Communication
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Concentrations

MA in Communication

The master of arts in communication examines the powerful role played by communication practices in contemporary society. Students may choose to specialize in strategic communication/public relations or health communication or pursue a concentration in science communication. They may also choose an individualized specialization in communication studies according to their interests.

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see the Academic Policies section of the catalog.

Transfer of Credit/Reduction of Credit

Students may request transfer of up to 15 hours of graduate course work from graduate non-degree status or from graduate study at another institution, or request a reduction of credit up to 6 hours based on a previously conferred graduate degree. Students should carefully review university policies governing graduate transfer of credit and reduction of credit (AP.6 Graduate Policies). Transfer and reduction of credit is subject to the approval of the program director and graduate dean.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2016-2017)

All students pursuing the MA in communication follow the same general program structure whether completing the degree with a concentration or specialization. Students complete two program core courses, two methods courses, two theory courses, one practicum course, two specialization or concentration courses, and three elective courses (or 9 credits), of which 3 credits may be thesis.

Students must choose from one area of specialization (strategic communication/public relations, health communication, or individualized communication studies) or the Concentration in Science Communication. Specific requirements are described below. Because it is a narrow specialized area, science communication is subject to the stricter requirements of a concentration.

Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in the Academic Policies section of the catalog. If a thesis is chosen, students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and, once enrolled in COMM 799, maintain continuous enrollment.

MA with Specialization (33 credits)

Two core courses (6 credits)

COMM 600 - Introduction to Graduate Studies Credits: 3

COMM 798 - Communication Studies Project Credits: 3

Two methods courses (6 credits)

One required course

COMM 650 - Research Methodologies in Communication Credits: 3

One course chosen from:

COMM 725 - Qualitative Methods Credits: 3

COMM 750 - Research Methods II Credits: 3

COMM 775 - Media Content Analysis Credits: 3

Other graduate level methods course, taken in COMM or elsewhere, as approved by graduate director.

Two theory courses (6 credits) chosen from:

COMM 602 - Theories and Research of Mass Communication Credits: 3

COMM 605 - Intercultural Communication Credits: 3

COMM 620 - Health Communication Credits: 3

COMM 630 - Theories of Public Relations Credits: 3

COMM 632 - Persuasion Theory Credits: 3

COMM 634 - Theories of Interpersonal Communication Credits: 3

COMM 635 - Organizational Communication Credits: 3

COMM 639 - Science Communication Credits: 3

COMM 642 - Science and the Public Credits: 3

COMM 706 - Strategic Communication Credits: 3

One practicum course (3 credits) chosen from:

Other courses, including special topics (COMM 590 or COMM 690) and independent study, can be used to fulfill this requirement with prior written approval of the program director.

COMM 604 - Communication Research Practicum Credits: 3

COMM 636 - Communication Consulting Credits: 3

COMM 641 - Advanced Communication Skills for STEM Credits: 3

COMM 653 - Graduate Seminar in Instructional Communication Credits: 3

COMM 655 - Theory and Practice of Digital Communication Credits: 3

COMM 660 - Climate Change and Sustainability Communication Campaigns Credits: 3

COMM 670 - Social Marketing Credits: 3

COMM 694 - Communication Internship Credits: 3

COMM 697 - Independent Production Credits: 1-3

COMM 721 - E-Health Communication Credits: 3

COMM 820 - Health Communication Campaigns Credits: 3

Area of Specialization (12 credits)

Students complete the degree by completing 6 credits of coursework in one of the three specializations and an additional 6 elective credits in any graduate coursework, to include an optional thesis. Courses outside the department require the prior written approval of the program director.

Strategic Communications/Public Relations Specialization

The specialization in strategic communication/public relations requires a minimum of two courses from the list below. A course taken as a part of the general program cannot be duplicated in credits, but it can count as a course required for the specialization. Additional credits may be met through electives.

Two specialization courses (6 credits) chosen from:

COMM 590 - Seminar in Communication Credits: 3(when topic is strategic communication, as approved by program director)

COMM 602 - Theories and Research of Mass Communication Credits: 3

COMM 615 - Political Communication Credits: 3

COMM 630 - Theories of Public Relations Credits: 3

COMM 632 - Persuasion Theory Credits: 3

COMM 636 - Communication Consulting Credits: 3

COMM 637 - Risk Communication Credits: 3

COMM 660 - Climate Change and Sustainability Communication Campaigns Credits: 3

COMM 670 - Social Marketing Credits: 3

COMM 690 - Special Topics in Communication Credits: 3(when topic is strategic communication, as approved by program director)

COMM 706 - Strategic Communication Credits: 3

COMM 716 - International Public Relations Credits: 3

COMM 735 - Crisis Communication Credits: 3

COMM 820 - Health Communication Campaigns Credits: 3

COMM 890 - Special Topics in Communication Credits: 3(when topic is strategic communication, as approved by program director)

Optional thesis (3 credits)

COMM 799 - Master's Thesis Credits: 1-6

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective courses.

Electives (3-6 credits)

The remaining courses in the specialization may be chosen from:

- Additional courses from the list above or any other graduate courses in COMM.
- Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.

Students choosing to write a thesis take 3 credits of electives. Those opting out of a thesis take 6 credits.

Health Communication Specialization

The specialization in health communication requires a minimum of two courses from the list below. A course taken as a part of the general program cannot be duplicated in credits, but it can count as a course required for the specialization. Additional credits may be met through electives.

Two specialization courses (6 credits) chosen from:

COMM 590 - Seminar in Communication Credits: 3(when topic is health communication as approved by program director)

COMM 620 - Health Communication Credits: 3

COMM 632 - Persuasion Theory Credits: 3

COMM 690 - Special Topics in Communication Credits: 3(when topic is health communication as approved by program director)

COMM 705 - Intercultural Health and Risk Communication Credits: 3

COMM 720 - Consumer-Provider Health Communication Credits: 3

COMM 721 - E-Health Communication Credits: 3

COMM 820 - Health Communication Campaigns Credits: 3

COMM 890 - Special Topics in Communication Credits: 3(when topic is health communication as approved by program director)

Optional thesis (3 credits)

COMM 799 - Master's Thesis Credits: 1-6

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective courses.

Electives (3-6 credits)

The remaining courses in the specialization may be chosen from:

- Additional courses from the list above, or any other graduate courses in COMM.
- Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.

Students choosing to write a thesis take 3 credits of electives. Those opting out of the thesis take 6 credits.

Individualized Communication Studies specialization

Students pursuing a specialization in individualized communication studies design a program of courses to reflect their interests.

Two specialization courses (6 credits)

Two courses in a field of specialization are chosen in consultation with an advisor or the program director. These courses may include select special topics courses shown below as approved by the program director.

COMM 590 - Seminar in Communication Credits: 3

COMM 690 - Special Topics in Communication Credits: 3

COMM 890 - Special Topics in Communication Credits: 3

Optional thesis (3 credits)

COMM 799 - Master's Thesis Credits: 1-6

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective courses.

Electives (3-6 credits)

The remaining courses in the specialization may be chosen from:

- Additional courses from the list above or any other graduate courses in COMM.
- Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.

Students choosing to write a thesis take 3 credits of electives. Those opting out of the thesis take 6 credits.

Total: 33 credits

MA with Concentration (33 credits)

Students who wish to focus their graduate study in science communication complete the following requirements.

◊ Concentration in Science Communication (SCMN)

A maximum of 9 credit hours from outside the department can be applied to the concentration in science communication.

Two core courses (6 credits)

COMM 600 - Introduction to Graduate Studies Credits: 3

COMM 798 - Communication Studies Project Credits: 3

Two methods courses (6 credits)

One required course (3 credits):

COMM 650 - Research Methodologies in Communication Credits: 3

One course chosen from

COMM 725 - Qualitative Methods Credits: 3

COMM 750 - Research Methods II Credits: 3

COMM 775 - Media Content Analysis Credits: 3

a graduate research methods course in science, social science or science policy for which the student is qualified and which has been approved by the program director. Students should select from 500- or 600- level courses offered by CHSS, COS, CHHS, SPGIA,or CEHD.

Two theory courses (6 credits)

COMM 639 - Science Communication Credits: 3

COMM 642 - Science and the Public Credits: 3

One practicum course (3 credits)

COMM 641 - Advanced Communication Skills for STEM Credits: 3

One required course (3 credits)

COMM 640 - Controversies in Science Communication Credits: 3

or

COMM 644 - Analysis and Criticism of Science Journalism Credits: 3

Optional thesis (3 credits)

COMM 799 - Master's Thesis Credits: 1-6

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective courses.

Electives (6-9 credits)

    • At least one science-related course (3 credits) outside the department is required. A maximum of three outside courses (9 credits) is allowed for the concentration.
    • Outside course(s) must be chosen from graduate courses in science, social science or science policy for which students are qualified and which have been approved by the program director. Students should select from 500- or 600- level courses offered by CHSS, COS, CHHS, SPGIA, or CEHD.
    • The remaining elective courses in the concentration must be other graduate-level COMM courses, to include the optional thesis.

Total: 33 credits

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