Mar 04, 2024  
2016-17 NSU Graduate Catalog 
2016-17 NSU Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Communication Arts M.A. - Major Code 4260

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OSRHE Program Code: 106
CIP Code: 090101

(36 Semester Hours)


The Master of Arts in Communication program is designed to provide an interdisciplinary approach to communication that will develop a more complete communicator. The program offers an opportunity for personnel directors, business executives, educators, journalists, advertising personnel, and public relations directors to enhance their written, oral, and mass communication knowledge and skills.


Admission to the Communication program requires:

  1. An earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. An approved Application for Graduate Admission.
  3. An official transcript of all previous course work. The transcripts must be sent directly from the schools to the Graduate College.
  4. Test scores no more than five (5) years old on either the aptitude section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT).
  5. A grade point average of 3.0 in all undergraduate course work or a score in at least the 35th percentile on either the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test.
  6. A 500-word essay describing what the student hopes to achieve by admission to the program.

No 1000-level (freshman level) or remedial course work may apply toward fulfillment of entry requirements for the Master of Arts in Communication degree.


An advisor is assigned to the student by the Graduate College when the student is admitted for graduate studies. All students should schedule an appointment with the advisor to arrange an interview prior to their first enrollment. The advisor develops the plan of study in conference with the student and assists in the selection of classes each semester. Students may not enroll in more than 12 hours per semester without advisor consent.

Plan of Study/Statement of Understanding

The plan of study (degree plan) is prepared by the advisor in conference with the student. The curriculum in the plan of study is tailored to meet each candidate’s specific needs. The Statement of Understanding is reviewed with and explained to the student when the degree plan is made and must be signed by the student and his or her advisor. It is sent with the signed copies of the degree plan to the Graduate College. After approval by the Dean of the Graduate College, copies are sent to the advisor and to the student. Any changes in the student’s plan of study require prior written approval of the advisor and the Dean.

Admission to Candidacy

Students are eligible for admission to candidacy if they have:

  1. Been admitted to the Communication program.
  2. Completed M S 5103/COMM 5103 Research Methods in Communication during the first semester the course was available to the student.
  3. Filed a plan of study approved by the advisor and the Dean of the Graduate College.
  4. Filed a Statement of Understanding signed by the student and the advisor with the Dean of the Graduate College.
  5. Completed a minimum of twelve (12) hours of the courses prescribed by the plan of study.
  6. Maintained a “B” average in all graduate course work attempted.

Students should meet candidacy requirements within the first fifteen (15) semester hours of their program and must meet them within the first twenty-one (21) hours. Students must complete at least fifteen (15) hours toward the master’s degree after being admitted to candidacy.

Requirements for Graduation

In order to receive the Master of Arts in Communication degree, the student must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Complete thirty-six (36) semester hours of credit as approved by the advisor and the Dean of the Graduate College;
  2. Achieve a “B” average grade in all 5000-level graduate course work attempted with no grade below a “C” applicable to the degree; a grade of “B” or better must be earned in any applicable 4000-level courses in order for them to apply to the master’s degree;
  3. Achieve a “B” average grade in all 5000-only courses;
  4. Achieve a “B” average in all Northeastern State University graduate course work;
  5. Pass the comprehensive examination over selected course work or complete a thesis as prescribed.
  6. Meet all the requirements set forth in the Academic Information section of the Graduate College Catalog.

Thesis and Non-thesis Options

Students will have two options for completion of the degree.

  1. Thesis Option - This option requires a minimum of thirty (30) non-thesis credit hours and a defended thesis. After completion of at least twenty-seven (27) hours of graduate course work, students will enroll in COMM 5990 Thesis (1-6 hrs) or M S 5990 Thesis (1-6 hrs) and choose a thesis advisor and two other members of the thesis committee. Students may enroll in a minimum of six (6) thesis hours and will have to stay continuously enrolled in at least one thesis hours in the fall and spring semesters until the thesis is complete.  The completed thesis will require an oral defense.  The committee-approved thesis should be sent to the Graduate College 30 days prior to the end of the semester.  Every student is welcome to pursue the thesis option, but students planning to pursue doctorates are strongly encouraged to pursue the thesis option.
  2. Non-thesis Option - This option requires a minimum of thirty-six (36) credit hours and eighteen (18) hours of comprehensive examinations to be completed during the student’s last semester of enrollment. 

Comprehensive Examination

Non-thesis student- During the final semester prior to graduation, the MA candidate seeking the non-thesis option will take a comprehensive written examination over eighteen (18) hours of course work completed for the degree. 

Students can take the exams after all course work is completed only if granted an extension by the graduate coordinator.  Should any student fail all or a portion of the examination, s/he will be allowed to take a second examination, which might be written or oral, or a combination of the two. The comprehensive examination may be taken no more than twice.   

Curriculum Structure

The Master of Arts in Communication degree consists of thirty-six (36) hours of graduate study with specialization in two areas: Communication Studies and Media Studies. All candidates for the degree are required to take the course titled COMM/M S 5023 Introduction to Graduate Studies and COMM/M S 5103 Research Design the first semester the courses are offered.  The remaining thirty (30) hours are distributed between the two academic areas with the exact distribution left to the discretion of the adviser with approval of the Dean of the Graduate College. No more than two (2) one-hour courses in an academic area will count toward fulfilling requirements of the degree. No more than three hours of internship will count toward fulfilling requirements of the degree.

A maximum of nine (9) hours may be completed from the adviser-approved courses offered at the 4000 level.

II. Course options in the areas of specialization

A. Communication Studies: 9 hours COMM courses

B. Media Studies: 9 hours M S courses

II. Electives: 12 hours

A. Non-thesis option

  • Twelve (12) hours of adviser-approved course work typically from within Communication Studies or Media Studies.

B. Thesis option

  • Six (6) hours of adviser-approved course work typically from within Communication Studies or Media Studies AND at least six (6) thesis hours.

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