Communication, Media, and Persuasion

MA in Communication

Basic Program Requirements


All programs of study will be expected to reflect the following departmental standards:

  • At least 15 credits must be from 6600-level course work.
  • At least 15 credits must be from course work in Communication, Media, and Persuasion.
  • Students choosing the Graduate Degree Paper option must take a minimum of 27 course credits plus a minimum of 3 Graduate Degree Paper (CMP 6660) credits.
  • Students choosing the Thesis option must take a minimum of 24 course credits plus a minimum of 6 Thesis (CMP 6650) credits.



CMP 6601 Introduction to Graduate Research Methods (to be taken in a student’s first fall semester) 3 cr

A minimum of nine credits of CMP 6630 Seminar in Communication (repeatable) 

Note: CMP 6630 is a repeatable "topics" course. The focus of each section of CMP 6630 is dependent on the faculty instructor's interest and expertise. You may contact the CMP office or faculty members to find out about upcoming CMP 6630 topics to determine what sections would be most relevant to your program of study. However, all faculty will approach CMP 6630 in a way that allows most if not all graduate students to find relevant connections. Typically, students will register for two sections of CMP 6630 in their second semester (spring) and one section of CMP 6630 in their third semester (fall).

9 cr
Additional credits from 5500 and/or 6600 level CMP courses or other
graduate-level courses approved as part of a program of study  
12-15 cr
Graduate Degree Paper (3 cr) or Thesis (6 cr)  3-6 cr
  Total MA program credits:   30 cr


Answers to Some of Your Quetions


Many of your questions can be answered by examining the most current ISU Graduate Catalog. We hope the information below gives you some clearer insight into our specific graduate offerings.


Can I apply for a graduate teaching assistantship?


Yes. To be considered for a teaching assistantship, students must send complete application materials by April 15, including GRE scores. Assistantships offer over $8000 for the academic year and are generally awarded for the fall and spring semesters. Application materials are available by contacting the department directly or by using the drop-down box link above.


Can I take whatever courses I want to satisfy the 12-15 "additional credits" requirement listed above?


The program is quite flexible. You will likely take graduate courses in other departments to supplement your course work in Communication, Media, and Persuasion. However, the courses you take will need to form a cohesive program of study. You need to work with a graduate advisor to approve the "additional credits" as part of your program.


What other departments have courses I should consider to supplement my program of study?


Each graduate student has unique interests and goals, and there are many departments with courses that are relevant to an individually tailored MA in Communication. Explore the most recent graduate catalog thoughtfully and thoroughly. Previous graduate students have found valuable classes in departments and programs such as Anthropology, Business Administration, English, Educational Leadership, History, Organizational Learning and Performance, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.


If I need an approved program of study, how do I decide what courses to take in my first semester?


Be sure to contact one of the graduate faculty before registering. That faculty member can direct you to a few courses that will be appropriate. Eventually, you and an advisor will work out the entire program of study. Do plan to take CMP 6601 Introduction to Graduate Research Methods in your first semester as a graduate student (or in your first fall semester if you begin the program in the spring or summer). If you have minimal undergraduate background in the communication field, you might consider taking CMP 5585 Classical Rhetorical Theory to give you a better historical and theoretical foundation.


How long will it take me to complete the MA program?


It depends on many things. First, graduate classes require much more individual effort and out-of-class time than undergraduate classes. Full time graduate students typically take 9-12 credits in a semester. Also, as with most faculty across the university, CMP department faculty are not on contract during the summer and, therefore, not available to assist graduate students during that time. Summer progress is possible but is usually limited to courses in other programs that offer summer graduate classes and self-directed work on degree papers or theses. Finally, much depends on how long it takes a student to complete, polish, and defend a final degree paper or thesis. Though it is possible to work at an accelerated pace, the MA in Communication is designed as a two-year program.


How do I decide between degree paper or thesis?


This is an issue to discuss with your advisor as you plan your program of study. However, very few students over the years have chosen the thesis option. A thesis is a very involved and extensive independent research project. It is difficult to predict the amount of time needed to complete such a project, and it is not unusual for the thesis work to extend across multiple semesters or even years. Also, few students have personal, professional, or educational goals that require completion of a thesis. The degree paper is a highly refined piece of independent scholarship, but it is not as extensive as a thesis project. It typically starts as a paper from a graduate class, and this provides a head start on the process of developing and refining the project toward completion.



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