May 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Communication, M.A.

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Required credits [33]

Course Requirements

Thirty-three credit hours of approved graduate courses are required for the Master of Arts in Communication. The student and faculty advisor design a program of study that includes

  1. CMM 650 - Seminar in Communication  and CMM 655 - Communication Research Methods , to be taken as early as possible in the degree program [6 credits]
  2. Courses agreed upon by student and faculty advisor [21 credits], up to 12 credits of which may be taken outside the department
  3. CMM 790 - Thesis Preparation  and CMM 791 - Thesis , OR  CMM 892 - Graduate Project  plus one additional graduate course [6 credits]
  4. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate with the master’s degree.

CMM 650  and CMM 655  are the only two required courses in the program. The remaining courses are electives that are selected in consultation with the student’s advisor. These elective courses are in three main areas: media, integrated communication, and human communication. Courses in the media area examine the structure of media industries, content produced by media outlets, and the influence of media on audiences. Courses in integrated communication, which is a blend of advertising and public relations, provide both grounding in theory in this area and projects in which students use these theories to create effective presentations in professional settings. The human communication area analyzes communication between people in various social contexts, including organizational, small-group, and interpersonal communication.

Based on these discussions with the advisor about one’s professional and intellectual goals, a student may decide to take courses primarily in one of these three areas, or select courses from multiple areas of interest.

For those students who wish to develop an unofficial area of specialization (which will not appear on students’ transcripts as such) in one of the three main areas, the list of recommended courses for each area is as follows:

Special-Topics Courses

Students can further develop a specialization by taking special-topics courses under the designations CMM 591 , CMM 592 , CMM 593 , and CMM 595  that are offered in each of these three areas that provide a timely focus on current topics and issues. Recent special-topics courses in these areas include the following:


Popular Culture, Gender in Communication and Culture, Visual Literacy for Communication Professionals

Integrated Communication

Creating a Positive Brand Image; Corporate Communication: Writing for Impact; Science-Based Communication

Human Communication

Computer-Mediated Communication and Relationships, Teams and Team Work, Persuasion

Students are expected to complete all requirements for the master’s degree within five calendar years of the date of matriculation. In extenuating circumstances, this time limit may be extended by one year by the school’s graduate program director. Up to 6 credits may be transferred from an accredited communication graduate program.

Graduation Requirements

To complete their degree, students may pursue a thesis, or non-thesis option.

The thesis option requires students to earn three credits in CMM 790 , our Thesis Preparation course, AND three credits in CMM 791 , our Thesis Completion course.  In Thesis Preparation, students will work with their Thesis Director to structure their thesis project.  They will write a thesis proposal that their thesis committee will approve by an oral defense.  In Thesis Completion, students will complete their proposed study, and incorporate their findings into a completed thesis.  Theses must be approved via an oral defense and be submitted to the University library in bound form, for a student to be eligible for graduation.

The non-thesis option requires students to produce a substantial research project that expands upon a topic explored in one of their content area classes. Within the first 3 weeks of class, students who have completed* 24 credit hours or more may, upon agreement with their professor, designate the course as their “capstone” course.  The student will be registered into an additional 3 credit in CMM 892 - Graduate Project  that runs concurrently with the original course, to accommodate the extra, extended project they will be producing.  The project may take various forms, such as a scholarly research paper for “conference” presentation, a branded communication campaign for a client, a multimedia (i.e., video, website, etc…) production, etc… as “contracted” between student and faculty member.  The project must demonstrate the students’ learning across the curriculum, demonstrating mastery of communication theory, research methods, and a content area.  It must consist of at least an additional 20-30 pages of additional writing (or non-writing equivalent) beyond the original course requirements, and will be evaluated by both the course instructor and a member of the School of Communication Graduate Committee (or a designated expert). Students will submit a written or non-written equivalent to both evaluators and provide a public presentation/defense of their work.   Non-thesis students are required to take one additional elective in their content area to complete the full 33 credits required for graduation.

*Does not include currently enrolled credits.

Thesis Option:

Required Courses/Credits:

Elective Courses/Credits:                                            

  • 7 classes at 3 credits each (21 credits)

Thesis Credits:

Total Credits for Graduation: 33 credits


Non-Thesis Option:

Required Courses/Credits:

Elective Courses/Credits:                                            

8 classes at 3 credits each (24 credits)

Capstone Credits:

CMM 892 - Graduate Project  (3 credits)

Total Credits for Graduation: 33 credits

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