The MA in Communication Studies

We offer a nationally acclaimed MA program that one external reviewer praised as having a "Ph.D. level faculty and course of study." Our program offers students foundational courses in three broad areas of the discipline - interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and rhetoric and public discourse - as well as training in qualitative, quantitative, and rhetorical methods. In addition, we offer a range of topical courses and seminars about communication related to thematic areas such as gender, environment, family, identity, community, risk, conflict, and technology.

Students select our program for several reasons:
  • Close student-faculty interaction. Our size means students get close attention.
  • Distinctive opportunities for gaining teaching experience. TA recipients typically run their own classroom while teaching from a common curriculum.
  • Flexible curriculum and latitude in pursuing research projects. Students work closely with advisors to develop a program of study that serves their long-term goals.
  • Success of our students in finding jobs and earning admission to top Ph.D. programs. Our students have gone onto Ph.D. programs at the Universities of Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Utah, and Texas, among others.

And, our students have taken positions such as Marketing Director at Hulu; Executive Director of the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival; Communications Officer at Breast Cancer Action; and Client Executive at Burson-Marsteller Malaysia.

We welcome both students who ultimately seek a Ph.D as well as those who wish to pursue the MA as a launchpad for other careers. Rather than training students for particular workplace settings, we aim to develop knowledge and skills that are applicable to a wide range of professional contexts.

Faculty and Courses

Co-Directors of the MA Program: Professors Sara Hayden and Steve Schwarze

Our faculty are prominent, active, award-winning scholars in Communication Studies. Several have received top paper, article, and book awards from their respective divisions of the National Communication Association. In addition, four of our faculty members have earned university-level teaching awards at UM, and two (Betsy Bach and Sara Hayden) have been recognized with WSCA's Master Teacher Award. More information about faculty research interests and accomplishments can be found on the faculty and staff page.

To get a glimpse of the kinds of courses that you might take as a graduate student in our department, check out the syllabi for our 400 and 500-level courses.