Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 36

Required Courses:

Core Courses
MSP 5011Introduction to Communication Concepts3
MSP 5114Communication Research Methods3
MSP 9845Masters Colloquium1
Select at least one of the following:3
Media Institutions
Media Technology and Culture
Courses in Area of Concentration 120
Culminating Courses6
Master Colloq/Comp Exam
MA Thesis/Project
Total Credit Hours36

It is recommended that students adhere to the following timeline for degree completion:

Year 1
FallCredit Hours
MSP 5011Introduction to Communication Concepts3
MSP 5114Communication Research Methods3
MSP 9845Masters Colloquium1
 Term Credit Hours7
Spring
Select one of the following:3
Media Institutions 
Media Technology and Culture 
Select two courses in area of concentration7
 Term Credit Hours10
Year 2
Fall
Select three courses in area of concentration10
 Term Credit Hours10
Spring
Select one of the following:6
Master Colloq/Comp Exam 
MA Thesis/Project 
Select one course in area of concentration3
 Term Credit Hours9
 Total Credit Hours: 36

Culminating Events:
Master's Thesis or Project:
Students can elect to complete a thesis or master's project.

Comprehensive Examinations:
Upon completion of all or most coursework and all other requirements, the student who elects not to complete a thesis or master's project must take comprehensive examinations. The comprehensive examinations are a set of written tests on several subjects, that may, if necessary, be followed by oral discussions. As the student nears coursework completion, s/he should discuss with the advisor the constitution of the Comprehensive Examination Committee and the topics of the examinations. During this period, the student is also advised to check with prospective faculty members concerning their willingness and ability to serve as members on the committee. This should be done sometime during the student's third term of study. The comprehensive exams are taken during the final term of study.

The examinations cover the discipline of media and communication, not the precise coursework taken by a given student. The student is examined in three areas that s/he determines in conjunction with her/his committee. Each area is represented by the question(s) of one committee member. The questioner in each examination area may be understood to be the lead or main reader for that area. The three areas are chosen Communication Behavior, Communication History, Communication Institutions, Communication Message Systems, Communication Research Methodology, Communication Theory, and an optional area.

The form of the examinations is determined by the student and the Comprehensive Examination Committee. Each of the three examinations can be taken either in office or at home, either with or without the use of notes and/or books, and for a period of a few hours to a week. In all cases, the written portion of the examination must be completed within a 14-day period. In-office examinations may not exceed four hours.

The student must answer every question on the examination in order to be evaluated. Evaluators look for an understanding of core concepts, application of relevant materials, informed responses, and careful writing. Additional standards may be applied by individual faculty members. All members of the Comprehensive Examination Committee evaluate each answer and convey their assessments to the committee chair within three weeks of receiving the examinations. First, each content area is graded on a pass/fail basis. To pass in a given area, the majority of committee members (i.e., no fewer than two) must accept the answer(s). Included in this majority approval must be that of the area examiner (i.e., the lead reader). Second, to pass the comprehensive examinations, the Comprehensive Examination Committee must also determine that the overall written (and oral, if required) performance across all questions and areas is adequate. Thus, it is possible that a student may discharge each area just passably but have such a weak overall performance that s/he fails the comprehensive examinations.

The examinations are scheduled by the student and her/his committee members. The student must complete all of the examinations within the 90 days following the approval of the student's Comprehensive Examination Committee; if 90 days elapse from the approval-of-committee date without completion, the process must be started again from the beginning. Examinations may be scheduled any time during the regular academic term, either Fall or Spring.