Graduate Advising > Communication Studies MA

Communication Studies, M.A. - Advising

Staff Advisor

We are here to help!  E-mail with questions related to policies and procedures to help you navigate graduate school successfully. Many of the answers to your questions may be on this website and in the MACS Program Handbook, please review both carefully.

Faculty Advisor

Meeting with a faculty advisor is one of the most important elements of graduate college.   Your advisor can help you in selecting the proper courses, developing your plan of study, and, more generally, in understanding the complexities of graduate-level education.   For MACS students the program director is your initial faculty advisor and will serve as your advisor throughout the entire program. However during the course of your studies you may identify another faculty member who is a good match for your particular interests and emphasis. In this instance we encourage you to approach that faculty member to serve as your advisor, making sure you formally record this change on your plan of study (POS).  You are required to meet with your faculty advisor to discuss your POS, most notably in preparation for submitting your first formal POS (refer to the Handbook for details).
Having the director serve as your initial or permanent advisor ensures you have access to advising from the moment you join the program through to your graduation. We also understand that identifying an advisor can take time and making contact with him or her can be anxiety-producing. As a MACS students, you have the choice of completing your program with the director as your advisor or taking some time to identify an alternative advisor.
A summary of this is provided below:

  1. The MACS director serves as advisor.
  2. If you identify another faculty member who you would like to serve as your advisor, make arrangements to meet with them to discuss your interests and their availability for mentoring duties.  Changes in advisor must be officially recorded via an up-date of your plan of study (POS).
  3. You should meet with your faculty advisor to discuss your POS in detail.

How and When to Apply

Request Information

Schedule a Visit

Important Policies and Procedures


Core Readings

The MACS program has a set of core readings that cover a range of perspectives faculty consider pertinent to the study, theory, and practice of communication, advocacy and/or social technologies. Students are recommended to read these early in the program. These also comprise the required readings for the exam, which requires the student to integrate materials from at least three of these readings into their exam answers.

Dahlgren, P. (2012). Social media and counter-democracy: The contingences of participation. In E. Tambouris, A. Macintosh, and Øystein Sæbø (Eds.). Electronic Participation (pp. 1-12). New York: Springer.

Hartnett, S. J. (2010). Communication, social justice, and joyful commitment. Western Journal of Communication, 74(1), 68–93.

Olson, K. M. (2008). The practical importance of inherency analysis for public advocates: Rhetorical leadership in framing a supportive social climate for education reforms. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 36 (2), 219-241.

Scholz, S. J. (1998)Peacemaking in domestic violence: From an ethics of care to an ethics of advocacy. Journal of Social Philosophy, 29 (2), 46-48.

Tufecki, Z. (2013). “Not this one”: Social movements, the attention economy, and microcelebrity networked activism. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(7): 848-870.

van Dijk, T. A. (1999). Editorial: Discourse and racism. Discourse & Society, 10(2), 147–148.

Winner, L. (1986). Do artifacts have politics? In The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology (19-39). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Zompetti, J. P. (2006). The role of advocacy in civil society. Argumentation, 20, 167–183.


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study (iPOS) functions as a contract between the student, the academic unit, and Graduate College.  Students must submit their iPOS by the time they have enrolled for 50 percent of the minimum credit hours required for their degree program.
As an MACS student, the iPOS must contain the following degree requirements and list at least one faculty advisor:

Core Courses (9 Credit Hours)

CMN 502 Theory and Practice in Communication and Persuasion OR CMN 522: Argumentation and Advocacy
CMN 505 Methods in Applied Communication Research
CMN 506 Humanistic Inquiry and Field Research in Communication


Electives (21 Credit Hours)

The elective hours will be comprised predominantly of MACS courses (those designated in the course calendar with the CMN prefix, see the list provided in the MACS Elective Courses section of the handbook.

Culminating Experience

Written Comprehensive Exam
Optional Applied Project or Thesis

Please review the Program of Study Guidelines in the MACS Program Handbook for more information.
Written Comprehensive Exam (Required)
All students in the MACS program are required to complete a Written Comprehensive Exam.  The objective of the comprehensive examination is for students to demonstrate “mastery”.

Please review the Written Comprehensive Exam section of the MACS Program Handbook for more information.
Thesis or Applied Project (Optional)
Depending on academic and career goals the thesis or applied project elective is designed for students who desire to thoroughly investigate a particular topic of interest through an extensive independent research project.  Students interested in either option should consult the MACS Program Handbook and discuss with their faculty advisor early in their program.


Individualized Instruction
Advanced students in the MACS program with specialized and well-developed topics may choose to take CMN 580; Practicum, CMN 590: Reading and Conference, or CMN 592:Research as an individualized instruction course, working with a faculty member independently.  Please refer to the MACS Program Handbook for additional policies.

After consulting with the faculty member with whom you want to work, please complete the Online Individualized Instruction Form.  After completing the form, it may take several days to receive the line number to register.

Please submit the request to complete an individualized instruction course two weeks prior to the start of any academic semester.
If you are interested in completing an Internship for academic credit, please review and complete the Graduate Studies Internship Packet.

Applied Project  or Thesis Registration

To be eligible to enroll in CMN 593 Applied Project or CMN 599 Thesis, the student must:

  • Download and complete (with the required signature of the faculty chair) the MACS Application to Register form

                        Download an Applied Project Application to Register

                        Download a Thesis Application to Register

  • Email AND copy (i.e. cc) the MACS program director
  • Upon completion of above steps, receive a course permission override from the graduate staff advisor to enroll in the course.

Ed & Judy Lynn Scholarship

Each academic year the Ed and Judy Lynn Scholarship provides financial assistance to newly admitted graduate students enrolled in the Masters of Arts in Communication Studies (MACS) program.  Students receiving a Lynn Scholarship are engaged academic leaders and embrace the values of Ed Lynn, which include a lifelong ethic of hard work, leadership, personal accountability, and a commitment to helping others develop their potential.  They are expected to work closely with a MACS faculty mentor on projects related to teaching, research, or community service.  This commitment normally involves roughly ten hours of engagement per week during the spring and fall semesters.
For more information please download the flyer and the application.

Student Travel

The New College may provide for support graduate student travel to academic and professional conferences.  Students may also receive support for travel from GPSA.

Career Paths

MACS graduates go on to pursue a variety of positions in numerous career fields.  Review some of our alumni careers.

COVID-19 information

Fall 2021 Update page  |  FAQ page   | Novel coronavirus updates