The Master of Arts in Communication offers advanced study of Communication with a combination of theoretical and applied courses. After taking a standard core that covers the theoretical, ethical, and methodological nuances of the discipline, students take a variety of electives that engage them in real-life communication issues, enable them to develop usable communication skills, and help them build solid portfolios that assist them is pursuing career goals, whether those goals include pursuing a doctorate or immediately entering the workforce. Most students complete either a thesis or a community project depending on what their career aspirations and interests might be.
Master of Arts Curriculum
Foundations: (Required of all students)
Electives (Must take 6 courses)
Students and an advisor design a curriculum that fits the student's goals. Three hours of Practicum or Directed Reading may be taken beyond the courses taken for a non-thesis option. Three hours may be outside of Communication Department chosen with consent of Advisor. Additional electives may be outside of Communication with consent of Program Director.
Thesis (includes oral defense of thesis)
Six hours of 500-level Communication courses taken as an undergraduate may be accepted for graduate credit. Also, a student may transfer up to six hours for graduate credit from another institution pending approval of the courses.
Non-thesis option:Students electing a non-thesis option will complete the 37 hours specified above, with two differences. Students who select the non-thesis option will substitute one 600-level practicum and one elective, for the six thesis hours. The non-thesis option also will include a Comprehensive Examination administered by Department Faculty.
The Master of Arts does not require an experiential component. However, students may choose to do a practicum in a private business, community organization or government agency that deals with communication. Students may complete the practicum in two ways. A student may turn current work or volunteer experience into a research project, or a student not previously affiliated with the practicum site may develop a project useful to the organization. In both cases, the student will work with a Communication Department faculty member to shape the project and will write a formal paper dealing with the project. Students who choose the practicum will be applying knowledge acquired in Communication coursework directly to area needs, thus serving the community and helping to build stronger university/community ties.
COMM 506 Ethical Problems in Communication
Examines the moral and ethical problems posed by communication practices. Topics include case studies in interpersonal communication, journalism, public relations, and advertising. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.
COMM 510 Special Topics in Communication Studies
Advanced study in specific areas of Communication Studies. Note: May be repeated under different subtitles.
COMM 513 History of Communication
Examination of the history of communication both as a set of practices and as a subject of academic inquiry. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.
COMM 520 Computer-Mediated Communication
Conceptual analysis and practical use of computer networks with an emphasis on the social and cultural dimensions of this type of human communication. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.
COMM 530 Science Communication
The course examines the conceptual foundations and practices of science communication. It examines the institutional and intellectual contexts of science communication as well as the scientific constraints on science communication.
COMM 555 Persuasive Movements
Seminar focuses upon the role of persuasion and rhetoric in the formation and lifespan of social movements.
COMM 565 Special Topics in Communication Service Learning
COMM 580 Interpersonal Communication
Study of communication in everyday life, including casual conversation and interaction among acquaintances.
COMM 590 Health Communication
Studies the nature, function, and importance of communication in the delivery of health care, and/or medical knowledge.
COMM 600 Practicum
Practical work in speech. Note: Pass/Fail grading.
COMM 601 Professional Seminar in Communication
Overview of the communication discipline and introduction to the academic study of communication.
COMM 603 Communication Pedagogy
An introduction to teaching college-level in Communication. Applies various theories of communication to nature of interactions between students and teachers.
COMM 605 Communication Theory & Practice
Seminar studies theories and empirical research in persuasion, social interaction, and group decision-making and offers applied problems that require public presentations by seminar participants.
COMM 610 Problems of Public Discourse
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Surveys the chief theories and disputes about public discourse, public knowledge, and decision-making.
COMM 616 Qualitative Communication Research
Instruction in the practical issues and conceptual debates in qualitative research in the field of communication. Methods includes interviewing, participant observation, unobstructive observation, historical/archival methods, narrative and ethnography.
COMM 617 Quantitative Methods in Communication
Instruction in procedures used to systematically and mathematically measure difference between groups and relationships between variables among various communication populations.
COMM 620 Organizational Communication
Theoretical and applied studies of communication within organizations and between organizations and their publics.
COMM 625 Personality and Communication
Exploration of individual differences in communication processes, such as argumentativeness, shyness, persuasiveness, and leadership.
COMM 630 Communication and Multiculturalism
Explores the influence of race, nationality, and/or gender on the communication practices of individuals and their institutions.
COMM 640 Communication in Social Service
Studies public communication campaigns, e.g., health information and policy campaigns.
COMM 650 Corporate Communication
Study of the nature, strengths, and weaknesses of empirical research in organizational communication and application of these findings to analysis, diagnosis, and remedy or communication problems in specific organizations. Focus is primarily on case studies and in-community "practicum" consulting project.
COMM 651 Conflict Management
Uses role playing and case studies in community organizations to assist students in developing the skills needed for managing conflict.
COMM 653 Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns
Study of integrated advertising, public relations, and sales promotions. Course culminates with students preparing integrated marketing plans for local clients.
COMM 654 Public Relations and Crisis Management
Examines problems of planning and implementing public relations strategies for crisis management. The organizations studied include corporations, agencies, educational and government institutions, and non-profits.
COMM 660 Selected Topics in Mass Media
Examination of topics specific to the study of mass media not covered in other courses.
COMM 670 Directed Readings in Communication
Faculty supervised readings on special topics in communication theory, research and practice.
COMM 675 Risk Communication
Examines the study of risk communication across various contexts (e.g., health, environmental). Focuses on the role of messages in shaping risk perception, evaluation, and behavior.
COMM 690 Special Topics
Examination of topics not covered in regularly-scheduled courses.
COMM 698 Thesis
Application for Admission
Students seeking admission to the program (accelerated or otherwise) will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Graduate School Application
Applicants to graduate school at the University of Louisville must submit a Graduate Application for Admission. It can be accessed at this link.
Applicants need an undergraduate degree in Communication or a related discipline.
Demonstrated competency in quantitative and qualitative-based courses
Applicants who have completed, or are in the process of completing, a BA or BS in Communication at the University of Louisville must have taken Communication Research Methods or Communication Statistics and earned a grade of B or better.
Applicants from outside of the department or the university must have earned a B or better in a course related to quantitative and/or qualitative research methods.
Transcripts indicating a Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or Higher
Applicants must submit an official transcript from each college attended. All University of Louisville transcripts will automatically be submitted with the completion of an application. Transcripts must be sent directly from the school to Graduate Admissions, in order to be considered official.
Undergraduate students applying to the accelerated master's degree program must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 after earning 45 credit hours.
A writing sample that demonstrates academic writing skill. There is no page limit, but usually a sample with 3 to 10 pages will be acceptable. Writing samples should show English language proficiency, meaningful research questions (process), theoretical and methodological awareness, thoroughness in research (evidence, data collection), and craft.
Three letters of recommendation from faculty familiar with the applicant's academic work. Of special interest are the applicant's research potential and qualitative and quantative reasoning skills.
A personal introduction that includes the reasons for applying to this program, personal goals during and after completing the program, interest in obtaining an assistantship, and any other pertinent particulars.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
The GRE is not required unless a student applies for an Assistantship. GRE scores are used as a metric for determining eligibility for departmental funding and are not a requirement for admission into the program.
Application Materials Include:
- Official university transcripts
- Writing samples
- Three letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Graduate admissions application
Financial aid and tuition are administered centrally, so to get information about tuition this site is helpful.
To inquire into the various types of financial aid available, go to the financial aid website or to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies website and look for the Financial Support tab.
The Department itself provides qualifying students with financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships. Students are encouraged to apply for an assistantship by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies, Steve Sohn (email@example.com) for details. Students are eligible to receive assistantships for two academic years. During the first year, students with assistantships typically work with a professor or two and during the second year they have the option of becoming a teaching assistant.