Master of Arts (M.A.) Major in Communication Studies (Non-thesis with 9-hour Minor Option)

Major Program

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree with a major in Communication Studies comprehensive, non-thesis program provides the greatest flexibility and breadth of understanding. The department assigns all communication studies majors to the comprehensive program with a resource area. After the first term of course work, the student may request the thesis option or select a minor. 

Students may choose to finish either program with 6 or more hours of a resource area or a minor. Students consult with the communication studies graduate advisor to select the courses in a resource area, but students must consult and obtain the approval of graduate advisors in other departments to complete a minor. Minors often involve more than 6 hours of course work.

Students may select communication studies courses that develop expertise in one or more of the following resource areas: organizational communication, rhetorical studies, communication training and development, health communication, interpersonal communication, or instructional communication. Students also may select courses from related disciplines, such as mass communication, education, English, psychology, sociology, and business. The department encourages all students to explore courses that provide a breadth of knowledge about human communication.

Organizational Communication

Students primarily interested in organizational communication investigate the function, flow, and structure of communication in organizations to enhance organizational effectiveness.

Rhetorical Studies

Students interested in rhetorical studies investigate how symbols have the power to shape perceptions and alter attitudes. Students may select from courses that offer a broad overview of rhetorical theory and rhetorical methods.

Communication Training and Development

Students who seek careers as communication trainers or human resource development specialists select from several courses that provide information and prescribe strategies to enhance communication performance.

Health Communication

Students who focus on health communication investigate the essential role of communication in healthcare through a variety of courses that explore such topics as barriers to patient and provider interactions, health communication leadership, health disparities, healthcare training and assessment, health in relationships and healthcare team effectiveness.

Interpersonal Communication

Students who emphasize interpersonal communication take courses that focus on the role of communication in the development and maintenance of human relationships. Seminar in Interpersonal Communication provides a comprehensive review of theory and research that explores interpersonal relationships.

Instructional Communication

Students who wish to pursue careers in teaching at the community college level will take courses that will prepare them for a career in education including communication curricula typically found in community colleges (interpersonal communication, small group communication, public speaking, and communication fundamentals). In addition, students may select courses from our outstanding College of Education.

Facilities

The department is located in the completely renovated Centennial Hall which offers outstanding resources including faculty offices, several graduate assistant office suites, computer labs, conference rooms, classrooms equipped with comprehensive instructional technologies, and a state of the art teaching theatre. The department also has a newly renovated research lab with computer technology and data collection tools.

Faculty

The department’s faculty members are active in state, regional, national, and international associations and widely publish their research in books, professional and academic journals, podcasts, and blogs.

Application Requirements

The items listed below are required for admission consideration for applicable semesters of entry during the 2017-2018 academic year. Submission instructions, additional details, and changes to admission requirements for semesters other than the 2017-2018 academic year can be found on the program’s web page. International students should review the International Admission Documents section of the catalog for additional requirements.

  • completed online ApplyTexas application
  • $40 nonrefundable application fee
  • $50 nonrefundable international evaluation fee (if applicable)
  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • official transcripts required from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.2 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)
  • background course work: at least 18 hours of communication studies undergraduate credit hours (see Requirements tab)
  • GRE scores not required
  • statement of purpose
  • three letters of recommendation

TOEFL or IELTS Scores

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

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall and minimum individual module scores of
    • 19 listening
    • 19 reading
    • 19 speaking
    • 18 writing
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

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 Communication Studies requires 36 semester credit hours. Students who have the required number of undergraduate hours but do not have junior-level courses in quantitative research methods and rhetorical criticism will be required to enroll in leveling courses.

Course Requirements

Required Courses
COMM 5309Proseminar in Communication Research Methods3
Choose 3 hours from the following:3
Empirical Methods in Communication Research
Rhetorical Methods
Qualitative Research Methods in Communication
Electives
Choose 21 hours from the following in consultation with the graduate advisor:21
Directed Research in Communication Studies
Interpersonal Communication
Organizational Communication
Communication Assessment
Seminar in Instructional Communication
Seminar in Human Communication Theory
Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
Communication and Negotiation
Managing Communication Technologies in the Workplace
Communication and Organizational Culture
Nonverbal Communication
Persuasive Communication
Communication and Technology
Historical Rhetoric and Social Influence
Contemporary Rhetoric and Social Influence
Political Communication
Small Group Communication
Applied Communication Studies
Media Criticism
Gender and Communication
Communication Training and Development
Organizational Communication Analysis and Development
Organizational Rhetoric
Capstone Research Project
Minor
Choose a 9-hour advisor-approved minor9
Total Hours36

Thesis or a Comprehensive Examination Committee

A student must be in good academic standing to apply for a thesis or comprehensive exam committee. The student’s cumulative GPA in all their graduate classes and in their communication studies classes must be 3.0 or higher. Also, the student should not have any incomplete grades in their classes.

Students must submit departmental forms to the director of graduate studies by November 1 or April 1. Students applying for a thesis must make the request in the term in which they will complete 15 hours of course work. This is generally during the second term of full-time graduate course work since students must complete a thesis over two or more terms. Students applying for a comprehensive exam committee must make the request in the term in which they will complete 27 hours of course work. This is the term before they anticipate graduating. The graduate faculty reviews all requests.

Doctoral and Master's level courses in Communication Studies: COMM

Courses Offered

Communication Studies (COMM)

COMM 5100. Teaching Communication Studies.

An introduction to curriculum, instruction, and assessment methods in the teaching of Communication Studies. Provides an orientation as well as regular in-service training and planned periodic evaluations of instructional responsibilities. This course does not earn graduate degree credit. Repeatable with different emphasis.

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

COMM 5199B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollments. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

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

COMM 5299B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollments. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

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

COMM 5301. Empirical Methods in Communication Research.

An examination of empirical research methods in speech communication. Measurement procedures, statistics, experimental design, and descriptive research methods will be investigated as well as a consideration of scholarly writing and library research. Required of communication studies majors.

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

COMM 5302. Rhetorical Methods.

A study of approaches to the analysis of public discourse directed toward establishing workable perspectives for students conducting rhetorical analysis. Required of communication studies majors.

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

COMM 5303. Qualitative Research Methods in Communication.

This course provides an introduction to qualitative methods of inquiry in communication. Students will learn and apply principles of qualitative research designs in data collection, analysis, and integration of narrative and non-numeric data in communication research. Must receive permission to enroll from the Department of Communication Studies Graduate Director.

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

COMM 5304. Work/Life Intersections.

This course examines those situations where work and life intersect and how humans use communication to create, negotiate, and manage work/life intersections.

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

COMM 5307. The Dark Side of Communication.

This graduate seminar will examine aversive and problematic interactions in interpersonal, organizational, health, and instructional settings. Sample topics include (un)fairness, backstabbing/betrayal, breaking up, end of life communication, deception, teacher misbehaviors, and bullying. Students will take a research-based approach to understanding these undesirable, yet common, messages. Prerequisite: Must receive permission to enroll from the Department of Communication Studies Graduate Director.

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

COMM 5309. Proseminar in Communication Research Methods.

The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of the methods used in the discipline of Communication Studies. To that end, we will begin by introducing students to the history of the discipline followed by overviews of rhetorical, quantitative, and qualitative research methods. Prerequisite: Must receive permission to enroll from the Department of Communication Studies Graduate Director.

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

COMM 5310. Methods of Teaching Communication Studies.

A study of the methods of the teaching speech communication principles and skills for secondary school teachers. Prerequisite: Admission to teacher certification program or permission of department chair.

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

COMM 5312. Intercultural Communication.

This course examines how culture evolves and is maintained through communicative systems of meaning. The many ways in which language, culture, and communication interact with, influence, and manifest in each other in everyday experience are explored.

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

COMM 5313. Relational Communication.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of relational communication theories and research. Students engage with theory and research frameworks to think critically about relational communication perspectives and contributions, understand the strengths and limitations of those perspectives, and learn to contribute to new knowledge of relational communication. Students must receive permission to enroll from the Department of Communication Studies Graduate Director.

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

COMM 5314. Family Communication.

This course explores the communication processes associated with families. Topic areas for exploration will include: storytelling, intimacy, conflict, rituals, religion, health-illness, and death. The goal is to further understand interdisciplinary research and theory related to family interactions embedded in larger webs of social, cultural, and generational relationships. Students must receive permission to enroll from the Department of Communication Studies Graduate Director.

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

COMM 5315. Directed Research in Communication Studies.

A course to be offered to certain graduate students to allow for independent study in a specific area for which a regular course is not available. May be repeated with different emphasis for additional credit.

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

COMM 5318. Interpersonal Communication.

A review of current research in the area. Includes an examination of contemporary theories and research methods.

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

COMM 5319. Organizational Communication.

Examines organizational communication theory and research in applied organizational contexts. Provides communication professionals with an analytical framework for improving communication.

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

COMM 5320. Directing Communication Studies and Theatre Activities.

Designed to assist any teacher, whether of speech and drama or some other subject, in directing speech and drama activities. During the course, those in the class will actually direct debate, plays, declamation, and other activities. May be repeated with different emphasis for additional credit.

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

COMM 5321. Communication Assessment.

An in-depth study of communication assessment techniques employed in the field of oral communication. Statistical, experimental, and observational methods of assessing oral communication in interpersonal, group, and classroom settings are included.

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

COMM 5324. Seminar in Instructional Communication.

Examines communication instruction theory and research and their practical applications in various instructional settings.

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

COMM 5325. Seminar in Human Communication Theory.

An examination of theories of human communication contexts including interpersonal, family, intercultural, organizational, and instructional communication. May be repeated with a different topic.

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

COMM 5327. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory.

A survey of the major contemporary theoretical perspectives and conceptual debates in rhetoric. Focuses upon critical interpretations and applications of theory in addition to study of primary theorists’ writings.

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

COMM 5329B. Communication and Negotiation.

Examines theory, research, and practice of conflict management and negotiation. Prerequisite: COMM 5319 or permission of instructor.

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

COMM 5329D. Managing Communication Technologies in the Workplace.

Examines how communication technologies both help and hinder workplace communication. Examines theory, practical applications, key scholars and empirical research. Heavy focus on using case studies that provide context for learning how to thrive in the contemporary organization.

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

COMM 5329E. Communication and Organizational Culture.

A seminar about communication and organizational culture. Discussion and materials explore communication practices that enable people to identify themselves as members of an organization and bind themselves to each other. Students will have the opportunity to analyze an organization. Prerequisite: COMM 5319 or consent of instructor is required.

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

COMM 5330. Nonverbal Communication.

A review of current theory and research of nonverbal communication behavior.

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

COMM 5331. Persuasive Communication.

An analysis of theories of persuasion. Emphasis placed on understanding established theories of attitude formation and change, contemporary persuasion, research, and the application of persuasion theory.

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

COMM 5332. Communication and Technology.

Focuses on research and theories about the relationships between technology and communication behavior in interpersonal group, and organization contexts. Also considers relationships between communication, technology, and culture.

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

COMM 5333. Health Communication.

This course provides an overview of health communication theory and research to explore how interpersonal, organization, and cultural messages shape our views of illness and the health care system. Topics will include health literacy, health risk messages, e-health, health disparities, and physician-patient interactions. Students much receive permission to enroll from the Department of Communication Studies Graduate Director.

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

COMM 5342. Historical Rhetoric and Social Influence.

The analytical study of speeches, speakers, groups, movements, and rhetorical strategies in history. Includes emphasis on the following topics: American Public Address, Rhetoric of Woman’s Suffrage, and other historic topics of interest. May be repeated with different emphasis or topic for additional credit.

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

COMM 5343. Contemporary Rhetoric and Social Influence.

The analytical study of speeches, speakers, groups, movements, and rhetorical strategies in contemporary society. Includes emphasis on the following topics: rhetoric and culture, rhetorical movements, and rhetorical genres. May be repeated with a different topic.

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

COMM 5344. American Speeches.

This course is a survey of American public address. The class will study significant and representative speeches from different periods of American history. This class will examine what the study of American public address can teach us about history, communication, and social influence.

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

COMM 5345. Political Communication.

Study of political communication in contemporary times. Course will cover the rhetoric of candidates and politicians, the structure of political campaigns, and campaign practices.

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

COMM 5347. Small Group Communication.

An examination of theories and research evidence about communication in the small group.

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

COMM 5350. Applied Communication Studies.

An application of communication principles and skills. Topics covered may include organizational, interpersonal, nonverbal and group communication, conflict management, communication technology, and persuasion analysis. May not be taken for credit by students pursuing M.A. degree in Communication. May be repeated for additional credit with department approval.

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

COMM 5355. Media Criticism.

A rhetorical analysis of media from a Contemporary Cultural Studies perspective.

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

COMM 5356. Gender and Communication.

An examination of research and theories about gender communication, relationships, and qualitative research methods. (MULT).

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

COMM 5360. Introduction to Empirical Research in Communication.

Introduction to Communication Studies as a behavioral science. Students will learn principles of the scientific method; explore quantitative and qualitative methods; investigate variables across the field (persuasion, interpersonal, organizational, non-verbal, intercultural, and instructional); and analyze and apply research in Communication. This course does not earn graduate degree credit.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from Graduate GPA|Leveling
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

COMM 5362A. Organizational Communication.

Introduction to communication concepts in the context of organizations. Students will learn how communication influences contemporary organizations through familiarity with contemporary research. Students will be prepared to understand, investigate, and manage communication processes in organizations. This course does not earn graduate degree credit.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from Graduate GPA|Leveling|Topics
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

COMM 5362B. Organizational Rhetoric.

Introduction to the study of organizational rhetoric designed for internal and external audiences. Students will analyze and create messages based in theories of organizational rhetoric. This course does not earn graduate degree credit.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from Graduate GPA|Leveling|Topics
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

COMM 5363. Introduction to Rhetorical Research in Communication.

Introduction to the rhetorical tradition in Communication, with a focus on methods of analysis of discourse. Students will learn the significance of rhetorical analysis; explore a variety of critical methodologies; perform an analysis of discourse; and report findings in writing. This course does not earn graduate degree credit.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from Graduate GPA|Leveling
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

COMM 5371. Communication Training and Development.

This course examines the theory and practice of developing and presenting communication training sessions for organizations. Prerequisite: COMM 5319 or permission of instructor.

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

COMM 5372. Organizational Communication Analysis and Development.

Examines communication problems in organizations and describes effective interventions. Provides communication managers and consultants with a broad range of tools and procedures for diagnosing and changing communication. Prerequisite: COMM 5319, undergraduate organizational communication course, or permission of instructor.

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

COMM 5374. Organizational Rhetoric.

This course will include an examination of how organizations use symbols to accomplish a variety of functions for internal and external audiences, as well as exploring the concept of organization as rhetorical argument.

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

COMM 5390. Communication Internship.

Students acquire on-the-job experience in a position with an off-campus organization using skills and knowledge acquired through graduate coursework; requires written reports and other projects as specified by the supervising instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

3 Credit Hours. 0 Lecture Contact Hours. 10 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

COMM 5395. Capstone Research Project.

Under the direction of a graduate faculty member, students develop and submit a research or applied project using knowledge and skills acquired through graduate coursework. Required for students not pursuing the thesis path. May be taken only once for degree credit. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

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

COMM 5399A. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s initial thesis enrollment. No thesis credit is awarded until student has completed the thesis in Communication Studies 5399B.

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

COMM 5399B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollments. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

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

COMM 5599B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollments. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

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

COMM 5999B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollments. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

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

COMM 7315. Directed Research in Communication Studies.

Independent study of a specific communication research area. May be repeated with different emphasis for additional credit. Prerequisite: Doctoral level standing.

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

COMM 7325A. Instructional Communication.

A review of instructional communication theory and research with an emphasis on the function of communication in instructional settings. Prerequisite: Doctoral level standing.

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

COMM 7325B. Organizational Communication.

A review of organizational communication theory and research with an emphasis on organizational development from a communication perspective. Prerequisite: Doctoral level standing.

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

COMM 7325C. Communication Assessment.

An in depth study of communication assessment techniques employed in the field of oral communication. Statistical, experimental, and observational methods of assessing oral communication in interpersonal, group, and classroom settings are included.

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