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Graduate Catalog 2015-16


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Contact: Graduate Program Director

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Application Deadlines:
Summer and Fall admission only. For domestic classified status, the deadline is approximately a month before the start of classes (Definite dates are on the application itself). International students, please see the FAQs #16 for your deadline. NOTE: If you are a new graduate student and you intend to apply for a Competitive Graduate Award (CGA), the deadline for having all of your application materials turned in moves up to January 15th. If you apply for the CGA but your SIUE application is incomplete, your application for the Competitive Graduate Award will be removed from consideration.


The Department of Applied Communication Studies offers a program leading to the degree, Master of Arts, in applied communication studies.  Emphases within the program include health communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and public relations.

The goals of the Applied Communication Studies 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 discipline often enter careers in applied communication and education (at the community college level). Some graduates have chosen to pursue Ph.D. degrees in communication. In addition, opportunities for applied communication studies graduates in business, industry, public health, 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, public health, community relations, intra-and inter-organizational communication, consulting, government service, fund raising, and human resources.

For persons seeking graduate assistantships, application forms (including directions for submitting two letters of recommendation) are available through the department office. Completed assistantship applications and supporting materials usually must be submitted early in the spring semester preceding the academic year for which the appointment is desired. Please contact the Department of Applied Communication Studies for specific information about assistantship application forms, deadlines, and selection criteria.


In addition to Graduate School admission requirements, the following apply:

1. Applicants must have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.75.

2. Applicants must submit a typed statement (of at least 500 words) about the academic and professional goals they plan to attain through their work in the graduate program.

3. Applicants who do not have an undergraduate major in communication studies will be required, if admitted to the program, to demonstrate knowledge of basic communication theory and research methods before enrolling in any 500-level classes.

This demonstration of proficiency may be accomplished by completing, with a grade of "B" or better, either SPC 329-3 (Communication Research) and SPC 330-3 (Theories of Communication) or proficiency examinations based upon the content of those two undergraduate courses. Please contact the Department of Applied Communication Studies for information about the proficiency examination procedures.


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 6 hours of graduate level course work from outside the applied communication studies curriculum, up to 3 hours of independent studies credits, and up to 3 credits of 400-level courses, may be applied toward the minimum of 33 hours.  In general, our students will most likely take courses from the following departments: Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, Geography, Kinesiology and Health Education, Management and Marketing, Mass Communications, Psychology, Public Administration and Policy Analysis, and Sociology and Criminal Justice.  Students with no background in communication studies at the undergraduate level can take no more than two courses from outside the applied communication studies curriculum.

All students admitted to the program are required to enroll in the program core, which consists of two courses (6 hours total): SPC 500-3 (Seminar in Communication Theory) and SPC 501-3 (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.

Students are also required to complete three courses in their respective area of emphasis. These courses include:

Health Communication:

SPC 570 - Survey of Health Communication Theory and Research,

SPC 571 - Seminar in Provider/Caregiver-Patient Communication, and

SPC 572 - Seminar in Health Communication Campaigns.

Interpersonal Communication:

SPC 520 - Seminar in Interpersonal Communication.

SPC 521 - Seminar in Computer-Mediated Communication, and

SPC 522 - Seminar in Family Communication.

Organizational Communication:

SPC 540 - Survey of Organizational Communication Research,

SPC 541 - Seminar in Organizational Culture, and

SPC 542 - Communication Consulting.

Public Relations:

SPC 550 – Seminar in Public Relations

SPC 551 – Nonprofit Public Relations

SPC 552 – Corporate Social Responsibility

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 Applied Communication Studies offers a variety of courses designed to complement the students’ academic and professional interests.

Students may choose either a treatise or a non-treatise 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. 

Treatise Plan

Students who select the treatise plan (thesis or applied project) must declare their intentions by the time they have completed 18 semester hours of graduate work. They will complete a minimum total of 27 hours of course work. They will confirm their ability to conduct research in applied communication studies by submitting a treatise for six semester hours of credit in SPC 598 or SPC 599. The oral defense then provides a supplemental assessment of the student’s performance on the written portion of the treatise.

Non-treatise Plan

Students who select the non-treatise plan will complete a minimum total of 33 hours of course work. They will confirm their ability to conduct research in applied communication studies through the research projects and papers that they complete during their course work.


The comprehensive examination is administered during each student's final term of course work. For students following the treatise plan, the examination is oral and focuses primarily on a defense of the treatise but may also cover the planned program.

For a student electing the non-treatise plan, the examination, which comprises both written and oral elements, includes both the required core courses and the individually planned program. The written examination is composed of two sections. One section focuses on speech communication theory and research methodology from which the student must answer successfully one item on theory and one on research. The other section of the written examination focuses on the individual program of study. The student must respond successfully to two items from this section in which a choice is offered among items prepared by the individual's advisory committee. The oral component then provides a supplemental assessment of the student's performance on the written portion of the examination.

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