THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA GRADUATE CATALOG
Table of Contents > College of Communication and Information Sciences

8.3 DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION STUDIES (COM)
Chairperson: Beth S. Bennett, Office: 203 Reese Phifer Hall

The Department of Communication Studies offers a program of study leading to the master of arts degree.

Admission Requirements
Admission into the Graduate School must be completed prior to the semester in which the applicant intends to begin coursework. The department reviews admission applications for main campus study for both fall and spring admission. Applications submitted to the Graduate School by May 1 will be reviewed by the department for fall admission; those submitted by November 1, for spring admission. Applications for distance learning are reviewed as completed, prior to the term requested.

To complete the admission application, applicants must submit a statement of purpose, contact information for three academic references, a transcript of completed coursework, and admission test scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or The Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Non-native speakers of English must also provide English Language Proficiency Test Scores.

Subject to the approval of the department chairperson and the dean of the Graduate School, a maximum of 12 semester hours of graduate courses may be transferred from another institution. These hours must be in communication studies or in a closely allied subject and must contribute to the educational objectives of the student.

Graduate students in communication studies may choose elective courses from three general research areas: rhetoric and political discourse, organizational and interpersonal communication, or communication and culture, as well as from related courses outside of the department.. To apply for departmental graduate assistantships, which are usually awarded only in the spring for the following year, applicants must have been accepted for admission into the program, by the department, not later than March 1. A minimum of 24 graduate hours must be completed in communication studies for the degree.

Additional information is in the Admission Criteria section of this catalog.

Requirements for the MA Degree
The Department of Communication Studies uses a form of contract advising. Graduate students are required to plan contractual programs of study with their assigned advisors during the first semester of coursework. These contractual programs must be approved by the academic advisor and filed with the graduate program coordinator by the end of the first semester of coursework. Each plan of study must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the College of Communication & Information Sciences, and the Department of Communication Studies.

Degree Requirements

A master of arts degree in communication studies requires a minimum of 30 hours, based on the following two component areas of study:

Core requirements (18 semester hours)

Theory requirements (12 semester hours)
Students must successfully undertake one course each from A, B, and C, plus one additional course from A,B, or C
A. 3 hrs. Rhetoric and Political Discourse, COM 541, COM 545, CIS 605, or approved equivalent
B. 3 hrs. Organizational and Interpersonal Communication, COM 561, COM 571, or approved equivalent
C. 3 hrs. Communication and Culture, COM 513, COM 515, COM 565, COM 569, or approved equivalentnt

Methods requirements ( 3 semester hours)
Plan I Thesis or Plan II: Academic/Comprehensive Examination
3 hrs. approved methods course, such as COM 548, COM 550, BER 631, MC 550, LS 502.

Methods requirements (6 semester hours)
Plan II: Professional/Practicum
3 hrs. approved methods course, such as COM 548, COM 550, MC 550 and
3 hrs. an approved professionally applied course: COM 590 or COM 598

Approved electives (12-15 semester hours)
To be determined with one's academic advisor.

Plan I: Thesis option, which includes 6 hours of thesis research (COM 599). In addition to completing the courses specified above and electives stipulated by their plans of study, students who choose Plan I must successfully complete a master's thesis, orally defend that thesis, and have the thesis accepted by the Graduate School.

Plan II: Non-thesis Options, which include 6 hours of electives in the department. All students who choose Plan II must complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate coursework, including the courses specified above and others stipulated by their approved plans of study, and give a departmental colloquium based on some aspect of their work. Students following the  Plan II option have a choice of two plans:

  • Academic track/comprehensive examination plan: Students who choose this plan must pass a comprehensive examination, to be taken no later than the semester in which the course requirements for the master's degree are to be completed. The examination is designed to reveal the knowledge gained by the candidate through both the core courses and the electives taken in the program, as well as the candidate's ability to express that knowledge in acceptable form. The questions will be formulated and evaluated by the comprehensive examination committee. The written part of the exam will be administered during a two-day period and shall not exceed five hours in total writing time. During this testing period, students will be relieved of all departmental and area duties and responsibilities, including class attendance. The time and place of the exam will be set and publicized by the department graduate program director. The oral part of the exam will be scheduled by the student's advisor upon successful completion of the written exam.
  • Professional track/practicum plan: Students who are primarily pursuing professional interests or teaching requirements may choose this alternative plan. It provides students with an opportunity to include in their plans of study some type of practical application of their academic work. Students who choose to pursue this plan must secure permission to do so by submitting a formal practicum proposal to their academic advisors, no later than upon completion of 12 hours of graduate coursework. To complete the practicum, students need to submit a final report, for the approval of their advisors, and give a department colloquium presentation based on the practicum final report, which fulfills the comprehensive examination requirement.

Interdisciplinary Focus in Critical Media Studies

To pursue an interdisciplinary focus in Critical Media Studies, within the Master of Arts graduate degree program in Communication Studies, students must complete the following requirements.

   Core requirements (18 semester hours)

Theory requirements (12 semester hours)
COM 541 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory or CIS 605
COM 561 Human Communication Theory or MC 550
TCF 553 Seminar in Telecommunication
COM 513, COM 515, COM 525, COM 569, or approved equivalent

Methods requirements (6 semester hours)
Plan I Thesis or Plan II: Academic/Comprehensive Examination
COM 548, COM 550, MC 550, or approved methods, such as BER 631, LS 502, MC 581

Methods requirements (6 semester hours)
Plan II: Practicum
COM 548, COM 550, or MC 550, and
An approved professionally applied course, either
COM 590 or COM 598

            Approved electives (12 semester hours, minimum)
          To be determined with one's academic advisor, from COM or TCF courses.

The residence requirement for the master's degree is a minimum of two semesters.

Additional residency and all degree requirement information is in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

 


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