Dec 03, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin

Communication Studies Major, B.A./B.S., JUMP option with Master of Arts in Communication

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College of Liberal Arts  >> Communication and Media  

39 hours; C or better required in all major courses; 2.25 major GPA required

Communication Studies connects two important aspects of a USI education: the liberal arts and the professional preparation. By incorporating writing, speaking, and digital communications across the curriculum, the Communication Studies program explores communication in various contexts and forms.

Communication Studies faculty work with students so they can meet the current needs of business and industry leaders who demand that college graduates demonstrate effective communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and leadership experience in addition to the ability to think critically and conceptually. Students emerge from the major in communication studies as proficient, critical consumers and producers of messages and interactions at the personal, social, civic, and professional levels.

Graduates pursue various careers. Many work in corporate communication, mass media, sales, retail management, non-profit organizations, human resources, corporate training programs, government agencies, and the healthcare industry, while others own businesses or attend graduate school.

JUMP (Joint Undergraduate-Master’s Path)

Select programs also offer a Joint Undergraduate-Master’s Path (JUMP) option. JUMP programs are geared toward outstanding undergraduate students who plan to continue their education by enrolling in a related USI master’s degree program. Approved JUMP programs offer students an alternative pathway to degree completion by providing 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 the final semesters of their undergraduate program. After completing the 12 hours of graduate coursework, special credit will be awarded at the undergraduate level and will apply toward the undergraduate program requirements. Students pay undergraduate tuition and fees for undergraduate coursework and pay graduate tuition and fees for graduate coursework (including the 12 credit hours completed while still an undergraduate).

Admission Requirements (Communication Studies, JUMP option)

To be eligible for the Communication Studies JUMP option with the Master of Arts in Communication, students must:

  • Be seeking the Communication Studies major;
  • Have completed between 75 and 96 credit hours of undergraduate coursework;
  • Have completed CMST 101 , CMST 107 , CMST 201 , CMST 203 , CMST 204 , and CMST 301 ;
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 and a Communication Studies major GPA of 3.50;
  • Complete a JUMP application that includes a statement about their academic preparation and their understanding of JUMP policies and procedures, as well as three references.

Program Structure (Communication Studies, JUMP option)

The Communication Studies major requires 39 credit hours. The Master of Arts in Communications degree requires 36 credit hours. Students in the JUMP option complete 27 hours of undergraduate-level CMST coursework and 36 hours of graduate-level COMM coursework. After completing 12 hours of COMM electives, special credit will be awarded at the undergraduate level and will apply toward the undergraduate program requirements.

Typical JUMP schedule

UG = Undergraduate, GR = Graduate

   Fall  Spring  Summer
 UG, Year 3    Complete JUMP application;
 Apply to Graduate Studies (conditional admission)
 UG, Year 4
 15 hours UG credit
 3 hours UG credit
 6 hours GR credit
 6 hours GR credit
Upon successful completion of all UG requirements and 12 hours of GR credit, the BA/BS degree will be awarded and full admission to Graduate Studies (Master of Arts in Communication degree) will be granted.
 GR, Year 1  9 hours GR credit  9 hours GR credit                                               6 hours GR credit

Directed Electives (21 hours)

Select 9 hours of CMST coursework and 12 hours of 600-level COMM coursework. Refer to the Graduate Bulletin for course descriptions of approved COMM courses.

Students in the JUMP program cannot complete a CMST elective and a COMM elective with the same focus (ex: students can complete either CMST 302 or COMM 605, but not both).

Additional Graduate Coursework

After the BA/BS degree is awarded and full admission to the Master of Arts in Communication program is granted, students will complete an additional 24 credit hours of graduate-level COMM coursework to complete the master’s degree:

  • 9 hours of required coursework
  • 9 hours of directed electives
  • 6 hours of either a Thesis/Capstone or a Non-Thesis option with comprehensive examination

Refer to the Graduate Bulletin for a complete description of the Master of Arts in Communication program or contact the graduate program director with questions.

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