MA in Communication

Catalog Year: 2020-2021

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, health communication or 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.

Students complete two program core courses, two methods courses, two theory courses, two specialization and at least 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, science communication, or individualized communication studies). Specific requirements are described below. 

Core Courses 

Two Core Courses
COMM 600 Introduction to Graduate Studies 3
COMM 798 Communication Studies Project (only 3 credits can apply to the degree) 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
Political Communication
Health Communication
Theories of Public Relations
Persuasion Theory
Theories of Interpersonal Communication
Organizational Communication
Risk Communication
Science Communication
Science and the Public
Climate Change and Sustainability Communication Campaigns
Strategic Communication
Crisis Communication
Total Credits 18

Specializations

Students complete the degree by completing 6 credits of coursework in one of the four specializations and an additional 9 elective credits in any graduate coursework, to include an optional thesis. Courses outside the department require the prior written approval of the program director.

Available Specializations

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
Science and the Public
Climate Change and Sustainability Communication Campaigns
Social Marketing
Special Topics in Communication 1
Directed Readings and Research
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
Six to nine additional credits chosen from: 6-9
Courses from the list above
Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.
Total Credits 15

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
Directed Readings and Research
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
Six to nine credits chosen from: 6-9
Additional courses from the list above
Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.
Total Credits 15

Science Communication Specialization

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

Two Specialization Courses
Select two specialization courses from the following: 6
Risk Communication
Science Communication
Controversies in Science Communication
Advanced Communication Skills for STEM
Science and the Public
Analysis and Criticism of Science Journalism
Climate Change and Sustainability Communication Campaigns
Directed Readings and Research
Optional Thesis 1
Three credits of 3
Master's Thesis
Electives 2
Six to nine credits chosen from: 6-9
Additional courses from the list above
Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.
Total Credits 15

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
Six to nine credits chosen from: 3 6-9
Additional courses from the list above
Up to 6 credits of coursework from other departments with prior written approval of the program director.
Total Credits 15