Communication Studies

Graduate Degree Introduction


The Master of Arts program in Communication Studies provides advanced study of human communication in its various and diverse forms, contexts, and processes. The program prepares students to pursue academic and professional career paths such as a Ph.D. in the field, Community College instruction, or careers outside of academia that value the strong research, writing, and presentation skills developed by the program (e.g. careers in organizational communication consultation, health communication, restorative justice, etc.). The Master of Arts program in Communication Studies includes coursework in the following areas:

  • Performance, Language, and Cultural Studies (including seminars in Performance Studies, Textual Studies, Communication and Language, Feminist Perspectives on Communication, Intercultural Communication, and Communication and Technology)
  • Rhetorical Studies (including seminars in Classical Rhetoric, Contemporary Rhetoric, Postmodern Rhetoric, and Applied Rhetorical Studies)
  • Communication Science (including seminars in Communication Theory, Interpersonal Communication, Group Communication, and Organizational Communication Research)

The department’s graduate program is governed by the principle that the student should have the opportunity to study and conduct original research in areas of the student's primary interests. Thus, the department seeks to balance two concerns: (a) to permit each student to tailor the Program of Study to individual interests and abilities; and (b) to insure that all students acquire a coherent perspective within the field of Communication. The ultimate objective is to prepare students to assume socially responsible and productive roles within their chosen professions.

The program comprises thirty-three units of coursework in Communication Studies, selected in consultation with advisors. For the culminating experience, students will choose from directed comprehensive studies, a thesis, or an applied scholarly project. 

Student Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master's degree from the Communication Studies Department will be able to:

  1. Explain basic tenets of Communication Studies from multiple perspectives.
  2. Critically evaluate scholarship in the field
  3. Analyze the role communication plays in the construction of culture.
  4. Apply communication theories to communication phenomena
  5. Synthesize scholarship in the field.
  6. Produce original scholarship contributing to Communication Studies

Requirements for Acceptance into the Master of Arts Program

Applicants to the M.A. in Communication Studies need to meet both the university and the department requirements. Department admission requirements are higher than university criteria (For example, the university G.P.A. standard is a 2.5, but the Department of Communication Studies requires a 3.0). University standards for admission to graduate study will normally be a determining factor in granting a student classified status in the program. These requirements include completion of the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam and a Bachelor's degree. Any student who is admitted to the graduate program on a Conditionally Classified basis is required to meet ALL conditions for fully Classified status by the time s/he has completed 12 units of coursework in the graduate program.

The Communication Studies Department no longer requires the GRE for graduate admission.