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Graduate Program Overview

The M.A. in Communication Studies has two program options and can be completed as a full-time or as a part-time student. Both require 36 credit hours.In addition, the required courses for both program options is COM 501 and COM 502. For both options, students are required to take an additional 15 credits The first is an applied curriculum in which two courses, COM 501 and COM 502, are required, and 15 credits of communication studies graduate-level offerings. All students take written comprehensive exams.

The first option is an applied curriculum where an additional 15 credits of course work are selected to allow a focus on the application of communication to a specific area, such as administration, management, teaching and training and development. These can be communication studies courses, or they can be graduate courses in other campus programs. This program is envisioned as a terminal degree that may provide the opportunity for practicing professionals to sharpen their skills or change careers. The program also should help those who have not yet entered the job market by increasing their competence in communication and an applied area of their choice.

The second option is a thesis program that will provide students with the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skill needed to further research interests or to gain entry into Ph.D. programs in communication or related areas. With this option, students take 9 additional credits of graduate work that can be selected from within the program or from other programs on campus. Students also take two sections of thesis (COM 601 and COM 602) to complete the degree.

The courses offered in the M.A. in communication studies are graduate-level seminars that require fundamental knowledge of communication theory, research, and knowledge of scholarly methods of inquiry. Individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in speech communication or communications in an accredited institution and who have maintained a B average or better should have the requisite knowledge and ability to be successful in the courses that comprise the program. Others, particularly those who have earned degrees in related fields such as English, psychology, and sociology, may be required to complete prerequisite undergraduate courses in communication based on an analysis of their undergraduate transcripts. Transcript analyses and possible prerequisites will, in all probability, be required for students who apply to the program with degrees in unrelated disciplines.

Non-Thesis/Applied Curriculum Option (36 credits)

1. Required Core (21 credits)

COM 501: Theoretical Perspectives on Human Communication(3)
COM 502: Communication Research Methods (3)
15 credits selected from departmental offerings

2. Applied Courses (15 credits)

These courses are to be selected from other departments or from communication studies courses. A three-credit or six-credit graduate internship (COM 598) may be selected upon successful completion of the required core but requires graduate coordinator approval.

Thesis option (36 credits)

1. Required Core (27 credits)

COM 501: Theoretical Perspectives on Human Communication(3)
COM 502: Communication Research Methods (3)
COM 601: Communication Studies Thesis 1 (3)
COM 602: Communication Studies Thesis 2 (3)
15 credits selected from departmental offerings

2. Applied Courses (9 credits)

These courses are to be selected from other departments or from communication studies courses.

Comprehensive Examinations

After the completion of all course work, non-thesis and thesis students will take a comprehensive written examination in three areas. Thesis students also will defend their theses orally.