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Communication, M.A.

Saint Louis University's Master of Arts in Communication

Saint Louis University's master’s program in communication is designed to teach students to be conscientious thinkers and leaders who communicate effectively in a diverse world and who understand the social implications of media and communication technology. Through their coursework, our communication M.A. students develop fluency in communication theory that can be used to solve practical problems. Students learn to ask thoughtful questions and find engaging answers by building the skill sets necessary to develop research protocols, evaluate messages, analyze data and share these findings with various stakeholders. 

Coursework options allow students to deepen their understanding of communication theory and research within a variety of areas of study, including:

  • Health communication
  • Intercultural communication
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Organizational communication
  • Media studies
  • Rhetoric and public dialogue
  • Social justice communication
  • Strategic communication

Curriculum Overview

There are three required courses in the 30-credit degree. Beyond that, communication students are allowed to develop a personally tailored program of study that fits their individual goals and interests. Communication students have three options for completing the Master of Arts degree:

  • Comprehensive exams
  • Thesis
  • Applied project

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Working professionals and those seeking careers as organizational practitioners may be more attracted to the applied project or the comprehensive exam degree completion options, while students anticipating research-based careers or who might progress to doctoral programs should consider the thesis degree completion option.


SLU's communication program prepares students for greater responsibilities in a range of professions including advertising, corporate communications, higher education, human resources, journalism, politics, public relations, research and training and development.

Recent graduates work for companies such as FleishmanHillard, Maritz, Bayer, the National Catholic Reporter, SLU, Cigna, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In addition, Saint Louis University's Department of Communication has an excellent track record of placing graduates in strong Ph.D. programs for students who want to continue their graduate work in communication.

Admission Requirements

An undergraduate communication degree or a degree in a related discipline with possible prerequisites in communication research is required.

There is no minimum GPA requirement. Successful applicants typically have an overall GPA of 3.0 or above.

GRE scores are not required but may be submitted to strengthen an application.

Applicants whose records vary from these guidelines may be admitted based upon fit with the program, past experiences or letters of recommendation.

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcript(s)
  • Résumé
  • Statement of Purpose (see below)

The statement of purpose should be about 400-600 words in length. An effective statement of purpose will articulate why a candidate wants to pursue an M.A. in communication, why the candidate is particularly interested in the M.A. program at Saint Louis University (SLU), as well as the candidate’s goals for study in the program. We are interested in the content of the purpose statement and the quality of writing demonstrated by applicants. Candidates should discuss the following elements in the statement of purpose:

1. What are your professional or civic goals, and how will an M.A. in Communication from SLU help you achieve them? How will the graduate program at SLU support your goals?

2. How have your educational and professional experiences, interests, and civic activities influenced your decision to pursue an M.A. in Communication? How has your background prepared you for graduate study and what will you bring to the program?

Requirements for International Students

The communication program is reading and writing intensive. International students who achieve success in the program tend to have IBT TOEFL scores at or above 100/120 Total (25/30 Reading and 25/30 Writing) or IELTS scores of 7.5/9 Total (7/9 Reading and 6.5/9 Writing).  If the language of instruction of an applicant's post-secondary institution is English, applicants do not need to demonstrate further evidence of English Language proficiency.

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application and Assistantship Application Deadlines

Students who want to be considered for an assistantship must submit their application for admission and an assistantship application by Jan. 31. Find more information about assistantships and a link to the assistantship application on our graduate curriculum and funding opportunities page. The assistantship application should be submitted directly to the communication graduate program coordinator via email. 

U.S. students not applying for an assistantship who want to be considered for admission must submit their applications by July 1 for the fall semester and Nov. 1 for the spring semester.

International students not applying for an assistantship who want to be considered for admission must submit their applications by May 1 for the fall semester and Oct. 1 for the spring semester.

Review Process

The Department of Communication carefully reviews each applicant's material as a package to gain an overall understanding of his or her background, goals and abilities.


Tuition Cost Per Credit
Graduate Tuition $1,310

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

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Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships, Assistantships and Financial Aid

For priority consideration for a graduate assistantship, apply by the program admission deadlines listed. Fellowships and assistantships provide a stipend and may include health insurance and a tuition scholarship for the duration of the award. 

Explore Scholarships and Financial Aid Options

  1. Graduates will be able to communicate effective messages for scholarly and public audiences.
  2. Graduates will be able to conduct and evaluate communication research.
  3. Graduates will be able to apply communication theories to address problems in a broader context.
  4. Graduates will be able to demonstrate intercultural communication competence.
  5. Graduates will be able to apply theories and/or practices of social justice and civic engagement.
  6. Graduates will be able to analyze the ethical implications of communication and apply ethical principles.
Required Courses
CMM 5000Graduate Study of Communication3
CMM 5801Quantitative Research Methods for Communication3
CMM 5802Qualitative Inquiry for Communication and Social Justice3
Choose from the following options:0-6
Aplied Project Option (3 credits)
CMM 5890
Applied Project
Comprehensive Exam Option
Comprehensive Exam
Thesis Option (6 credits)
CMM 5990
Thesis Research
Communication Graduate Electives15-21
CMM 5###5000-level Communication Electives
Total Credits30

Students may complete no more than a total of nine credits of the following options for their electives:

  • up to six credits of graduate courses outside of communication
  • up to six credits of 4000-level communication courses
  • up to three credits of CMM 5980 Graduate Reading Course (1-3 cr)

Non-Course Requirements

Each of the three options requires a final oral examination.

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
CMM 5000 Graduate Study of Communication 3
CMM 5801 Quantitative Research Methods for Communication 3
CMM 5802 Qualitative Inquiry for Communication and Social Justice 3
Elective 3
Elective 3
Year Two
Completion of thesis proposal OR applied project proposal (if applicable)  
Elective 3
Elective 3
Select one of the following: 3
CMM 5990
Thesis Research  
Completion of thesis OR applied project OR comprehensive exams  
Elective 3
Select one of the following: 3
CMM 5990
Thesis Research  
CMM 5890
Applied Project  
 Total Credits30

Program Notes

Students select one of three degree completion options:

  • Comprehensive exams: Students complete 30 credits of coursework and take their comprehensive exams in their final semester.
  • Applied projects: Students complete 27 credits of coursework and register for Applied Project (CMM 5890) in their final semester, contingent on a successful oral defense of their applied project proposal in their second-to-last semester.
  • Theses: Students complete 24 credits of coursework and 6 hours of Thesis Research (CMM 5990). The six hours of Thesis Research (CMM 5990) may be taken in the final semester or divided between the third and fourth semesters. For the final semester, Thesis Research (CMM 5990) is contingent on a successful oral defense of their thesis proposal in their second-to-last semester.

Students may complete no more than a total of nine credits of the following options:

  • up to six credits of graduate courses outside of communication
  • up to six credits of 4000-level communication courses
  • up to three credits of Graduate Reading Course (CMM 5980)
For additional information about our program, please contact:

Jennifer Ohs, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Communication