Jul 15, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION]

Master of Arts in Communication (MA)

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. degree 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 during their final semesters of their undergraduate program. After completing 12 hours of COMM electives, special credit will be awarded at the undergraduate level and will apply toward the undergraduate 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

Graduate Studies Admission Criteria and Application Process

Refer to the Admission  section of the bulletin for information about Graduate Studies admission criteria and the online application process.

MAC Program Admission Requirements

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

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A well-written letter of intent is required for students with a GPA under 3.0 and is optional for students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 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.

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.

Curriculum (36 hours)

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: In lieu of completing COMM 690  or COMM 699 , the non-thesis option requires an additional 6 hours of directed electives (as approved by faculty advisor) and successful completion of a 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.