Graduate program

The Department of Communication offers graduate work leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Science in Communication. Our faculty concentrate on research in the areas of health communication, mass media, political communication, language and social interaction.

Admission requirements

Communication M.A./M.S.

Communication M.A./M.S.

All students must meet both University and Department requirements to successfully complete the program in communication. We offer a Master of Arts and a Master of Science degree. The M.A. requires foreign language proficiency, while the M.S. does not. All students must complete a total of 50 graduate credits, of which 42 are taken in coursework, plus an additional 8 credits toward the student’s thesis or project. Students entering the program are expected to develop an understanding and appreciation of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological breadth of the discipline and to develop expertise in the pursuit of particular interests in the study of communication.


Each student’s program must be based on the following:

Core theory courses:

Each student is required to take one core theory course:

Comm 511Introduction to Communication Theory


Core methods courses:

Three core methods courses (listed below) are required of each student and include the following:

Comm 521Quantitative Methods in Communication Research


Comm 531Qualitative Methods in Communication Research


Comm 532Critical Methods of Media Inquiry


Elective Area:

At least 5 courses


Students are encouraged to choose electives from within the Department, and courses taken outside the Department must be approved by student’s program adviser in order to count toward the requirements of the degree.

Every student is encouraged to take one credit of Comm 507 (Communication Research Apprenticeship) per quarter (a maximum of 6 credits may be counted toward the requirements of the degree). Comm 507 involves working closely with a faculty member in order to gain hands-on experience in how to conduct communication research.


(8 credits) OR


At least 8 credits

Total Credit Hours: 50

Program options

All students complete one of the following with close supervision of their adviser. We strongly encourage students to pursue the thesis option.

a. Thesis

The thesis entails a systematic study of a significant problem and contributes to the body of knowledge relevant to the study. A thesis is a research report completed in close consultation with the student’s academic adviser and may be either quantitative or qualitative. Each student who elects the thesis option will complete a written thesis and pass a final oral examination.  Prior to beginning work on the thesis, students must demonstrate proficiency in relevant theories and research methods. Students must complete at least 8 thesis credits (Comm 503).

b. Project

Students who choose the Project Option work closely with their faculty advisors on planning a course of study grounded in relevant theories, concepts and practices.  Students who chose this option must demonstrate appropriate research and methodological competency by successfully completing 3 exams as the culminating project.  Students must complete at least 8 project credits (Comm 506).