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Graduate Program Description

The Department of Speech Communication offers a program leading to the degree, Master of Arts, in speech communication with a specialization in organizational, health or interpersonal communication.

The goals of the Speech Communication graduate program are to deepen students' understanding of communication theory and to prepare them to analyze, generate, and apply communication research. Students are encouraged to clarify and focus their professional goals and are then assisted in selecting courses in theoretical and applied communication areas that will complement those goals.

Graduates in this specialization often enter careers in applied communication and education (especially at the community college and secondary levels). Some graduates have chosen to pursue PhD degrees in communication. In addition, opportunities for speech communication graduates in business, industry, and other non-teaching professions are expanding. Mastery of communication theory, research methods, and application strategies is particularly relevant for those seeking careers in fields such as management, training and development, sales, advertising, public relations, community relations, intra-and inter-organizational communication, consulting, government service, fundraising, and human resources.

Program of Study

Students must complete at least 33 semester hours for this degree. A foreign language is not required. With approval of the student's advisory committee, up to 9 hours of 400-level and 500-level graduate course work from outside the speech communication curriculum may be applied toward the minimum of 33 hours.

All students admitted to the program are required to enroll in the program core, which consists of two courses (6 hours total): SPC 500 (Seminar in Communication Theory) and SPC 501 (Communication Research Methods and Tools). The core courses must be completed with a minimum grade of "B" the first time that they are offered after the student is admitted. Students who fail to meet this stipulation will be restricted from enrolling in any other 500-level courses until the program core requirement is met.

Responsibility for the development of the remainder of the student's program of study rests with the student and student's advisory committee. The Department of Speech Communication offers a variety of courses designed to complement special professional interests in such areas as organizational communication, interpersonal and group communication, public relations, and communication education.

Students may choose either a thesis or a non-thesis plan of study. These plans are comparable, since all 500-level courses in the department will require students to conduct individual or group research projects. Those research projects will directly involve the students (regardless of the study plan that they have chosen) with the tools and methods used by researchers within the given content area of each course.

Graduate and Teaching Assistantships

Graduate and teaching assistantships are available through the department office. Completed assistantship applications and supporting materials usually must be submitted early in the spring semester proceeding the academic year for which the appointment is desired. Information can be found in the Graduate/Teaching Assistantship link.

For additional information, please see the Graduate Program and Procedures Handbook. This document details program requirements and department guidelines.