Masters in Communication
Welcome to the graduate program in the Department of Communication, Media, & Persuasion (CMP) at Idaho State University! For more than fifty years, ISU’s Master of Arts in Communication program has been preparing graduates to be active citizens in public life who critically engage with the world, whether as creative, strategic professionals or as researchers pursuing academic careers in teaching and scholarship. The program continues this mission in the 21st century by using contemporary methods and best practices in communication.
Why study Communications at ISU?
The Department of Communication, Media, and Persuasion offers a diverse and customizable program. Our graduate faculty are not only dedicated teachers, they are also national and international scholars who present their research in books, journals, exhibitions, and conferences. Their expertise extends across the breadth of the field, including Corporate Communications (Leadership, Advertising, Public Relations); Multiplatform Journalism; Visual Media (Photo, Video, Design); and Rhetoric & Media Affairs. With the size of our program, faculty are able to work closely with graduate students, providing them with exceptional guidance and experience.
Though it is possible to work at an accelerated pace, the Master of Arts in Communication is designed as a two-year program.
Basic Program Requirements
All programs of study will be expected to reflect the following departmental standards:
- At least 30 MA program credits
- At least 15 credits must be from 6600-level coursework.
- At least 18 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)
- All Graduate Teaching Assistants are required to take CMP 5587 Rhetorical Theory: 3 semester hours.
- All other (non-Graduate Teaching Assistants) Graduate Sutents must take one of the following courses:
- CMP 5509 Communication Inquiry: 3 semester hours. (Spring)
Introduces tools and strategies communication professionals use to answer questions and solve problems through systematic investigation. The course will focus on developing an understanding of applied communication research, including design, sampling, data collection, and data analysis. Specific, evaluated graduate-level activities and/or performances are identified in the course syllabus.
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- CMP 5588 Rhetorical Criticism: 3 semester hours. (Spring)
Study and application of various theories and methods of rhetorical criticism including Aristotelian and Burkeian principles. Specific, evaluated graduate-level activities and/or performances are identified in the course syllabus.
- CMP 5509 Communication Inquiry: 3 semester hours. (Spring)
- A minimum of nine credits of CMP 6630 Seminar in Communication (repeatable)
- In-depth study and analysis of selected topics related to the communication field. See instructor for specific topics. Repeatable if covering different topics. General Areas and Specific Course Topics include:
- Media & Culture
- Social Movements
- Communication Revolutions
- Criticism & Theory
- Visual Culture Methods
- Human Symbol Usage
- Metaphor & Thought
- Strategic Communication
- Crisis Communication
- Creative Team Leadership
- Additional credits from 5500 and/or 6600 level CMP courses or other graduate-level courses approved as part of a program of study (Graduate Program of Study Form)
- Graduate Degree Paper or Thesis
Goals & Objectives
The primary objectives related to the Master of Arts in Communication program are to help students develop the following competencies:
- Graduates will develop an understanding of communication research methodology and roles of research in academia.
- Graduates finishing their master’s degree will find professional employment in public or private sectors of business, service, or education.
- Graduates will further their graduate careers by pursuing a doctorate in communication.
As part of the above, students completing the program will meet the following goals:
- Graduates will pass oral defense.
- Graduates will submit to and/or present at a professional conference.
- Graduates will find employment in education, public service, or business.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the application deadlines and requirements for the program?
The application deadlines for the program are set by the ISU Graduate School. Currently, students wishing to enroll in the Spring Semester must apply by Nov. 1st. Students seeking entry during the Summer or Fall Semesters must apply by April 1st.
All prospective students must include a letter of intent, outlining why they are interested in the program, as well as their latest GRE scores and other ISU required information. For full admission requirements, please visit http://coursecat.isu.edu/graduate/artsandletters/communicationmediaandpersuasion/
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 clicking the button above.
In addition, all graduate teaching assistants must have either completed CMP 4487/5587: Rhetorical Theory or complete the course within their first semester as a teaching assistant.
Can I take whatever courses I want to satisfy the 12 "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 and/or CMP 5503 Mass Communication and Society 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.
What courses will be offered in the department?
The Department of Communication, Media & Persuasion maintains a 3-year schedule of graduate level coursework, which is listed below.
(Please note: This schedule is subject to change and is not a guarantee.)
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Sarah Partlow Lefevre
RHETORIC OF IDENTITY