Communication Studies, MA

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The MA in communication studies is a cutting-edge degree program designed for students who wish to pursue a wide range of communication professions.

The program provides exposure to a variety of research methods, communication theories and practical applications, with a special emphasis on advocacy. Students use multiple perspectives to explore a variety of topics and issues in communication. These include how individuals and collectives participate effectively in personal relationships, organizational settings and public dialogues across cultural contexts and via social technologies. Students also attend to the impact and effects of media, mediated representations, and new technologies, while learning to use communication strategically to advocate for others.

Although advocacy is a defining theme in the curriculum, students can tailor the program to their personal goals, focusing on topics such as interpersonal, organizational, sport, environmental, global or technology-mediated communication.

Graduates are prepared to pursue doctoral work or careers in a variety of communication-driven fields such as public affairs, public relations, employee development, strategic communication, community relations and grassroots movements.

At A Glance

Communication Studies, MA

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Application Deadline

See important dates and information on the Advising page.

Degree requirements

Required Core (9 credit hours)
CMN 502 Theory and Practice in Communication and Persuasion (3) or CMN 522 Argumentation and Advocacy (3)
CMN 505 Methods in Applied Communication Research (3)
CMN 506 Humanistic Inquiry and Field Research in Communication (3)

Restricted Electives (6 credit hours)

Electives (up to 21 credit hours)

Culminating Experience Options (0-6 credit hours)
CMN 593 Applied Project, with written comprehensive exam (3)
CMN 599 Thesis, with written comprehensive exam (6)
written comprehensive examination (0 credit hours)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students should see the academic unit for an approved list of restricted electives.

Electives are selected in consultation with the student's program advisor and may include courses with either the CMN (communication) or STC (social technology) prefixes. When appropriate, students may take up to six credit hours outside the program.

The thesis or applied project must demonstrate intellectual ability, academic ability and professional growth. The thesis is supervised and approved by the student's advisor and committee. An oral defense is required for the thesis. The applied project is supervised by the student's advisor. The achievements or results of the applied project should be made available to the public in the form of a presentation, poster, report or other form negotiated with the faculty advisor.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. statement of purpose
  4. three letters of recommendation
  5. an academic writing sample (preferred) or professional writing sample
  6. resume or curriculum vitae (optional)
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

The statement of purpose should describe the educational background, scholarly interests, and academic and professional goals of the applicant.

It is preferred that the letters of recommendation are from faculty members who know the applicant's work well; if faculty members are not available, then the applicant may submit letters of recommendation from individuals in supervisory or professional roles.

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