M.A. in Communication


The graduate program in Communication has two main objectives: 1) to guide students in an intensive exploration of the structures, functions and theories of communication, and 2) to guide students in mastering the methods and theories of communication inquiry.

  • Interested in interpersonal, gender or organizational communication?
  • Interested in journalism, mass media, social media or TV production?
  • Interested in public relations, interviewing or advertising?
  • Interested in interracial, intercultural or global communication?
  • Interested in political communication, the race for the Presidency?

The beauty of our program is that YOU can design your own Master’s Degree in Communication based on your career goals. YOU are the center of our program! Follow your passion! Only two required classes: COM 504 and 506. After that, the choices are yours – Shape your own future!

You can earn an M.A. by taking 10 classes (4 credits each) = 40 credits total.

Core Requirements

COM 504 Introduction to Graduate Study in Communication — 4 Hrs.
COM 506 Research Methods in Communication — 4 Hrs.
500-level graduate seminars in Communication — 12 Hrs.*
Graduate-level COM courses (400- or 500-level) — 12 Hrs.*
Elective (400- or 500-level) — 4 Hrs.**
COM 501 Closure Experience (minimum) — 4 Hrs.

*400-500 Level Courses

**If the elective is outside Communication, it must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor within the Communication Department.

Course Offerings

Cross-listed courses may be accepted for the major.  Students should be careful to register for the course with the appropriate department prefix (COM) to ensure that credit is received.  Other courses may be accepted toward the major only through Student Petition to the Communication department.

Although 400-level courses are open to both B.A and M.A. candidates, graduate students enrolled in 400-level courses should expect more stringent grading standards and/or more assignments (and perhaps differently structured assignments) than undergraduates enrolled in the same courses.

The Communication Department may require students to take specific courses in order to meet deficiencies. Typically, this is stipulated at the time of acceptance into the program. COM 599 Tutorial credit may not be used to satisfy the 500-level seminar requirement.

Master’s Closure

In accordance with campus requirements, all graduate students must complete a closure experience (COM 501) consisting of one of the following:  a thesis, a project, or comprehensive exams.  The proposed thesis or project must be approved by a faculty committee before it is started. Students must have completed a minimum of 32 (preferably 36) credit hours to be eligible for comprehensive exams.  Students write comprehensive exams over five areas during a two-day period.  Comprehensive exams will be offered once every semester at a regularly scheduled time.  More specific guidelines on any of the three options listed above are available from the Communication Department or from COM faculty.

Students must enroll for a total of four hours credit in the closure experience; however, they may accrue the total in increments.  Campus policy requires that students be enrolled in at least one semester hour of closure experience for each fall and spring semester after they have begun their graduate closure exercise until that exercise is completed.  For Communication students, this means that if the closure experience (thesis/project/comprehensive exams) has not been completed by the end of four continuous credit hours of enrollment in COM 501, students must register for COM 502 Closure Experience Continuing Enrollment (zero credit hours, one billable hour) each regular semester (excluding summer terms) until the closure experience is completed.


For admission to the Communication M.A. program, a student must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Apply to Graduate Admissions and be admitted to UIS as a degree-seeking student
  • Pass the Communication Department’s graduate admission examination. Please contact the Communication Department to schedule a time to take the exam.
  • Provide the Communication Department with two professional letters of recommendation (at least one from an academic source)
  • Submit a one- to two-page personal statement of purpose to the department

The first step is to contact the UIS Admissions Office and complete the university’s application for master’s degree study. The Admissions Office will also require the applicant to submit official transcripts from all of the colleges and universities attended. The Communication Department cannot consider an application until these first steps are completed through the UIS Admissions Office.

The Communication Department reserves the right to require additional coursework where deficiencies are indicated. A student must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or greater (on a 4.00 scale) for regular admission to the department. A cumulative GPA is calculated on all of your college coursework—not just the courses you’ve taken at the last college attended.

Students with cumulative GPAs slightly below 3.0 may in some instances, and in consideration of all application materials, receive conditional admission, but this is not a given. Students who are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination must achieve a score of 580 or above to be admitted to the department.

The Communication Department strongly recommends graduate students begin studies in the fall semester in order to take COM 504 Introduction to Graduate Studies (offered in the fall) and COM 506 Research Methods (offered in the spring), consecutively. Applications for the fall semester must be received by March 1 of the spring prior for full consideration. Graduate students may be admitted on a limited basis for the spring semester; deadline for spring applications is October 1.

The Graduate Admission Writing Examination: All incoming graduate students in the Communication Department are required to complete the program’s writing examination. The writing exam includes multiple-choice grammar/vocabulary questions and an essay.

Graduate Public Service Internships and/or Graduate Assistantships are also available. All materials must be submitted by March 1 to be considered for interviews for these positions.  You work 20 hours a week and receive a tuition waiver and partial fee waiver as well as your paycheck/stipend.

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