Master of Arts in Communication

Master of Arts Program Requirements

Core Courses

Communication theory and research are the foundation of graduate study in the department. After being oriented to graduate study within the program, students are required to engage coursework in strategic communication theory and at least one of the two required courses in methodology, qualitative or quantitative research methods in communication, prior to engaging any other coursework in the program.

Focal Courses

Upon completion of foundational coursework in the program, students engage focal courses in the discipline. As a discipline, communication focuses on the study and the practice of principled message negotiation within varied contexts. To ensure adequate exposure to these dimensions of communication, students complete two courses within each of the following focal areas: Principles, Practices and Contexts. Principles courses focus on the overarching philosophical, ethical, and methodological issues relevant to the study and practice of communication in multiple contexts. Practices courses focus on the strategic application of communication principles to the creation of messages within particular contexts. Contexts courses focus on the places, spaces, situations, and modalities within which principled communication has significant impact.

Completion of a Degree Capstone

To culminate studies toward the M.A. in Communication degree, students must complete a capstone experience by successfully completing either a comprehensive examination plus 5-6 additional elective course credits (students may opt to take two 1-credit courses along with Orientation (COM 8008) instead of a 3-credit elective course under the advisement of their graduate faculty mentor) or a written six-credit Master’s Thesis. The details of the capstone requirement are listed below.

Capstone Requirement Options

Non-thesis Option: After completing a minimum of 21 credits, students may apply to complete a written com­prehensive examination. The examination includes questions from the following three areas: Strategic Communication Theory (COM 8100), either Qualitative Research Methods (COM 8001) or Quantitative Research Methods (COM 8002) and a third elective course. Students may be invited to orally defend their written responses in order to demonstrate sufficient competency.

Thesis Option: Students may apply for permission from the program to submit a written thesis and complete an oral defense as satisfaction of the capstone requirement. Work on the thesis will earn the equivalent of two courses (6 credits) toward the degree. The thesis project will be designed and completed under the supervision of an advisor, who must be graduate faculty in communication, and who is assisted by a committee of at least two other faculty members or professional consultants, one of whom must be from Communication. Students must have completed all required courses and a total of 21 credits and have formed a thesis committee approved by the program prior to regis­tering for thesis credits.

In summary, the M.A. degree requires completion of at least 33 credit hours as follows:

Required courses (10 credit hrs.):

  • COM 8008 - Orientation to Graduate Study (1 hr.)
    and
  • COM 8100 - Strategic Communication Theory (3 hrs.)
    and
  • COM 8001 - Qualitative Research Methods (3 hrs.)
    and
  • COM 8002 - Quantitative Research Methods (3 hrs.)

Note: COM 8008, COM 8100 and either COM 8001 or COM 8002 must be completed prior to or concurrent with any other course

At l east two focal courses in each of the following areas (5-6 hours; students may opt to take two 1-credit courses along with Orientation (COM 8008) instead of a 3-credit elective course under the advisement of their graduate faculty mentor):

Principles

(focus on the overarching philosophical, ethical, and methodological issues relevant to the study and practice of communication in multiple contexts.)

Practices

(focus on the strategic application of communication principles to the creation of messages within particular contexts.)

Contexts

(focus on the places, spaces, situations, and modalities within which principled communication has significant impact.)

Completion of Degree Capstone: either a comprehensive examination plus 5-6 additional elective course credits (students may opt to take two 1-credit courses along with Orientation (COM 8008) instead of a 3-credit elective course under the advisement of their graduate faculty mentor) or a written Master’s Thesis (6 credits).

Additional Notes:

  • With program approval, students may substitute up to 2 graduate courses (up to 6 credits) from outside of Graduate Studies in Communication that productively complement program offerings.
  • No more than 2 independent study courses (up to 6 credits) will be counted toward M.A. degree requirements.
  • No more than 3 one-credit courses will be counted toward M.A. degree requirements including the required one-credit Orientation.

Master of Arts Program Courses

Core Courses

  • COM 8008 – Orientation to Graduate Study
  • COM 8100 – Strategic Communication Theory
  • COM 8001 – Qualitative Research Methods
  • COM 8002 – Quantitative Research Methods

Principles Courses

  • COM 8004 - Communication Directed Study
  • COM 8005 - Communication Special Topics
  • COM 8200 - Teambuilding & Small Group
  • COM 8207 - Organizational Communication
  • COM 8210 - Leadership Communication
  • COM 8211 - Communication & Identity
  • COM 8212 - Communication & Advocacy
  • COM 8301 - Strategic Public Relations
  • COM 8304 - Journalism
  • COM 8307 - Visual Communication & Culture
  • COM 8308 – Theories & Effects of Mass Com
  • COM 8309 - Public Opinion
  • COM 8310 - New Media

Practices Courses

  • COM 8004 - Communication Directed Study
  • COM 8005 - Communication Special Topics
  • COM 8102 - Persuasion & Advocacy
  • COM 8203 – Org. Research & Consulting
  • COM 8206 – Diversity & Organizing
  • COM 8208 - Public Communication Campaigns
  • COM 8300 - Public Relations Writing
  • COM 8302 - Advertising
  • COM 8306 - Media Production
  • COM 8320 - Digital Media Design
  • COM 8009 - Personal Promotion*
  • COM 8010 – Becoming an Academic*
  • COM 8011 - Health Promotion Messages*
  • COM 8314 - Photoshop*
  • COM 8315 - Video Shooting Lab*
  • COM 8316 - Audio Production*
  • COM 8317 - Basic Web Design*
  • COM 8318 - Developing Crisis Communication Materials*
  • COM 8401 - Special Topics in Qualitative Research*
  • COM 8402 - Special Topics in Quantitative Research*
  • COM 8403 - Special Topics in Applied Organizational Communication*

* One-credit seminar. May take two 1-credit courses along with Orientation (COM 8008) instead of a 3-credit elective course to fulfill degree requirements

Contexts Courses

  • COM 8003 - Internship in Communication
  • COM 8004 - Communication Directed Study
  • COM 8005 - Communication Special Topics
  • COM 8101 - Performance Studies
  • COM 8201 - Health Communication
  • COM 8204 - Conflict & Negotiation
  • COM 8205 - Intercultural Communication
  • COM 8209 - International Public Relations
  • COM 8303 - Mass Media Industries
  • COM 8305 - Media Literacy
  • COM 8319 - Cultural Studies
  • COM 8321 - Critical Studies in Advertising

Capstone Requirements

Non-thesis Option: During the final semester, the student completes comprehensive written and oral examinations under the supervision of an advisor, assisted by a committee of at least two other departmental faculty.

Thesis Option: Students receiving permission from the Director of the Graduate Program submit a written thesis and complete an oral defense as partial satisfaction of the Capstone requirements. Work on the thesis will earn the equivalent of two courses (6 credits) toward the degree, and also substitutes for the written portion of the comprehensive examination. The thesis project will be designed and completed under the supervision of an advisor, and assisted by a committee of at least two other faculty, one of whom must be from Communication.

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