M.S. Course of Study
The M.S. degree requires 30 credits of course work. The program typically takes full-time students at least four semesters to complete. Part-time students take longer and arrange school schedules that accommodate other responsibilities.
Students select from two options for their program of study: the Research Thesis (Plan A) option or Research Project (Plan B) option. Recent students have completed theses and research projects on a variety of topics. Students are best served if they commit to one of the options no later than mid-term of their second semester of full-time study.
Research Thesis (Plan A):
The research thesis option enables students to work closely with faculty members to conduct original research on a communication-related problem or issue. The topic of the research thesis varies according to each student’s interest, but all students learn vital critical, conceptual, and analytical skills throughout the thesis research and writing process. Upon completion, students defend the thesis in front of their faculty committee.
Research Project (Plan B):
The research project option allows students to work with an outside organization, typically the organization that is currently employing them. In the research project, the student uses communication theories and methods to solve a particular communication problem for that organization. Upon completing their research, students write a professional report for the organization and defend the report in front of their faculty committee.
M.S. students are required to complete at least 30 credit hours of required and elective coursework. Required coursework includes a mixture of research methods and theory courses. These courses provide students with the foundational knowledge necessary to understand the challenges facing information transfer and new technologies in the twenty-first century.
In addition to the required core of classes, students select elective coursework that is consistent with their goals and interests. For these elective courses, students may decide to take additional theory or research methods courses, or they may elect to take up to nine credit hours from 300- and 400- level skills courses (e.g., video production, website design) in the JMC department. The flexibility of this elective requirement enables students interested in both academic and professional careers to achieve their goals. A 3.0 GPA must be maintained throughout the M.S. degree.