Communication Program - M.A.
Are you interested in applying to the Communications M.A. Program? Read on to find out what it takes to get into the program, what is expected of you as a student, and how you can get the most out of your time in the program.
About the Graduate Program
The School of Communications offers a graduate program leading to the M.A. degree in Communication. The program areas of specialization reflect the expertise of our Graduate Faculty in organizational and intercultural communication, global communication, information and communication technologies, social media, and communication policy and planning. Both individual faculty members and the program as a whole work within sociocultural and sociotechnical perspectives. The goal of our program in terms of student learning is to help our students build and exchange knowledge in areas relevant to the broad field of Communication and to our specific areas of specialization.
Qualified applicants are admitted to the Program in the fall semester only. Applicants are not required to have an undergraduate communication degree. All applicants must fulfill the UH Graduate Division's admission requirements by the January 15 deadline. Applicants to the Program must submit to the School a statement of academic objectives that describes both those objectives and the manner in which our Program is expected to help meet those objectives. Applicants must also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to the School. These letters should be written by persons who are familiar with the student's academic accomplishments. Letters from former professors are preferred. Students applying from non- English-speaking countries must have a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based) or 250 (computer-based) or 100 (internet based). Qualified applicants whose academic objectives match our program specializations will be admitted as classified students on a space available basis.
Each classified student admitted into our Program is assigned an interim advisor who assists the student in the initial planning of his or her degree program. The student may, at any time, change that advisor by informing the Program staff of the change. Once the student has selected a Thesis or Practicum Committee Chair that faculty member becomes his or her permanent advisor. The student remains, however, primarily responsible to ascertain that all Program requirements are being met in a timely fashion.
Each student must complete a minimum of 33 credits with at least a 3.0 grade point average. These credits are to be distributed by taking:
- Both Foundation Courses 611 Communication Theory & 612 (6 credits)
- Two Core Courses (6 credits) from our specializations in Organizational & Intercultural Communication (623 & 643), Telecommunication & New Media (633 & 634), or Global Communication & Journalism (644)
- One Seminar 691 (3 credits) (repeatable up to 6 credits)
- One Capstone Activity (6 credits), selected from 700 (Plan A Thesis) or 695 (Plan B Practicum)
- The remaining 12 credits are selected from: Additional Core Courses, Advanced Courses 646 & 660; courses from the School's Graduate Certificate Program in Telecommunication and Information Resource Management (TIRM) 680, 681, 682, 683, 684; Directed Research 699; 400 level augmented undergraduate courses, or graduate courses outside the Program (both the latter require approval of Committee Chair; maximum 6 credits).
Each student is expected to take at least one 3-credit course or seminar each semester. All substitutions, exceptions, and/or courses external to the Program must be approved by the Thesis or Practicum Committee Chair and noted in the student's official records. If students are not enrolled for courses during a semester they must apply for an official leave of absence. In pursuit of their academic goals students often earn more than the minimum 33 credits. The program can be compressed into 15 months or stretched out over 60 months. Typically, however, students complete the program in 18 to 24 months.
On completing 611 and achieving a 3.0 grade average in all completed coursework, each classified student is eligible for admission to candidacy allowing him or her to formally identify a degree plan from the two options available. These options are to complete either a Thesis (Plan A) or Practicum (Plan B) as his or her Capstone Activity. At the same time, the student selects the Chair and Members of his or her Thesis or Practicum Committee. The Committee is responsible for supervising and evaluating the student's thesis or practicum activity. The Committee must be comprised of at least three members of the graduate faculty from the University with at least two of those members and the Chair from our Program. Both the Committee members and the topic of the activity must be approved by the Graduate Division and research to be conducted approved by the University's Institutional Review Board (IRB). At the completion of the program the students must take a two-hour oral exam on their knowledge of the field and defense of their thesis or practicum report.
Career opportunities for graduates with an M.A. Degree in Communication are numerous, expanding, and varied. In recent years, for example, graduates have been employed as college-level instructors, as managers of communication and telecommunication companies, as human resources and intercultural specialists and trainers, as consultants, and as intervention specialists in organizational, community and social programs. Some graduates also elect to continue studies in a Ph.D. program or professional school.
Professional Activities and Networking
A graduate degree in any field, including communications, is more than taking courses and fulfilling credit requirements. To fully optimize the learning and networking opportunities provided by our Program all students are encouraged to participate in local, national and international conferences, seminars or workshops to present papers or projects or to volunteer as program organizers, staff, or otherwise to represent the School of Communications. Supplementary funds are often available on a competitive basis for travel and conference fees.