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.
How do I apply for a graduate teaching assistantship?
To be eligible 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 through the department web site at <http://www.isu.edu/commrhet/TA application.pdf>.
Can I take whatever courses I want other than the two required courses listed in the catalog?
The program is quite flexible. You will likely take graduate courses in other departments to supplement your course work in Communication and Rhetorical Studies. However, the courses you take will need to form a cohesive program of study. You will work with a graduate advisor to design and approve this program of study.
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 and Rhetorical Studies. 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, Human Resource Training and Development, Mass Communication, 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. All programs of study will be expected to reflect the following departmental standards.
- At least 15 credits in your program must be from 600-level (6600) course work.
- At least 15 credits in your program must be from course work in Communication and Rhetorical Studies.
- You need to take COMM 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).
- For either MA degree option, if you have not taken a class in rhetorical theory as an undergraduate, you will be expected to include COMM 5537: Rhetorical Theory as part of your graduate program.
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, the Communication and Rhetorical Studies department chair is the only faculty member available to assist graduate students during the summer. Summer progress, therefore, is limited to independent study credit, graduate level courses in other programs, 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 Communication and Rhetorical Studies MA 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. It is true that the thesis option requires fewer overall credits for degree completion (30 vs. 32 credits). But 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 into 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.