MA Program of Study

All students must complete a program of study of at least 33 credit hours of graduate course work, including a core of required courses. Students must culminate their M.A. program by either writing a thesis or taking a comprehensive exam. The department encourages all students to write a thesis based upon independent research initiated and conducted by the student. However, under some circumstances, a student may receive approval to write a comprehensive exam in lieu of the thesis. Generally, the exam option is not advisable for students electing the Marketing Communication program track or for students planning to continue their education at the Ph.D. level.

Each M.A. candidate is assigned a major advisor upon admission. In addition, the student is required to have two associate advisors who are also members of the department’s graduate faculty. These three faculty members comprise the student’s advisory committee which is responsible for approving the student’s proposed program of courses, approving the choice of exam or thesis option, and determining the acceptability of the comprehensive exam or thesis.

Core Courses

Core courses provide the student with exposure to the major research techniques central to the scholarly literature of communication. The basics of theory construction, techniques of data gathering and data analysis, and typical research projects in communication are covered. As a group, these courses provide a basis for advanced coursework offered by the department.

Core courses and the semester in which each should be completed are listed below:

COMM 5001 Introduction to Graduate Communication Research (1st semester)
COMM 5002 Communication Research Methods (2nd semester)
COMM 5003 Advanced Communication Research Methods (3rd semester)
COMM 5010 Theory Construction and Research Design (for Plan A Thesis option only) (3rd semester)

The remainder of the student’s program will be determined in consultation with the student’s advisor and Advisory Committee.  Students may include courses from other departments within the University with the permission of the Advisory Committee.

MA Program Tracks

The Communication program provides the student with a strong theoretical base for analyzing and researching human communication. It includes course work in both mass and interpersonal communication. Students selecting this program will receive excellent preparation for Ph.D. work, as well as a wide range of information about communication which may be applied in many non-academic settings.
In addition to the Core Courses listed above, students will take the following two core theory courses:
COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory
To complete the course requirements, students must choose additional courses from COMM offerings (four additional courses for thesis option; six additional courses for comprehensive exam option).
This program is provided for students who wish to apply knowledge of communication theory and research methods in a commercial setting. Graduates of this program would be likely to find employment in marketing research firms, larger advertising agencies which maintain their own research departments, and corporations which produce and evaluate their own advertising or personal sales materials.
In addition to the core courses listed above, students will take the following core theory course:
COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research
Furthermore, electives must be selected from the following: (one elective for thesis option; three electives for exam option).
COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Comm. Res. (highly recommended)
COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 5220 Group Communication Research
COMM 5230 Organizational Communication
COMM 5501 Nonverbal Communication & Persuasion
Finally, three courses must be selected from the following:
MKTG 5115 Market-Driven Management
(Prerequisite to all following courses)
MKTG 5220 Strategic Marketing
MKTG 5625 Marketing for Global Competitiveness
MKTG 5230 Product and Innovation Management
MKTG 5635 Marketing for Non-profit Institutions
MKTG 5640 Integrated Marketing Communications (highly recommended)
MKTG 5660 Customer and Market Behavior
This program is designed to prepare students for careers as behavioral researchers and change agents in organizations. Added to a strong background in communication theory and research methods will be a variety of theoretical approaches to organizational behavior and organizational change techniques through coursework in other departments.
In addition to the core courses listed above, students will take the following core theory course:
COMM 5230 Organizational Communication
In addition students must choose elective courses from the following four courses (one elective for thesis option; three electives for exam option).
COMM 5220 Group Communication Research (highly recommended)
COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research
COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication
COMM 5101 Motivation
Finally, three courses must be selected from the following:
OPIM 5110 Operations Management
PSYC 5613 Industrial Psychology
PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology
Other courses may be substituted only by Advisory Committee approval.