Communication Studies

Graduate Program


Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Purpose of degree program

The Master of Arts degree program in Communication Studies provides students an advanced theory and research based understanding of the functions of human symbolic activity in personal, social, professional, and public contexts. The program prepares students to be more efficient consumers and producers of communication and rhetorical research in either academic or applied settings. Its graduates are prepared for entry to doctoral programs in communication and to careers in business, industry, government, social and civic service, and education.


1 Students will each complete their own original research project in communication or rhetoric. Successful completion of the master’s thesis.
2 Students will demonstrate competence in quantitative and qualitative research methods. Students will successfully complete elements or portions of research projects in designated courses, at least one using quantitative methods and one using qualitative methods.
3 Students will develop an appreciation for and at least some interaction with the larger intellectual community of communication scholars. Students will successfully complete in COMS 5300 (and in other designated courses) assignments pertaining to the identification and clarification of: professional organization missions and goals; and professional affiliation in career development. Students will be encouraged to submit papers for presentation at professional conferences or for publication.
4 Students will demonstrate competence in historical-critical research methods Students will successfully complete elements or portions of research projects in designated courses using historical-critical research methods.
5 Students will be able to articulate the importance of communication and rhetorical theory and research in addressing problems in personal, social, public, and professional contexts. At the end of their graduate study, students participating in exit surveys and/or focus groups will be able to report how the program has prepared them to analyze and address communication and rhetorical problems in a variety of contexts.