Master's Program Requirements

Students enrolled in the Master's program can select from one of two options: Take fewer courses and write a thesis, or take more coursework and write a professional paper. Regardless of the option chosen, all students must meet the requirements outlined below.

  1. Complete at least two of the following courses:COMX 460/461:

    COMX 460/461: Communication Research Methods (offered every semester)
    COMX 561: Qualitative Methods
    COMX 555: Rhetorical Criticism and Theory

  2. Complete at least 12 credit hours of other COMM courses at either the 400 or 500 level.

    We encourage comprehensive understanding of all types of research in the Communication discipline.  Thus, students are encouraged to take all of the research methods courses listed above.
    Teaching Assistants and those wishing to teach are strongly encouraged to take COMX 540, Seminar in Instructional Communication, when it is offered.

  3. Complete an undergraduate statistics course.

    Students are encouraged to take a statistics course prior to entering graduate school.
    Those without an undergraduate statistics course upon admission are required to enroll in one during their first year of graduate study, preferably prior to taking (or concurrently with) COMX 460/461.
    The statistics course does not count toward graduation.

  4. Students are expected and encouraged to attend the proseminar meetings, particularly in the first year of one's program.
  5. Students without undergraduate majors in communication may have additional requirements.

    Some students may be required to take more than the minimum number of hours required for a Master's degree to ensure a sufficient background in the discipline is attained.
    A minimum of 20 hours of COMM credits will be required for students without a strong background in communication studies.

  6. Students must fulfill the Graduate School requirements, which are in addition to departmental requirements (for detailed information see the UM Graduate School)

    A full 50% or more of the student's required course work (excluding research and thesis credits) must be at the 500-600 level.
    To maintain continuous registration students must be enrolled in at least 3 credits per semester.
    To be considered full time, graduate students must enroll in 9 credits per semester.
    At least 20 semester credits (including thesis or professional paper credits) must be taken in Communication Studies.

  7. Co-curricular courses are available.

    Independent study credits are available to students working on specialized projects with faculty members or participating in internships. Independent Study (COMX 596) is offered for a traditional grade or CR/NCR and is repeatable for a maximum of 6 credits, including a graduate-level internship (optional). Students enrolling in COMX 596 are expected to do graduate-level work.

    Students also have the option of enrolling in COMX 541 (Teaching the Basic Course) or COMX 594 (Topical Seminar) to meet registration requirements.  You may take as many credits of COMX 541 or 594 during your residency as necessary, but these credits may not be applied toward your M.A. degree. These courses are also CR/NCR only.

  8. Upon completion of 18 credits, students must choose a permanent advisor and select the thesis or no-thesis option.

    To begin this process, students must prepare an Academic and Professional Identity Statement. This requirement is to aid you in examining your own interests as well as in making career plans. This one-to-three page statement will serve as the cover letter for your Program of Study and should contain the following elements:

    • A statement of your primary scholarly interest (e.g., conflict), any secondary areas (e.g., feminist rhetoric, family communication), and an explanation of how the various areas cohere as a set;

      A brief description of your anticipated professional paper or thesis project, including theoretical and methodological approaches;

      An explanation of how your proposed program of study provides the best possible preparation for you to pursue your interests and your project/thesis, with special attention to any anomalies or unusual pursuits (e.g., why you are not taking a directly related course or why you did take a course that, at first glance, does not seem to fit).

      A statement of your career goals insofar as you know them, professional or personal experiences that have shaped those goals, and a discussion of how your scholarly interests and practical projects relate to your future plans.

      Your plan for making the best use of the summer of your first year; perhaps by doing a graduate internship or independent study (if relevant), supplementing your coursework here with classes at other institutions (if needed), doing bibliographic work on topics of interest, gathering preliminary data for a thesis prospectus or professional paper proposal (if called for), or drafting a prospectus/proposal.

      Your choice of culminating project. You can complete your degree by doing either a Thesis or Professional Paper. Each option has specific requirements.

  9. Toward the end of the thesis or professional paper, each student will present his or her work to the department in a 20-40 minute presentation. Ideally, this will occur after the student has collected and analyzed meaningful data for the project.