Degree Requirements

Creative Thesis Track (a minimum 36-hour program*)

  1. 33 hours of graduate coursework in communication and allied fields:
    • 6 hours of core courses: 6 hours of core courses: COMM 6010 (Issues and Perspectives in Communication) and COMM 6030 (Research Methods in Communication).
    • 18–27 hours of courses designated by the area of emphasis
      • All students with teaching responsibilities are required to take COMM 8035 (Communication Pedagogy) prior to or during their first semester of teaching.
    • Optional 0–9 hours of courses outside area of emphasis or outside of the department as approved by advisor.
  2. Responsible Conduct of Research Requirement.
  3. Proficiency in an approved research skill or relevant foreign language. (Note: Credit hours earned to fulfill this requirement may not be applied to the 33-hour coursework minimum in #1 above.*)
  4. A successful prospectus defense.
  5. At least 3 hours of COMM 6990 (Thesis Research).
  6. A Creative Thesis project.
  7. A successful Creative Thesis defense.

*NOTE: For students who elect to take a research skill/method course to meet the Foreign Language or Equivalent Research Skill Requirement (#2 above), that additional course will make this a 39-hour degree program.

Research Thesis Track (a minimum 36-hour program*)

The Research Thesis is a traditional research project involving theoretical and critical analysis. This option requires that the student conduct a large-scale research project in some dimension of his or her area of study. This large-scale research project should take between one and two semesters of work. This option is suggested for those students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. program or students who will later conduct research projects outside of an academic setting.

  1. 30 hours of graduate coursework in communication and allied fields:
    • 6 hours of core courses: COMM 6010 (Issues and Perspectives in Communication) and COMM 6030 (Research Methods in Communication).
    • 18–24 additional hours in communication courses designated by the area of emphasis (Human Communication & Social Influence or Mass Communication).
      • All students with teaching responsibilities are required to take COMM 8035 (Communication Pedagogy) prior to or during their first semester of teaching.
    • Optional 0–6 hours of allied coursework in another area of emphasis or outside the department as approved by the thesis advisor.
  2. Responsible Conduct of Research Requirement.
  3. Proficiency in an approved research skill or relevant foreign language. (Note: Credit hours earned to fulfill this requirement may not be applied to the 33-hour coursework minimum in #1 above.*)
  4. A successful prospectus defense.
  5. At least 6 hours of COMM 6990 (Thesis Research).
  6. A Research Thesis project.
  7. A successful Research Thesis defense.

*NOTE: For students who elect to take a research skill/method course to meet the Foreign Language or Equivalent Research Skill Requirement (#2 above), that additional course will make this a 39-hour degree program.

Coursework-intensive Option (min. 36-hour non thesis program*)

The Department’s M.A. program includes a coursework-intensive option, where in lieu of a creative or research thesis, the student takes additional courses closely related to the area of interest and submits a research paper/project prior to graduation. The parameters of this paper/project are to be determined by the student and the graduate directors. This option is not recommended for students who anticipate continuing their education in pursuit of the doctorate, but it may be a good choice for students who anticipate working in the media industries and want a final product that demonstrates expertise in their area of professional interest.

In lieu of the thesis, research competence must be demonstrated by a research paper or project, to be submitted prior to graduation. This paper/project should be exemplary of the research and writing skills the student acquired and refined during the degree program. Normally, this paper/project is one the student produced as a final seminar paper during the degree program and/or presented as a conference presentation.

  1. 36 hours of graduate coursework in communication and allied fields*:
    • 6 hours of core courses: COMM 6010 (Issues and Perspectives in Communication) and COMM 6030 (Research Methods in Communication).
    • 24-30 additional hours in communication courses designated by the area of emphasis (Human Communication & Social Influence or Mass Communication).
      • All students with teaching responsibilities are required to take COMM 8035 (Communication Pedagogy) prior to or during their first semester of teaching.
    • Optional 0–6 hours of allied coursework in another area of emphasis or outside the department as approved by the thesis advisor.
  2. Responsible Conduct of Research Requirement.
  3. Proficiency in an approved research skill or relevant foreign language. (Note: Credit hours earned to fulfill this requirement may not be applied to the 33-hour coursework minimum in #1 above.*)
  4. Submission of the final paper/project.

*NOTE: For students who elect to take a research skill/method course to meet the Foreign Language or Equivalent Research Skill Requirement (#2 above), that additional course will make this a 39-hour degree program.

Media & Society Track

  1. Responsible Conduct of Research requirement
    • ethics training seminar during fall orientation, and
    • score of 80 or better on the online CITI ethics test. Documentation must be submitted before one may enroll in dissertation hours.
  2. At least 47 hours of graduate coursework in communication and allied fields:
    • Core theory and required methods coursework
      • COMM 8120 (Media, Individuals and Society)
      • COMM 8130 (Communication in a Global Context)
      • COMM 8015 (Quantitative Research Methods)
      • COMM 8410 (Qualitative Research Methods)
    • Two (2) hours of Introduction to Graduate Studies
    • Three (3) hours of COMM 8035 (Communication Pedagogy).
    • 24 additional hours in communication courses in the area of emphasis (Media & Society courses); or courses in allied disciplines as approved by the student’s advisory committee and consistent with departmental policy.
    • At least six (6) additional hours in research tools courses, as recommended and approved by the student’s advisory committee.
  3. At least 21 hours of COMM 9999 (Dissertation Research). The typical full-time student can complete these hours in three to five semesters.
  4. Written comprehensive examination with successful oral defense.
  5. A successful prospectus defense.
  6. A dissertation with successful oral defense.

Rhetoric & Politics Track

  1. Responsible Conduct of Research requirement
    • ethics training seminar during fall orientation, and
    • score of 80+ on the online CITI ethics test. Documentation must be submitted before one may enroll in dissertation hours.
  2. At least 47 hours of graduate coursework in communication and allied fields:
    • Core coursework
      • Rhetorical Theory I
      • Rhetorical Theory II
      • Critical Theory, Discourse Analysis, OR Publics and Politics (choose one)
    • Two (2) hours of Introduction of Graduate Studies.
    • Three (3) hours of COMM 8035 (Communication Pedagogy).
    • 24 additional hours in communication courses in the area of emphasis (Rhetoric & Politics courses); or courses in allied disciplines as approved by the student’s advisory committee and consistent with departmental policy).
    • At least nine (9) additional hours in research tools courses, as recommended and approved by the student’s advisory committee, and which must include Rhetorical Criticism I and Rhetorical Criticism II (both are offered at doctoral level in the department).
  3. At least 21 hours of COMM 9999 (Dissertation Research). The typical full-time student can complete these hours in three to five semesters.
  4. Written comprehensive examination with successful oral defense.
  5. A successful prospectus defense.
  6. A dissertation with successful oral defense.