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Graduate students: Kandice Harris, Jennifer Urbach, & Amanda Cline presenting at the 2012 Texas Speech Communication Association Convention in San Antonio

Graduate Study in Communication

Program Overview

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in communication program is designed to prepare students who want to advance their careers and/or continue their education into a Ph.D. program. We are dedicated to providing a high-quality experience for our students that will help them grow as communication scholars, critical theorists, citizens, and professionals. Our comprehensive program features course work in research methods, communication theory, critical and cultural studies, and relational and organizational communication.

Program Requirements

Application Information
Applications are processed on a continual basis. To avoid delays in processing your application, all required materials (i.e., $40 application fee, official transcripts, essay and GRE test scores) should be submitted at least six weeks before the first day of the semester in which you plan to enroll. You may electronically submit the graduate application at the College of Graduate Studies website.

Admission Requirements

  • A four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A minimum of 24 semester credit hours (SCH) of undergraduate work in communication/mass media, including at least 12 credit hours in advanced course work (other majors will be considered on a case-by-case basis)
  • An application essay of no more than 500 words
  • An overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 (including all grades on repeated courses) or a GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate work (including all grades on repeated courses) or a GPA of 3.0 or better in six or more graduate-level semester credit hours taken in a graduate degree program in a discipline relevant to the graduate program in communication

General Degree Requirements

  • The total number of hours required for the program leading to the Master of Arts in communication is 36 for both the thesis and non-thesis options. Students in the program may take only 6000-level course work for their degree plans.

    All degree candidates must take a prescribed core requirement of 15 graduate hours in communication consisting of:

    • COMM 6302 Quantitative Research Methods
    • COMM 6303 Communication Theory
    • COMM 6304 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Communication
    • COMM 6312 Qualitative Research Methods
    • COMM 6313 Rhetorical Analysis 

    All students enter the program with a non-thesis degree plan. After completing nine semester credit hours (SCH) of communication graduate coursework, students who wish to do so may petition the communication graduate faculty through the graduate advisor to change to a thesis degree plan.

    Thesis students are required to enroll in six hours of thesis work (COMM 6399 Thesis twice, or COMM 6699 Thesis).

    All non-thesis degree candidates are required to pass a comprehensive examination. The exam will include all the communication core courses required on the student’s degree plan (COMM 6302, 6303, 6304 and 6312, 6313) in addition to any graduate communication electives completed prior to the semester in which the comprehensive examination is administered. The exam should be administered when the student is in the last semester of his/her program.

    Thesis option students will complete an oral thesis defense that may include questions regarding their course work.

    9-Hour Review: Students will complete a review with department graduate faculty after completing 9 hours of graduate course work.

Finishing the Degree

There are two options to consider for finishing the M.A. in communication depending on your goals and interests. Students either take a comprehensive examination, or, if approved by Graduate Faculty, a research intensive thesis project. 


  • A student electing to write a master’s thesis must register for COMM 6399/6699 when beginning thesis research. The student must then register for COMM 6399/6699 every consecutive semester until the thesis is completed and accepted by the University, including the semester in which they degree is conferred. 
  • If the student fails to enroll, a reinstatement fee will be assessed.
  • If a degree is to be awarded at the end of summer sessions, the student must enroll in a thesis course in one summer session. (Please note, thesis defense will not be scheduled during the summer sessions.)
  • The student may not enroll in 6399/6699 in the same semester.

Contact program advisor to discuss comprehensive examinations.

Thesis Option

Students must complete a minimum of 36 semester credit hours of graduate work, including:

  • The 15-hour communication core
  • 9 additional graduate hours in communication
  • 6 graduate elective hours taken from communication or other approved departments
  • 6 hours of thesis (COMM 6399 twice, or COMM 6699)
  • Finishing a thesis or any major project or paper in Graduate School can be difficult. The following are some tips to help you get through. 

Non-Thesis Option

Students must complete a minimum of 36 semester credit hours of graduate work, including:

  • The 15-hour communication core
  • 15 additional graduate hours in communication
  • 6 graduate elective hours taken from communication or other approved departments

Graduate Program

Degree Plan

Bring this graduate degree plan with you when you meet with an academic advisor.

Graduate Student Advising

  • For more information about the M.A. program in communication, contact:

    Dr. Derek M. Bolen

    Assistant Professor of Communication and
    Graduate Program Advisor

    Office: Porter Henderson Library, 3rd Floor/B321
    Phone: 325-486-6086