we are here to help you choose the best law schools.

Requirements for Public Speaking Colleges

You might be wondering, do colleges want public-speaking students? The answer is yes.

However, as of now, no public speaking colleges offer a degree in this course. However, students can take public speaking courses in programs that lead to degrees in many other disciplines. This could be in English, Performing Arts, Theology, Political Science, Public Relations, Law, and Social Science.

For students looking to make a career out of public speaking, the closest degree discipline close to this is Communications. What does this mean for you?

In such a program, you will take specialized courses that teach oral and non-verbal communication, media, advertising, and how to effectively converse with people and get your points across.

Speaking on the fundamentals of public speaking, Andrea Imafidon, Image and Branding Consultant, advised, “You must take the time to research your talking points and know your audience. Speaking is about having fun and giving others permission to do the same.”

In case you might be asking yourself, based on all these above points, what are the requirements for selecting colleges for public speaking:

  • Getting a degree in communication requires hard work and commitment because it is a broad program that offers comprehensive courses that span many fields. Students that only need to learn public speaking should look for a school or organization that offers a more focused specialization
  • One of the advantages of public speaking courses in college is that you have access to modern technology that aids the teaching process. By the way, this is another criterion to watch out for when selecting a college for this course.
  • As students interested in public speaking, you can also select colleges that make this a criterion. Why do some colleges require public speaking? Some schools require this because this trait is helpful in social and economic development, career building, and academic success.
  • Depending on how far you’re hoping to use public speaking as a career, you can decide to take an associate’s or Bachelor’s degree program that offers this course. However, a bachelor’s degree is more suited for managerial and promotional careers.

The Best College Choices for Public Speaking

Below, we will outline the schools and colleges that offer public speaking courses or degrees. Students who wish to offer this course can do so at either the graduate or undergrad level.

As students, you can meet your college admission consultants to figure out the best course of action. We have an article on top college admission consultants, and you can check it out for more information. Let’s get into it:

Stanford University

Stanford University, located in Stanford, California, is one of the largest universities in the United States of America. As a priority for engineering students, they offer ENGR 103: Public Speaking.

You’re probably wondering why an engineering undergrad needs public speaking and what use this course would be in their general career.

The truth is the world is changing, and now more than ever, the labor pool is widening, and graduates need to prove they can offer more than the next candidate.

So many ENGR students ask, “How hard is it to get an engineering job out of college?” Although we have a very extensive article on our website about this topic, we would like to quickly state that it is not as difficult as people think.

While STEM fields do not require public speaking or similar concepts, excellent communication is needed to share your scientific or technical findings.

Duke University

This is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina, with an acceptance rate of 8%. For prospects who are curious about how to interview for Duke admission, we have an article on this topic that explains all you need to know.

Prospective public speaking students can take THEATRST 248S, The Art of Public Speaking: The Natural Voice. It is typically offered in Fall/Spring and is open to graduates or undergraduates with different learning requirements.

Lessons will involve the development of unique voices, tones, resonators, readings and presentations.

Northwestern University

This university also offers a course in public speaking, which is given under a program in the Communication Studies degree. This module, “Strategic and Organizational Communication,” was created to help students develop the life skills necessary to engage the organizations important to their career and life goals.

Students of Northwestern university will also have the opportunity to extend their coursework through relevant labs and research groups as directed by the faculty.

There are also several students on campus looking for this same opportunity and can form support groups to make this possible.

Does an IB diploma help college admission? Especially in a school like Northwestern University. We have a comprehensive guide on our site where we put together useful details on how to get into these top colleges.

Michigan State University

This university has an acceptance rate of 76%, which makes it a good option for students looking to take public speaking courses. You can get in with a rolling admission vs regular decision, as the deadline is flexible for every applicant.

Is rolling admission bad? No. Between this and early/regular decisions, students ask questions about which is most suitable. Thankfully, we have an article on this topic that can also be found on our site.

MSU offers communication courses for everyone. You have options to choose from: conflict management and non-escalation, crucial conversations for mastering dialogues, a grammar refresher, and writing policies and procedures.

Wharton University of Pennsylvania

Another course that effectively wraps up the concept of public speaking is Marketing and Communication. You can take this at the University of Pennsylvania.

The dual concentration of these courses allows the University of Pennsylvania students who are concentrating on marketing to take four courses in the Annenberg School of Communication and to have this cluster of courses recognized on their transcript as a second concentration.

Students who wish to pursue a second concentration in communication must first declare a primary concentration in marketing.

Comparing These Colleges

Below is a table showing the general features and overview of these colleges and what to expect from each one.

Let’s dive in and see what we hope to gain from each one:

 College Type Lessons
Stanford University ENGR 103: Public Speaking ●       Introduction to speaking activities

●       Impromptu talks to rehearsed formal presentations

●       How to organize and write speeches, analyze audiences, create and use visual aids

●       Combat nervousness

●       Effectively deliver informative and persuasive speeches

●       Weekly class practice, rehearsals in one-on-one tutorials, videotaped feedback.

Duke University THEATRST 248S: The Art of Public Speaking ●       Reviews the seven stages of public speaking through games, interactive exercises, and videos

●       Lessons on speaking in any situation, from the start of your speech or presentation to its successful end.

●       Elements of establishing your purpose for speaking

●       Recognizing the need to consider your audience

●       key techniques for dealing with speech anxiety

●       How to handle difficult questions

●       Describe effective responses when things go wrong

Northwestern University Strategic and Organizational Communication ●       Theory, composition, delivery, and criticism of public speeches.

●       Ability to understand the organizations with which they are involved

●       Critical thinking about organizational innovation and technology.

●       Strategic communication methods in their module courses and their capstone internship experience.

●       Better insight into challenges involved in both managing and being managed within an organization.

Michigan State University Communication ●       Conflict management and non-escalation

●       Crucial conversations for mastering dialogues

●       Grammar refresher

●       Writing policies and procedures

University of Pennsylvania Marketing and Communication ●       The communication process

●       Effective methods of conveying information

●       Introduction to communication behavior

●       Media industries and societies

Extracurricular Options

If you want to learn public speaking outside the classroom, there are countless options available for you.

There are so many extracurricular resources and options that you can take advantage of, namely:

Summer Tutorials

During the summer, you will have more than enough time on your hands to acquire a new skill.

You can enroll in public speaking courses at Yale University to improve your understanding of the communication process and develop your skills as a public speaker or a critic of public discourse.

You will learn strategies for impromptu speaking, preparing and delivering presentations and speeches, and building confidence in oral expression.

Why go to Yale University? Read the article we have on our page about this topic to find out.

Debate Team

You can pick up many public speaking skills by joining a debate team in college. This is because debates require a lot of research and communication skills that are mandatory to pass your ideas across efficiently.

If you can hold your ground during a debate, stepping forward for a class or office presentation will be a breeze.

“You don’t become a great public speaker by sitting in your office thinking about speaking. You become a great public speaker by actually speaking. Speak everywhere, as often as you can,” said James Lopata, an Executive Leadership Coach.

Acting and Drama

Acting requires confidence that will help you develop your public speaking skills.

You can join the acting team in college and try your hands as a camera crew for a while before taking the bold step to standing in front of the camera for a role. Once you get over your initial feelings and jitters, you’ll be good to go.

The Pros and Cons of Public Speaking Courses in Colleges

In this article, we must also explore the advantages and disadvantages of public speaking courses in colleges and universities.

It’s true that there are two sides to every aspect of life, and you must have knowledge of either.


  • Great teachers and tutors. While you can take public speaking courses in non-profit organizations or elsewhere, you will find expert and professional teachers in colleges and universities.
  • Reduces anxiety. In public speaking classes, everyone wants the same thing, so it is easy to be courageous and be yourself. It is a safe environment.
  • Builds communication skills. In public speaking classes, you will also be taught how to converse orally and non-verbally in an efficient way.
  • Helps you become a better listener.
  • Improves language and grammar.


  • You quickly get familiar with the crowd. This might take out some of the novelty in it due to over-familiarity.
  • It is a controlled environment. These classes might not effectively prepare you for the spontaneity of an actual crowd.


If there’s a perfect time to learn all these skills and master your public speaking skills, then it’s in college.

It is the best time to take risks and hone life skills that will set you up and effectively build your career, no matter the niche. It is good to get out of your comfort zone, especially when it comes to self-development.

In this article, we can only hope you have learned a few lessons to make this possible. If you’re looking for courses to take on public speaking, check out the above colleges for suitable offers.


What degree is good for public speaking?

Since public speaking colleges never offer a degree in this course, students looking for this can opt for a degree where several public speaking courses are taught. The closest one is a degree in communication studies.

Here, you will learn all the necessary lessons to help you navigate this concept and build your confidence.

Is Public Speaking good for college?

Yes. There are so many beneficial outcomes to this, especially in college. For students, college is a different ballgame, which is why the high school doesn’t matter in the long run. We have an article discussing this topic on our blog.

However, for the development of social and academic balance, this is a required skill.

What is a Public Speaking College?

A Public Speaking college is one where that offers public speaking courses or programs to students who are looking to learn this skill or develop mastery of this concept.

These colleges, like the ones we listed above, don’t offer degrees in public speaking but offer a variety of courses that students can take instead of a different degree in degrees like Communication, Theology, Theatre Arts, etc.

Does Harvard Offer Public Speaking?

Yes, they do. There are several courses in this prestigious institution that students can take to learn this concept.

Some options are: Presenting with confidence, persuasive communication, public narrative, storytelling, and so on. You can browse through their courses to choose a suitable offer.


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