Communication M.A.

The Master of Arts in Communication degree is a course of study for persons in or preparing for further graduate study or mid-level and upper-level professional positions in public and nonprofit organizations. The program emphasizes the theoretical, practical, and analytical abilities required of persons holding responsible communication positions. Centered in the Department of Communication, it also permits the incorporation of specialized fields of interest such as general communication, journalism, mass communication, speech communication and emerging fields of public relations.

The course of study is designed to prepare students for matriculation to doctoral programs in communication, 2) train degree recipients for teaching responsibilities at the junior college level, and/or 3) provide professionals for private and public sector employment in the emerging fields of public relations.

The program has two tracks/concentrations: the generalist MA and Executive program in the emerging fields of public relations.

Master of Arts in Communication--Total Semester Hours=36

Admission Requirements

The requirements for admission to the communication MA program are as follows:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4 point scale on all upper-division course work.
  3. For applicants to the generalist track:
    1. A satisfactory score on the General Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE should be completed prior to the conclusion of the first long semester of enrollment.
    2. Two favorable letters of recommendation.
  4. Additional consideration for admission will be based upon the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to his or her chosen field of study, involvement and level of responsibility in non-academic matters including extracurricular activities, employment, community service, and socioeconomic background.
  5. Students who do not have a journalism or speech communication major or minor in their undergraduate studies may be required to take leveling courses as determined by the communication graduate faculty.
  6. In addition to requirements 1 and 2, applicants to the Executive Program in Emerging Fields in Public Relations must present evidence of suitable prior employment in the communication field. They must also submit a current resume and obtain the approval of the program director.

MA Generalist Track Degree Requirements

All candidates in the generalist track for the Master of Arts degree in communication must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 36 hours of graduate credit with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 in all course work applied towards the degree.
  2. No more than six semester hours in independent study courses may be applied to this degree.
  3. A grade of “B” or better in each core course.
  4. Satisfactory performance on a comprehensive written and/or oral examination, to be taken during the student’s last semester of enrollment, over the work covered in his or her degree program (see specific requirements of thesis and non-thesis options below).
  5. Students choosing the thesis option must submit a standard master’s quality thesis involving original research and satisfactorily defend the thesis. Students choosing the thesis option must complete 30 hours of coursework and COMM 5395 Thesis I and COMM 5396 Thesis II.
  6. Students choosing the non-thesis option must complete 36 hours of coursework and satisfactorily complete a comprehensive examination over coursework taken.

MA Generalist Track Course Requirements

Core Courses (9 Hrs.)

COMM 5308Seminar in Communication Theories

COMM 5310Communication Research Methods

COMM 5311Seminar in Communication

Elective Courses (21 hrs. for Thesis Option; 27 hrs. for Non-Thesis Option)

COMM 5301Literature of Journalism

COMM 5302Seminar in Rhetorical Criticism

COMM 5303Public Opinion and Propaganda

COMM 5315Mass Media and Popular Culture

COMM 5328Leadership and the Group Process

COMM 5329Topics in Communication Theory

COMM 5330Gender and Communication

COMM 5335Seminar in Organizational Communication

COMM 5340Seminar in Intercultural Communication

COMM 5344Seminar in Media Ecology

COMM 5345New Media Theories and Applications

COMM 5350Nonverbal Communication

COMM 5399Independent Study

Thesis Option (6 hrs.)

COMM 5395Thesis

COMM 5396Thesis

Executive MA Program: Emerging Fields in Public Relations

The Executive Communication (ECOM) track is designed for working members of the communication community. The program is taught using the "hybrid" model with one week of concentrated on-site instruction in Tyler each semester and additional requirements to be met online using Blackboard course management system. Courses are taught by expert faculty from around the country.

The ECOM program requires 36 semester credit hours. Students take three courses (nine credit hours) per semester and complete the degree in four regular semesters including one summer semester. The ECOM concentration is tightly sequenced and each cohort is admitted once a year in the fall semester. A student who misses a course will be required to wait for the next cohort.

Each candidate for the degree in the ECOM track must satisfactorily complete 36 hours of course work as indicated:

Cohort courses (all students take these)

COMM 5308Seminar in Communication Theories

COMM 5310Communication Research Methods

COMM 5311Seminar in Communication

ECOM 5312New Media Communication Law and Ethics

ECOM 5313Trending Media Technologies

ECOM 5314Developing an Innovative Media Plan

ECOM 5315Crisis Communication and Media Relations

ECOM 5322Current Communication Issues

ECOM 5623Capstone

Students select one specialization, take both courses

Healthcare Public Relations

ECOM 5316Survey in Healthcare Communication

ECOM 5317Healthcare Messages and Media Relations

PR in the Public Sphere

ECOM 5318Survey in Public Sector Communication

ECOM 5319Image Design and Management

Corporate Public Relations

ECOM 5320Survey in Corporate Communications

ECOM 5321Organizational Communication Dynamics

All candidates for the Executive Masters in Communication: Emerging Fields in Public Relations degree must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 36 hours of graduate credit with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 in all course work applied towards the degree with no more than one grade of “C”.
  2. Satisfactory performance on a final project, to be completed during the student's last semester of enrollment.