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College of Arts and Sciences

MA in Communication

The Master of Arts in Communication provides you with both a comprehensive overview of the field of communication and a specialization in areas such as media, integrated communication, and human communication. Our professors are respected experts in these areas and lead dynamic and exciting discussions about current issues and problems in communication.

Quick Facts

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Questions? Contact Program Director Kristin Comeforo

About the Program

communication

You learn social scientific, humanistic and critical approaches to the study of communication applied to media, organizations, relationships, and society. For aspiring and practicing communication professionals, you will find courses in integrated corporate communication, multimedia and media production, and more. Our course offerings blend information and methods, theory and application to give you both knowledge and skills.

The School of Communication also offers an Accelerated MA in Communication that allows a high-performing undergraduate student to earn up to 9 credits that will count toward both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Typical application occurs spring of your Junior year, so that if accepted, you may register for graduate classes in the fall of your Senior year. Contact Associate Professor and Program Director Kristin Comeforo for more information.

Degree Requirements  

To apply to our Master's program in communication, you must have a baccalaureate degree in Communication or a related discipline from an accredited institution, with a B average in your major and an overall average of at least a B-.

The Master of Arts in Communication requires 33 credit hours of approved graduate courses. You and your faculty advisor will design a  program of study based on your experiences and plans.

For more information, and to see a complete list of degree requirements, visit the Course Catalog

Required Courses

Completion of the following two courses:

  • Seminar in Communication (taken as early as possible in the degree program)  
  • Communication Research Methods
  • Completion of 9 credits in an emphasis area  
  • Media
  • Human Communication Studies
  • Integrated communication
  • You also may choose to design an individualized program in consultation with your advisor.

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Additional Requirements

You must complete 12 credits of electives, selected from regular courses or special topics courses offered by the School of Communication or other graduate program at the University.

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Select a Thesis or Non-Thesis Option

Requirements are based on the option selected.

Thesis Option for a total of 6 credits

The thesis is an independent academic project directed by a faculty member.

  • Thesis Preparation (3 cr.)
  • Thesis (3 cr.)

Non-Thesis Option for a total of 6 credits

The graduate project is a research project that you develop in negotiation with the professor of a content area class you are enrolled in. It is in addition to the original course requirements, and allows you to take a deeper dive into the course content.

  • Completion of one additional graduate course (3 cr.)
  • Completion of a Graduate Project (3 cr.) 

For more information, and to see a complete list of requirements, visit the Course Catalog.

Learning Outcomes  

Thesis Track

Master of Arts in Communication thesis track students will:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the subject matter pertaining to at least one area of expertise in communication.
  • Complete an original research project on a topic in the discipline of communication.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship of theory to research by articulating a theoretical approach in the study.
  • Implement an appropriate research methodology and analytical tools to examine the study topic.
  • Be able to report and describe the results of the study in a clear and organized manner in writing.
  • Be able to orally report and describe the results of the study in a clear and organized manner and answer questions about the project.

Non-Thesis Track

Master of Arts in Communication non-thesis track students will:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the subject matter pertaining to at least one area of expertise in communication.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a research methodology that is related to the student's area of specialization.
  • Be able to describe, analyze, and apply theories relevant to the area of expertise.
  • Be able to articulate the subject matter in the area of expertise clearly and in an organized manner both orally and in writing.
  • Be able to report and describe the results of a study in a clear and organized manner in writing.

Careers and Beyond

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Our program prepares you for further graduate study and also employment in government, nonprofit organizations, businesses and educational institutions. Many of our graduates are employed in human resources and corporate communications. Others are in a range of communication professions, including advertising, public relations, television, radio and web-design firms.

Watch a Video Information Session About the Program


Research Opportunities

Making presentations on your research at academic conferences is a great way for you to develop as a professional. Employers and academics view conference presentations as a sign of accomplishment and demonstrate that you are doing more than merely completing courses in a program. Because of this, we encourage graduate students to present their research and projects at professional communication conferences and at two research colloquia here on campus that take place annually in the spring: the School of Communication Graduate Student Awards and Research Symposium and the University-wide Graduate Research/Creativity Symposium. These events provide special forums specifically for graduate student research.

Graduate student presentations at these events are drawn from research papers and special projects they have been working on in classes, theses or independent studies, providing them with a broader audience for their work and an opportunity to get useful feedback from others that attend these events.

Grant Opportunities for Conference Travel

The University provides some financial assistance to attend professional conferences for graduate students who have submissions accepted for presentation. The Dean of Graduate Studies has established a program for supporting graduate student travel to conferences through which students can apply for a grant of up to $500 for expenses. Expenses associated with the purchase of presentation materials, travel to the meeting, registration fees, and room charges may be reimbursed up to $500. There are no deadlines for this award. These grants are available throughout the year, but the application must be made at least one month before the conference.

Professional Organizations  

Graduate students are encouraged to submit their work for presentation to several major professional organizations in the field of communication, including:

Most of these professional organizations have annual conferences where participants present their work on topics in various fields within the discipline of communication, such as media, organizational communication, and public relations. These conferences welcome participation by graduate students who conduct research in these areas. Visit these websites for information about the process for submitting papers, panel proposals, poster presentations, or other forms of presentations. Each organization has regular deadlines for submissions to its annual conference.

Bryson Owens

Communication, '18, M'20

Bryson Owens is working remotely as an associate video producer for Newsweek providing video content for its social media channels and website including the presidential and vice-presidential debates, the Amy Coney Barrett supreme court confirmation hearings, as well as election night coverage.

Owens says he became interested in politics at a very young age, and as an undergraduate and graduate student, he took multiple politics and government courses that directly and indirectly intertwined with media communications. He says his final graduate project, College During COVID, co-produced with Bianca Ross ’18, M’20, was cited as the reason his resume stood out from the others.

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“What triggered my thirst to pursue all facets in the communication and media industry was taking courses such as: Gender/Sex in Pop Culture, Intro to Television Production, Political Advertising and Women in the Media, and Media Process and Effects. Communication Professors Karen Schermerhorn, Jack Banks, Sundeep Muppidi, and Kristin Comeforo really pushed me to think critically, be unbiased in my analysis, and see the world and how the media has the power to change it.”

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