MA Overview

Master's degree requirements

Addressed below:

  • A minimum of 36 credits
  • Coursework
  • Distribution of credits
  • Degree Eligibility Form
  • Thesis requirements

A minimum of 36 credits

A minimum of 36 graduate credits are required for a master's degree. Graduate courses that have been applied toward any baccalaureate or advanced degree may not be used for fulfilling requirements for any other master's degree at the university.


Core courses (9 credits):
Comm 611: Introduction to Theories and Concepts of Human Communication
Comm 620: Qualitative Methods in Research
Comm 621: Quantitative Methods in Research

One course (3 credits) from the following:
Comm 691B: Seminar in Media Theory
Comm 613: Introduction to Theories of Social Interaction
Comm 665: Contemporary Rhetorical Theory (or equivalent)
Comm 693D: Introduction to Film Theory

Distribution of credits

  • At least 6 credits must be earned from department courses in the 700–800 series
  • A maximum of 6 thesis credits may be counted toward the degree
  • No more than 6 credits of 500-level courses may be counted toward the degree
  • A maximum of 3 credits of Independent Study may be counted toward the degree
  • A maximum of 3 Tutorial credits may be counted toward the degree

Degree Eligibility Form

This form (available online and in the Office of Degree Requirements) must be completed by all master's candidates and signed by the Graduate Program Director and the department head. You should check the accuracy of the information put on this form against your permanent record (an unofficial copy of the  record is available on SPIRE). The completed form, with appropriate fees and signatures, must be received by the Office of Degree Requirements by the posted deadline (see “Check List for Master's Degree”). These deadlines are strictly observed and will not be extended. Degrees will not be awarded retroactively.

Thesis requirements


The master's thesis is prepared under the direct supervision of a thesis committee consisting of two or more members of the graduate faculty invited by the student and recommended by the Graduate Program Director (GPD) and/or department head of the student's major program. Selection of the committee begins with a student's request to the faculty member but it ultimately is a matter of academic judgment on the part of the GPD and the department head, with approval by the Graduate Dean.

Members of the thesis committee agree not only to assist in the supervision of the thesis project, but also to attend the defense. Remember that most faculty are on nine-month contracts and should not be assumed to be available during the summer months.

A thesis committee has been officially constituted when the Graduate Dean formally notifies all committee members, the GPD and the student.


A master's candidate must prepare a prospectus to be approved and signed (on the cover sheet) by each member of the thesis committee and by the Graduate Program Director or department head. The signed copy should be forwarded to the Graduate Records Office for inclusion in the candidate's file at least four months before the date of the thesis defense.

Electronic submission

Thesis credit

A master's candidate must register for 1 to 10 credits of thesis (699). There is no limit on thesis credits, but no more than 6 may be put toward the total number of credits required for the degree.

Thesis defense/master's general examination

The result of the thesis defense is forwarded to the Office of Degree Requirements directly following the examination.