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Department of Communication, Media, & Persuasion

M.A. in Communication

The Master of Arts in Communication program is a highly flexible 30 credit graduate degree. Students typically take graduate courses in other departments to supplement work in Communication, Media, and Persuasion to build their own cohesive program of study. All students need to work with an advisor to design and approve a program of study and should contact one of the graduate faculty before registering for the first semester. Though it is possible to work at an accelerated pace, the Master of Arts in Communication is designed as a two-year program.

Goals

The primary objectives related to the Master of Arts in Communication program are to help students develop the following competencies:

  • An understanding of the history and nature of the Communication discipline.
  • The ability to read, understand, and critique scholarly communication-related research and analysis.
  • The ability to design and conduct original communication-related research and analysis.
  • The ability to engage in critical thinking.
  • The ability to communicate effectively in writing.
  • The ability to communicate effectively through oral presentation.
  • The ability to engage in effective applied problem-solving for personal and professional goals.
  • The ability to construct and evaluate strategic verbal and visual messages.
  • The ability to use effective information research strategies.
  • An understanding of the role of communication in interpersonal, group/team, corporate, political, cultural, mediated, and historical contexts.
  • Knowledge and skill useful to graduates' professional success.
  • Knowledge and skill applicable to graduates' personal lives.
 

Basic Program Requirements

All programs of study will be expected to reflect the following departmental standards:

  • At least 30 MA program credits
  • At least 15 credits must be from 6600-level course work.
  • At least 15 credits must be from course work in Communication, Media, and Persuasion.
  • Students choosing the Graduate Degree Paper option must take a minimum of 27 course credits plus a minimum of 3 Graduate Degree Paper (CMP 6660) credits.
  • Students choosing the Thesis option must take a minimum of 24 course credits plus a minimum of 6 Thesis (CMP 6650) credits.
Required Coursework:
  • CMP 6601 Introduction to Graduate Research Methods (to be taken in a student’s first fall semester)
  • A minimum of nine credits of CMP 6630 Seminar in Communication (repeatable)
    • Note: CMP 6630 is a repeatable "topics" course. The focus of each section of CMP 6630 is dependent on the faculty instructor's interest and expertise. You may contact the CMP office or faculty members to find out about upcoming CMP 6630 topics to determine what sections would be most relevant to your program of study. However, all faculty will approach CMP 6630 in a way that allows most if not all graduate students to find relevant connections. Typically, students will register for two sections of CMP 6630 in their second semester (spring) and one section of CMP 6630 in their third semester (fall).
  • Additional credits from 5500 and/or 6600 level CMP courses or other graduate-level courses approved as part of a program of study
  • Graduate Degree Paper or Thesis

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the application deadlines for the program?
    • The application deadlines for the program are set by the ISU Graduate School. Currently, students wishing to enroll in the Spring Semester must apply by Nov. 1st. Students seeking entry during teh Summer or Fall Semesters must apply by April 1st.
  • Can I apply for a graduate teaching assistantship?
    • Yes. To be considered for a teaching assistantship, students must send complete application materials by April 15, including GRE scores. Assistantships offer over $8000 for the academic year and are generally awarded for the fall and spring semesters. Application materials are available by contacting the department directly or by clicking the button above.
      In addition, all graduate teaching assistants must have either completed CMP 4487/5587: Rhetorical Theory or complete the course within their first semester as a teaching assistant.
  • Can I take whatever courses I want to satisfy the 12-15 "additional credits" requirement listed above?
    • The program is quite flexible. You will likely take graduate courses in other departments to supplement your course work in Communication, Media, and Persuasion. However, the courses you take will need to form a cohesive program of study. You need to work with a graduate advisor to approve the "additional credits" as part of your program.
  • What other departments have courses I should consider to supplement my program of study?
    • Each graduate student has unique interests and goals, and there are many departments with courses that are relevant to an individually tailored MA in Communication. Explore the most recent graduate catalog thoughtfully and thoroughly. Previous graduate students have found valuable classes in departments and programs such as Anthropology, Business Administration, English, Educational Leadership, History, Organizational Learning and Performance, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.
  • If I need an approved program of study, how do I decide what courses to take in my first semester?
    • Be sure to contact one of the graduate faculty before registering. That faculty member can direct you to a few courses that will be appropriate. Eventually, you and an advisor will work out the entire program of study. Do plan to take CMP 6601 Introduction to Graduate Research Methods in your first semester as a graduate student (or in your first fall semester if you begin the program in the spring or summer). If you have minimal undergraduate background in the communication field, you might consider taking CMP 5585 Classical Rhetorical Theory to give you a better historical and theoretical foundation.
  • How long will it take me to complete the MA program?
    • It depends on many things. First, graduate classes require much more individual effort and out-of-class time than undergraduate classes. Full time graduate students typically take 9-12 credits in a semester. Also, as with most faculty across the university, CMP department faculty are not on contract during the summer and, therefore, not available to assist graduate students during that time. Summer progress is possible but is usually limited to courses in other programs that offer summer graduate classes and self-directed work on degree papers or theses. Finally, much depends on how long it takes a student to complete, polish, and defend a final degree paper or thesis. Though it is possible to work at an accelerated pace, the MA in Communication is designed as a two-year program.
  • How do I decide between degree paper or thesis?
    • This is an issue to discuss with your advisor as you plan your program of study. However, very few students over the years have chosen the thesis option. A thesis is a very involved and extensive independent research project. It is difficult to predict the amount of time needed to complete such a project, and it is not unusual for the thesis work to extend across multiple semesters or even years. Also, few students have personal, professional, or educational goals that require completion of a thesis. The degree paper is a highly refined piece of independent scholarship, but it is not as extensive as a thesis project. It typically starts as a paper from a graduate class, and this provides a head start on the process of developing and refining the project toward completion.

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