Each student works out her or his own program with the graduate director according to her or his individual goals. Students and advisors usually develop a close working relationship in which the professor plays an important role in designing and managing the complete academic program with the student.
Within this program of study are 9 credit hours of core courses all students are required to take:
CMM 5000: Graduate Studies in Communication
CMM 5800: Research Methods in Communication
CMM 5010: Reading Foundations in Communication Theory
Within a two-year cycle of courses, the following courses are likely to be taught in addition to core courses and one or two other electives that vary from year to year:
CMM 5400: Contemporary Issues in Media
CMM 5600: Strategic Communication
CMM 5200: Organizational Communication
CMM 5020: Interpersonal Communication
CMM 5090: Health Communication
In addition, a course will be offered that focuses on Culture and Communication (e.g., Culture and Public Dialogue, Language and Cultural Diversity, Intercultural Communication).
Coursework in other Departments
Students are encouraged to explore the relationship between Communication and other university departments and disciplines. Students can take a maximum of six credit hours in coursework outside of the department.
Other Program Requirements
Students may choose up to a total of nine hours in the following areas: 4000-level courses in Communication, graduate coursework outside of the department, or independent studies. Unless circumstances mandate otherwise no more than six of these nine hours may be taken in 400-level courses in Communication or graduate coursework outside of the department. No more than three of these hours may be taken as an independent study.
A maximum of 6 hours of relevant graduate coursework completed at another university may be transferred to the Master's program in Communication. Petition forms may be obtained at the Office of Graduate Education, DuBourg Hall 417. The Graduate Director must approve all requests prior to submission to Graduate Education. Any hours transferred will be regarded as part of the 6 hours allowed outside of the Communication Department.
Degree Completion Options
At the end of their course of study, graduate students in the program choose from three degree completion options.
Applied Project Option: The applied project allows students with a professional focus to engage in an in-depth application of communication theory and research methods to a professional setting. It is an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills developed in graduate study to professional practice. Students should be involved in producing some form of material on behalf of an organization or field of practice. Projects may take different forms. Students choosing this option take 27 credit hours of coursework and take 3 credit hours of CMM 5890: Applied Project. Examples of completed applied projects are available on our Graduate Student Projects page.
Comprehensive Exam Option: The comprehensive exam offers an opportunity for students to synthesize knowledge from across their coursework in the program and demonstrate competency in communication theory and research, with a particular focus on their area of specialization. The comprehensive exam option includes both a written and an oral exam. Students choosing this option take 30 credit hours of coursework and take comprehensive exams during their last semester in the program.
Thesis Option: A thesis involves the creation of new knowledge relevant to the field of communication, a professional area, or an organization. Students read existing research in their topic area and develop a set of research questions or hypotheses to investigate. They then design and implement a study to answer those questions. Students choosing this option take 24 credit hours of coursework and take 6 credit hours of CMM 5990: Thesis Research.