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