Communication
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Concentrations

MA in Communication

As the environment for public and private communication becomes increasingly complex, organizations rely more and more heavily on thoughtful and effective communication professionals. To this end, communication MA 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. Across all specializations, students receive a strong foundation in communication theory and learn to design, execute, and interpret rigorous communication research. Students are challenged to apply communication knowledge to help solve problems and to address important social issues.

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

Total credits: 33

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

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.

Core Courses for MA with Specialization

Two Core Courses  
COMM 600 Introduction to Graduate Studies 3
COMM 798 Communication Studies Project 3
Two Methods Courses  
COMM 650 Research Methodologies in Communication (required course) 3
Select one course from the following: 3
Qualitative Methods  
Research Methods II  
Media Content Analysis  
Other graduate level methods course, taken in COMM or elsewhere, as approved by graduate director.
 
Two Theory Courses  
Select two theory courses from the following: 6
Theories and Research of Mass Communication  
Intercultural Communication  
Health Communication  
Theories of Public Relations  
Persuasion Theory  
Theories of Interpersonal Communication  
Organizational Communication  
Science Communication  
Science and the Public  
Strategic Communication  
One Practicum Course 1  
Select one practicum course from the following: 3
Communication Research Practicum  
Communication Consulting  
Advanced Communication Skills for STEM  
Graduate Seminar in Instructional Communication  
Theory and Practice of Digital Communication  
Climate Change and Sustainability Communication Campaigns  
Social Marketing  
Communication Internship  
Independent Production  
E-Health Communication  
Health Communication Campaigns  
Total Credits 21
1

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

Specializations

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  
Select two specialization courses from the following: 6
Seminar in Communication 1  
Theories and Research of Mass Communication  
Political Communication  
Theories of Public Relations  
Persuasion Theory  
Communication Consulting  
Risk Communication  
Climate Change and Sustainability Communication Campaigns  
Social Marketing  
Special Topics in Communication 1  
Strategic Communication  
International Public Relations  
Crisis Communication  
Health Communication Campaigns  
Special Topics in Communication 1  
Optional Thesis 2  
Three credits of 3
Master's Thesis  
Electives 3  
Three to six additional credits chosen from: 3-6
Courses from the list above
 
Any other graduate COMM courses
 
Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.
 
Total Credits 12
1

When topic is strategic communication, as approved by program director.

2

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective. Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in AP.6.9.3 Master's Thesis. If a thesis is chosen, students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and, once enrolled in COMM 799 Master's Thesis, maintain continuous enrollment.

3

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  
Select two specialization courses from the following: 6
Seminar in Communication 1  
Health Communication  
Persuasion Theory  
Special Topics in Communication 1  
Intercultural Health and Risk Communication  
Consumer-Provider Health Communication  
E-Health Communication  
Health Communication Campaigns  
Special Topics in Communication 1  
Optional Thesis 2  
Three credits of 3
Master's Thesis  
Electives 3  
Three to six credits chosen from: 3-6
Additional courses from the list above
 
Any other graduate COMM course
 
Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.
 
Total Credits 12
1

When topic is health communication as approved by program director.

2

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective courses. Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in AP.6.9.3 Master's Thesis. If a thesis is chosen, students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and, once enrolled in COMM 799 Master's Thesis, maintain continuous enrollment.

3

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  
Select from the following: 1 6
Seminar in Communication  
Special Topics in Communication  
Special Topics in Communication  
Optional Thesis 2  
Three credits of 3
Master's Thesis  
Electives  
Three to six credits chosen from: 3 3-6
Additional courses from the list above
 
Any other graduate COMM course
 
Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.
 
Total Credits 12
1

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 above as approved by the program director.

2

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective courses. Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in AP.6.9.3 Master's Thesis. If a thesis is chosen, students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and, once enrolled in COMM 799 Master's Thesis, maintain continuous enrollment.

3

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

MA with Concentration in Science Communication (SCMN)

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

Two Core Courses  
COMM 600 Introduction to Graduate Studies 3
COMM 798 Communication Studies Project 3
Two Methods Courses  
COMM 650 Research Methodologies in Communication 3
Select one course from the following: 3
Qualitative Methods  
Research Methods II  
Media Content Analysis  
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 1
 
Two Theory Courses  
COMM 639 Science Communication 3
COMM 642 Science and the Public 3
One Practicum Course  
COMM 641 Advanced Communication Skills for STEM 3
One Required Course  
COMM 640 Controversies in Science Communication 3
or COMM 644 Analysis and Criticism of Science Journalism
Optional Thesis 2  
Three credits of 3
Master's Thesis  
Electives 3  
Select 6-9 credits of electives 6-9
Total Credits 33
1

Students should select from 500- or 600- level courses offered by CHSS, COS, CHHS, SPGIA, or CEHD.

2

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective courses. Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in AP.6.9.3 Master's Thesis. If a thesis is chosen, students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and, once enrolled in COMM 799 Master's Thesis, maintain continuous enrollment.

3

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.

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