M.A. Major in Mass Communication (Strategic Communication Concentration Professional Project Option)

Major Program

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers an opportunity for media professionals, and recent graduates to expand their education and training within the mass communication field by earning a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree. 

Students in the M.A. program take a variety of skills-based and theory courses. The curriculum provides students with the digital and analytic skills needed for the field of mass communication. Students can select to earn the general M.A. in mass communication, or they can decide to declare a concentration in the area of global media, digital media, or strategic communication and take nine hours of coursework centered in their concentration. Courses are offered during the evening, online, or via a hybrid teaching model because a large percentage of students enrolled are working professionals. 

Facilities

The Schools' faculty offices, classrooms, Mi lab, media labs, and administrative offices are located in historic Old Main.

Financial Assistance

Graduate assistantships are offered with competitive stipends. Having a graduate assistantship also provides an out-of-state tuition waiver. Assistantship responsibilities include teaching fundamentals of digital media or assisting faculty with research. Most assistantships are assigned in May for the fall term, but assistantships may be available for students who wish to begin the graduate program in the spring.

The School offers limited scholarships for currently enrolled students. Also, the College of Fine Arts and Communication and The Graduate College provide a variety of scholarships for new and returning graduate students. See the various web sites for details.

Application Requirements

The items listed below are required for admission consideration for applicable semesters of entry during the current academic year. Submission instructions, additional details, and changes to admission requirements for semesters other than the current academic year can be found on The Graduate College's website. International students should review the International Admission Documents webpage for additional requirements.

  • completed online application
  • $55 nonrefundable application fee

          or

  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials
  • baccalaureate degree in mass communication or journalism from a regionally accredited university
  • official transcripts from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)
  • GRE not required
  • resume/CV including information about educational background, work experience, and extracurricular activities
  • statement of purpose including a professional narrative discussing how the skills learned in the curriculum featured in the M.A. program will be applied in current or future careers
  • two letters of recommendation from individuals competent to assess the student’s capacity to pursue graduate education in mass communication. Students who did not major in mass communication as an undergraduate student should submit at least one of the two letters from a professor in the student’s undergraduate major. Students transferring from another institution should submit at least one of the two letters from a professor in the previous institution.

TOEFL or IELTS Scores

Non-native English speakers who do not qualify for an English proficiency waiver:

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 100 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 7.0 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.5

​This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree with a major in Mass Communication concentration in strategic communication requires 36 semester credit hours. All students are required to make a minimum 3.0 GPA in the required courses, a minimum 3.0 GPA in the concentration, and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the electives. 

Required Courses
MC 5302Research Methods in Mass Communication3
MC 5303Theories of Mass Communication3
MC 5316Digital Media Issues3
MC 5324Media Writing3
MC 5328Digital Story Production3
MC 5313Media Law and Ethics3
Advisor may substitute 6 credits of MC coursework.
Concentration
MC 5308Seminar in Strategic Communication3
MC 5338Ethics and Crisis in Strategic Communication3
MC 5326Strategic Communication Campaigns3
Electives
Choose 6 hours from the following:6
Mass Media and Society
Health Communication Campaigns
Feature Writing
The Psychology of Social Media
Content Analysis
Foundations For Mass Communication Graduate Studies
Collecting, Analyzing and Presenting Data
Refugees, Nonprofit Organizations and Strategic Communication
Social Media Strategies, Campaigns and Analytics
Mass Communication History
Gender, Race, and Class in the Media
Global Media Issues
Independent Study
Digital Media Design
Strategies in Media Management
Creative Problem Solving in Mass Communication
Advanced Digital Media
Media Ethics
Mass Media and Politics
Latinos and Media
Global Media Strategy in Advertising and Public Relations
Current Issues in Mass Communication
Visual Communication
Media Systems in Latin America
Internship in Mass Communication
SXTXState Project
Digital Media Entrepreneurship
Storytelling Across Platforms
Code Camp I
Code Camp II
Global Media in the Connected World
Managing Digital Content
Project
MC 5307Project3
Total Hours36

Comprehensive Examination Requirements

All candidates for graduate degrees must pass one or more comprehensive examinations.

Master's level courses in Mass Communications: MC

Courses Offered

Mass Communication (MC)

MC 5155. Teaching Techniques in Mass Communication.

Required of, and open only to, graduate teaching and instructional assistants as a condition of employment. This course provides training and planned periodic evaluations of instructional responsibilities. This course does not earn graduate degree credit.

1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Graduate Assistantship|Exclude from Graduate GPA
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

MC 5199B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: MC 5399A and completed course work.

1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

MC 5255. Teaching Techniques in Mass Communication.

Required of, and open only to, graduate teaching and instructional assistants as a condition of employment. This course provides training and planned periodic evaluations of instructional responsibilities. This course does not earn graduate degree credit.

2 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Graduate Assistantship|Exclude from Graduate GPA
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

MC 5299B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: MC 5399A and completed course work.

2 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

MC 5301. Mass Media and Society.

A seminar devoted to analysis and discussion of significant contemporary issues in mass communication, including a study of the history of the development of mass communication media. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5302. Research Methods in Mass Communication.

Investigation of the tools and techniques of both qualitative and quantitative research methods used in the study of mass communication, including surveys, content analysis, experimental designs and case studies.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5303. Theories of Mass Communication.

Examination of the literature of mass communication theory and discussion of theoretical approaches and models.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5304T. Health Communication Campaigns.

Provides an overview of the theory and practice of designing, producing and evaluating health-communication campaigns. Examines persuasive approaches to behavioral change as well as audience, message and channel factors in health-campaign development. Emphasizes communication approaches, including mass media, social networking and new media.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5304Y. Feature Writing.

This course provides an in-depth understanding of the technical expertise, research methods, interviewing skills and narrative techniques pertinent to feature writing. The course also explores how to target a feature story to a specific audience and how to submit feature stories for publication to newspapers and magazines, print and online. Prerequisite: MC 5324. Corequisite: MC 5303 or MC 5302.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5306B. The Psychology of Social Media.

This course reviews social cognitive theories and research about the way social media users both produce and consume social media messages. It will examine clinical psychological and psychiatric effects that take place among social media users who do not have a clinical diagnosis. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5306F. Content Analysis.

Content analysis is a systematic way to analyze the content of documented communications, whether they are written, audio/visual or digital. This course will examine the methodological steps involved in conducting a quantitative content analysis, design and execute a content analysis study. Corequisite: MC 5303 or MC5302.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5306H. Foundations For Mass Communication Graduate Studies.

This course will familiarize students with the structure of the mass communication discipline, prominent theorists and historical developments, as well as expose them to the process of research and writing in the discipline of mass communication. Corequisites: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5306I. Collecting, Analyzing and Presenting Data.

This course will introduce students to skills for working with data as well as perspectives from which to think critically about the use of data in contemporary society. It will focus on three stages of working with data: collection, analysis and presentation. Corequisite: MC 5302 and MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5306L. Refugees, Nonprofit Organizations and Strategic Communication.

This course analyzes strategic communication of nonprofit organizations serving refugees and asylum seekers. Students are introduced to organizations that serve these marginalized populations in Texas and to the problems, challenges and opportunities these organizations face. Students will conduct research and produce a project on an issue related to this topic. Corequisite: MC 5302 and MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5306M. Social Media Strategies, Campaigns and Analytics.

This course will expose students to the principles and strategies behind social media campaigns. It will discuss the interactions, channels, SEO, and social media metrics used to gauge the success of a social media campaign. Students will also examine successful social media case studies. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5306N. Mass Communication History.

History of Mass Media is a course that examines the development of the American mass media, including advertising and public relations, from 1690 to the present. Corequisite: MC 5303, MC 5302.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5307. Project.

A major communication effort to demonstrate command of the skills necessary to work at advanced levels in mass communication. For example, it may be broadcast documentary, advertising or public relations campaign, or a newspaper series. This course is the master's capstone for those on the professional project track. Prerequisite: Departmental approval.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5308. Seminar in Strategic Communication.

This course broadens students' understanding of issues related to advertising and public relations through an integrated communication perspective. Students learn the decision-making process, learn what problems real organizations experience and evaluate how they resolve issues in such areas as client-agency relationships, strategic planning/management and globalization. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5309. Gender, Race, and Class in the Media.

This course takes a theoretical approach to the study of representations of gender, race, and class in the mass media. A historical overview will be followed by an in-depth look at current conditions. (MULT). Corequisite: MC 5303 or MC 5302.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Multicultural Content
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5310. Global Media Issues.

This course examines the media systems worldwide in different socioeconomic contexts and studies the patterns of international information flow. The course includes theories governing international communication. Students learn how and why communication takes place between different nations and the impact of this communication on individual nations. (MULT). Corequisite: MC 5303 or MC 5302.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Multicultural Content
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5311. Independent Study.

Study of a special interest that offers academic or professional improvement and growth in the field of Mass Communication. May be repeated once with different emphasis for additional credit. Prerequisite: Departmental approval.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5312. Digital Media Design.

This course instructs students in Web development and design. Students learn Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Stylesheets (CSS) coding and are introduced to graphics and multimedia programs and web development frameworks. The class addresses the history and social implications of creating for the web. Prerequisite: MC 5334. Corequisite: MC 5303 or MC 5302.

3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 1 Lab Contact Hour.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5313. Media Law and Ethics.

Study of laws and regulations as they pertain to media operations and the internal and external codes that guide media behavior. Freedom and responsibilities of the mass media practitioners and institutions will also be explored within the framework of ethical theories. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5314. Strategies in Media Management.

This course offers an analysis and discussion of issues involved in digital and other media ownership and operation, including monopoly and competition, labor relations, human resource management and staffing, the politics of workplace supervision and market relations Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5315. Creative Problem Solving in Mass Communication.

This class examines the psychology of creativity and its application in mass communication to media management, broadcasting, advertising, and public relations. Students learn a variety of ideation techniques and structured creative problem solving methods to better understand their own creative thinking process and how to facilitate creative thinking in groups. Corequisite: MC 5303 or MC 5302.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5316. Digital Media Issues.

This course will examine the role of digital media, including the Internet, Web and mobile technologies. Issues discussed will include social media and cyberculture research, technology diffusion, data journalism, analytics and the effects of digital technologies on society and culture, with a focus on ethics and regulation. Corequisite: MC 5303 or MC 5302.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5317. Advanced Digital Media.

This course builds on web development skills to create interactive presentations and data visualizations. Students are introduced to advanced programming and data concepts relevant to communicators. Theoretical and practical considerations of emerging technologies to the media industry will be integrated with production techniques. Prerequisite: MC 5312. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 1 Lab Contact Hour.
Course Attribute(s): Lab Required
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5318. Media Ethics.

The study of freedom and responsibilities of mass media practitioners and institutions, explored within the framework of ethical theories. Students will learn philosophical constructs as well as contemporary ethicists. Consideration of values, codes of ethics, moral development, professionalism, and institutional constraints as applied to media of information, persuasion and entertainment. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5319. Mass Media and Politics.

The class will review key literature in the area of mass media and politics. It examines the relationship between the press and the government, as well as how the mass media covers politics at the statewide and national level. Corequisite: MC 5303 or MC 5302.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5321. Latinos and Media.

An immersion into the study of Latinos, their representations in media, and media oriented to Latinos. The course will require students to engage in in-depth research about Latinos and media issues. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5322. Global Media Strategy in Advertising and Public Relations.

This course provides an in-depth examination of multinational communication organizations, including news media, public relations, and advertising companies. In addition, the course examines organizational roles, impact and strategic functions in a global marketplace. Students will evaluate case studies of how global organizations serve diverse audiences and clients. Prerequisite: MC 5310 with a grade of "B" or better; MC 5302; MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5323. Current Issues in Mass Communication.

This course examines current theoretical and professional issues in mass communication. This course may be repeated once with a different emphasis for credit. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5324. Media Writing.

This course is designed to impart media writing skills. Students will learn information gathering and interviewing skills, and narrative techniques pertinent to different mass media. Students will produce media pieces that could be published across a wide variety of media outlets. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5326. Strategic Communication Campaigns.

A comprehensive study of strategic communication campaign planning with emphasis on public relations and advertising. Students will combine theory and practice to develop, coordinate and evaluate advertising/public relations campaigns for key audiences. Prerequisite: MC 5302; MC 5303; MC 5308 with a grade of "B" or better; MC 5338 with a grade of "B" or better.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5327. Visual Communication.

This course examines the principles, theories, and language of visual communication, emphasizing the evaluation and use of images in digital mass media. Students will learn about media influences on their perceptions of reality and their behavior, the elements of visual literacy, and multicultural and global perspectives in visual media. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5328. Digital Story Production.

This course involves discussion, development and analysis of multimedia stories, documentary video, and digital media. Students explore digital media techniques used in writing and producing multimedia stories. They learn visual aspects of storytelling and how to produce digital stories. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 1 Lab Contact Hour.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5329. Media Systems in Latin America.

Students analyze media systems Latin America within their historical, cultural and political contexts. The course provides a comparative perspective of the role of the media within the region, their national markets and international Latino market. Students will ground these investigations with theories of international communication and information flow. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5330. Internship in Mass Communication.

Students acquire on-the-job experience in an off-campus media setting where they can apply the skills and knowledge acquired through mass communication graduate course work. Requires 180 hours of work off-campus, a written report, a portfolio of work product, and a supervisor's evaluation. Prerequisite: Departmental and Instructor approval. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 0 Lecture Contact Hours. 12 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

MC 5332. SXTXState Project.

This course involves attendance at and coverage of the South By Southwest Interactive Conference. Students will prepare for the event, attend panels, interview participants and produce digital content about the experience. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5333. Digital Media Entrepreneurship.

This course explores innovation and creativity associated with digital entrepreneurship. Students will be introduced to important concepts and ideas from thought leaders and innovators at the intersection of media and technology. Students will research and develop their own digital media products. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5334. Storytelling Across Platforms.

Students learn the tools, channels and techniques available for multimedia storytellers The course introduces new and emerging ways to tell stories, including social media, photo and video platforms, branding and audience engagement, mobile media and data visualization. Prerequisite: MC 5328. Corequisite: MC 5302 or MC 5303.

3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 1 Lab Contact Hour.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5335. Code Camp I.

Students are immersed in programming concepts relevant to communicators. Students will practice document object model manipulation using appropriate software to create interactive Web projects. Prerequisite: MC 5312; with a grade of "B" or better. Corequisite: MC 5336.

3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 1 Lab Contact Hour.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5336. Code Camp II.

Students are immersed in data and visualization concepts relevant to communicators. Students will create interactive data visualization projects. Prerequisite: MC 5312; with a grade of "B" or better. Corequisite: MC 5335.

3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 1 Lab Contact Hour.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5337. Global Media in the Connected World.

Students will examine the prospects, challenges and applications of global media in areas such as socioeconomic development, political participation, digital divide, strategic communication, global crises and global entertainment. This course will critically analyze the role and use of traditional, digital and social media in a connected world. Prerequisite: MC 5302; MC 5303; MC 5310 with a grade of "B" or better; MC 5322 with a grade of "B" or better.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5338. Ethics and Crisis in Strategic Communication.

Students will examine strategic communication practices throughout the stages of a crisis and ethical considerations. Special emphasis is placed on the crisis cycle, media relationships, image restoration, ethical responses, and organizational learning. Prerequisite: MC 5302; MC 5303; MC 5308 with grade of "B" or better.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

MC 5399A. Thesis.

A scholarly study of communication behavior, the purpose of which is to broaden understanding of what mass media do, how they do it, and with what effects. It may be quantitative, historical or rely upon another appropriate methodology. No thesis credit is awarded until student has completed the thesis in MC 5399B. Prerequisite: Completed course work.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

MC 5399B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: MC 5399A and completed course work.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

MC 5599B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: MC 5399A and completed course work.

5 Credit Hours. 5 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

MC 5999B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: MC 5399A and completed course work.

9 Credit Hours. 9 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit