Jun 05, 2023  
2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin 
2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION]

Master of Arts in Communication (MA)

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Graduate Studies  >> College of Liberal Arts  


The Master of Arts in Communication program (MAC) is a comprehensive, integrated program that bridges human communication and mass communication to focus on critical, cultural, and social scientific approaches to the communication practices. The Master of Arts in Communication program provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to understanding human and mass communication across multiple contexts–personal, professional, social, civic, and mediated. The program establishes for students a foundation of effective problem solving and leadership in areas as diverse as technological change, international relations, conflict and negotiation, corporate communication, personal relationships, cultural and identity studies, corporate responsibility, and community outreach. The program deliberately adopts pedagogical techniques that develop students’ problem-solving abilities and critical-thinking skills. The hands-on capstone experience connects students’ learning experience with real-life problems and will provide a service to the community. For students who want to pursue advanced graduate studies, a thesis option is offered that allows the student to gain experience in academic research. Students who complete the M.A. in Communication will be able to apply their increased knowledge of communication processes, contexts, theories, and research methodologies to further their career and educational goals.

The MAC offers graduate education through flexible platforms so students may choose to complete courses online, face to face, or in a hybrid format. In addition, the MAC offers a Joint Undergraduate-Master’s Path (JUMP) option, which allows outstanding undergraduate USI students majoring in Communication Studies the opportunity to complete both an undergraduate and graduate degree in approximately five years. This innovative pathway accelerates the time it takes to complete the graduate degree by allowing students in a JUMP program to complete 12 hours of graduate-level coursework durint their final semesters of their undergraduate program. These 12 hours apply toward both the undergraduate and graduate program requirements. For more information on the JUMP option, refer to the Communications Studies program in the undergraduate bulletin.

Program Objectives

The objectives of the Master of Arts in Communication program are:

  • To produce graduates who are skilled communicators—written, oral, and computer-mediated—and who can apply those skills for real solutions
  • To equip students with analytical and practical tools to gather information and apply those discoveries in professional and academic settings
  • To encourage students to use information and theories as logical problem solvers, effective leaders, and successful team members

Admission Requirements

Unconditional admission for all applicants into the Master of Arts in Communication program will be contingent on the following factors:

  • Admission to Graduate Studies
  • A Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A well-written letter of intent. The letter of intent will serve as the student’s application letter and writing sample. In this writing sample, the admissions committee will evaluate the student’s potential and ability for graduate-level writing. This letter should explain how a student’s career goals are related to or enhanced by our degree program.
  • Three positive professional letters of recommendation

Students in the process of completing their undergraduate degree can seek conditional admission and enroll in 2 courses (6 hours of credit). If a B or better is earned in both courses, students will be accepted unconditionally to the MAC upon conferral of their undergraduate degree. 

Applicants not meeting other admission criteria may also be conditionally admitted. Conditionally admitted students may take two graduate courses (6 hours of credit).  If a B or better is earned in both courses, with approval from the Director of the MA in Communication, the student will be admitted unconditionally.

For admission criteria for the JUMP option, refer to the Communications Studies program in the undergraduate bulletin.


The program is comprised of 36 credit hours (12 courses) of coursework leading to a Master of Arts degree. A total of 15 hours of course work (five courses) are required; an additional 21 hours (seven courses) must be taken from a selection of elective course offerings.

Required Coursework (15 hours)

Theory Requirement (3 hours)

Thesis/Capstone or Non-Thesis Option (6 hours)

Select only one:

  • Credits: 1-6 (6 hours required)
  • Credits: 1-6 (6 hours required)
  • Non-thesis option with comprehensive examination: Requires 6 hours of additional directed electives, as approved by faculty advisor, and successful completion of comprehensive examination.

Type of Degree

Students who complete the program are awarded the Master of Arts degree. There are no distinctions in the name or prestige of the degree according to the thesis, capstone, or non-thesis options.

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