Master of Arts in Communication

Major: COMM
Degree Awarded: MA
Unit: GA
Program Webpage:

Program Information

The Master of Arts in Communication is a 37-hour program.  It includes 22 hours of foundation and core courses, nine hours of electives, and a six-hour thesis or non-thesis option.  The non-thesis option includes a three-hour practicum, with a limit of six hours of practicum credit.  At least 19 of the 37 hours must be in courses at the 600 level.

Upon admission to the program, the student will work with the Director of Graduate Studies to establish a plan of study.  After the second semester, students choosing the thesis option will select a mentor who will provide guidance for the thesis and selecting two additional faculty to serve on the thesis committee, one of whom must be outside the Department of Communication.  Students choosing the non-thesis option will select a mentor who will provide guidance concerning the practicum and course selection.  Students choosing the non-thesis option will take a written exam administered by the Communication Department faculty.

Applicants need an undergraduate degree in Communication or a related discipline, a 3.0 GPA on a four-point scale, and a 900 combined GRE score (old scoring system), 282-297 combined (new scoring system).  These scores equate to a rank of approximately 50 percent or better on the verbal reasoning section and 30 percent or better on the quantitative reasoning section of the GRE.  Provisional admission is possible for students with lower scores.  Other application materials include a copy of university transcripts, a writing sample, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, an application, and the application fee.


Foundations: (Required of all students)
506 Ethical Problems in Communication
601 Communication Pro-Seminar (1 hour)
605 Communication Theory & Practice
616 Qualitative Communication Research
617 Quantitative Methods in Communication

13 hours

Area 1: Interactional Communication (One course)
580 Interpersonal Communication
590 Health Communication
603 Communication Pedagogy
620 Organizational Communication
625 Personality and Communication
650 Corporate Communication
675 Risk Communication

3 hours

Area 2: Integrated Communication (One course)
520 Computer-Mediated Communication
530 Science Communication
652 Computer-Mediated Communication in Organizations
653 Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns
654 Public Relations and Crisis Management

660 Selected Topics in Mass Media

3 hours
Area 3: Social Advocacy (One course)

540 Public Communication Campaigns
555 Persuasive Movements
610 Problems of Public Discourse
630 Communication and Multiculturalism
640 Communication in Social Service
651 Conflict Management

3 hours

Electives: Students may concentrate in an area by taking additional area courses as electives. Electives include 510: Special Topics in Speech; 660: Selected Topics in Mass Media; 690: Special Topics. Three hours of Practicum or Directed Reading may be taken beyond the courses taken for a non-thesis option. Three hours may be taken outside of the Communication Department with the consent of  the Faculty Mentor. Additional electives may be outside of Communication with consent of the Graduate Director.

9 hours

Thesis (includes oral defense)
698 Thesis

Non-Thesis Option
600 Practicum
5xx or 6xx elective

6 hours


37 hours

Pending approval of the department program coordinator, and approval by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, a student may transfer up to six hours graduate credit from another institution.

Non-thesis option: Students electing a non-thesis option will complete the 37 hours specified above, with two differences. Students who select the non-thesis option will substitute one 600-level practicum and one elective for the six thesis hours. The non-thesis option also will include a Comprehensive Examination administered by Department Faculty.

Experiential Component

The Master of Arts does not require an experiential component. However, students may choose to do a practicum in a private business, community organization, or government agency that deals with communication. Students may complete the practicum in two ways. A student may turn current work or volunteer experience into a research project, or a student not previously affiliated with the practicum site may develop a project useful to the organization. In both cases, the student will work with a Communication Department faculty member to shape the project and will write a formal paper dealing with the project. Students who choose the practicum will be applying knowledge acquired in Communication coursework directly to area needs, thus serving the community and helping to build stronger university/community ties.


Mary Ashlock

Assistant Professor

Michael Cunningham


Lindsay Della

Associate Professor

Margaret D'Silva


Stuart Esrock

Associate Professor

John Ferré

Interim Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Karen Freberg

Assistant Professor

Allan Futrell
Associate Professor

Department Chair

Jennifer Gregg

Associate Professor

Joy Hart


Greg Leichty


Selene Phillips

Assistant Professor

Scott Sanders

Assistant Professor

Siobhan Smith

Assistant Professor

Steve Sohn
Associate Professor

Director of Graduate Studies

Robert St. Clair


Kandi Walker


Charles Willard

Professor Emeritus

Shirley Willihnganz