Academic Catalog

Communication (M.A.)

The Department offers a master's degree in Communication with concentrations in the following areas:

  • Communication Studies
  • Journalism
  • Media Arts and Studies
  • Public Relations & Organizational Communication

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. Admission to the M.A. program is competitive and is based on an applicant’s entire academic record; the following requirements are minimum standards for consideration and do not guarantee admission. The Department requires that the applicant have a B.A. or B.S. in communication or a related field with a minimum 3.2 (‘B’=3.0) grade point average for the upper-division of coursework (usually the coursework in the major) and  a minimum  of fifteen credit hours in communication.

The department also closely evaluates the sample of written work and academic/professional statement of purpose for evidence of potential to do graduate-level work. 

In instances where an applicant's B.A. is not in communication and the transcript shows fewer than 15 credit hours of coursework in communication, the applicant may be admitted with a requirement to take specific and/or additional coursework.The Director of Graduate Studies for the Department should be contacted for further information.

Applicants with a grade point average below 3.2 for the upper-division coursework (usually the coursework in the major) may submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as additional evidence of academic ability. Applicants may also seek admission as a post-bachelor student to the university and take upper-division classes in the Department of Communication to raise their undergraduate GPA. The Director of Graduate Studies for the Department should be contacted for further information.

The M.A. application requires a completed application form, transcripts, academic/professional statement of purpose, and writing sample. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

Applicants should complete the online Application for Graduate Admission (wayne.edu/admissions/graduate), and upload the following to the application site:

  • Degree transcripts from each college and university previously attended. Official transcripts should be sent directly from the degree-granting institution to the Office of Graduate Admissions, Wayne State University, Detroit MI 48202. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded prior to the document being officially sent to Graduate Admissions. Information for international applicants for the verification of their degrees is available here: https://gradschool.wayne.edu/admissions/international
  • Academic/professional statement of purpose (approximately 500 words) that presents the applicant's academic and professional preparation for and interest in the preferred M.A. program and concentration area, academic/professional goals, and explanation of how the graduate degree fits the academic/professional goals.
  • Scholarly/academic writing sample, which serves as evidence of preparation to do graduate-level work. The typical writing sample is an individually written final paper or project report of a minimum 8-10 page length from a university course. Applicants are encouraged to submit additional writing samples such as newspaper and magazine articles, excerpts from documentary and movie scripts, press releases, and public relations communications. 
  • International students whose native language is not English or applicants whose undergraduate degree is not from an English-speaking country also are required to submit official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Scores must be within five years of the date of proposed admission. Unofficial scores should be uploaded to the online application site prior to the official scores being sent. The minimum acceptable score is 100 on the TOEFL Internet Based Test (iBT) and 6.5 on the IELTS.

Current Wayne State University graduate students wishing to change to a new graduate program from their current graduate program or add a new graduate program to their current graduate program should submit an online application. Such students submit a Change of Graduate Status form (comm.wayne.edu/files/changeofstatus.pdf) to the Director of Graduate Studies. Application materials (unofficial and official degree transcripts, academic/ professional statement of purpose, and as appropriate, writing sample and letters of reference) as described above should be submitted with the online application by the application deadline. 

M.A. applicants are admitted for the fall and the winter semesters. Deadline for application materials for fall semester admission is August 1; and for the winter semester it is December 1.

 
 

Program Requirements

The Master of Arts degree is offered by the Department of Communication. Please see the concentrations for specific degree requirements.

Students must plan a program of study as early as possible in consultation with the assigned advisor. Candidacy must be established by filing an approved Plan of Work by the time twelve credits have been earned. COM 7000 must be included in the Plan of Work and must be taken during the first semester of coursework. All students must complete COM 7000 with a grade of B or better in order to continue in the program. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts.

Essays or theses may be chosen when allowed as an option in the concentration, after consultation with the advisor. A final oral examination will be held for those writing theses.

Courses that relate to a student’s particular area of interest are selected in consultation with the advisor and are formalized by filing the Plan of Work. The Plan of Work must be approved by the advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Concentrations

Communication Studies

The Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Communication Studies program is designed for students with a general interest in the study of human communication. It is intended primarily for students preparing for doctoral study in communication, or desiring in-depth study of research and analytical skills (a highly desired skill set by employers). The degree requires minimum 30 credits.

Two required courses: 6
Introduction to MA Studies in Communication
Communication Theory
Three research methods courses:9
Quantitative Research Methods in Communication
Qualitative Research Methods in Communication
And select one of the following:
Audience Measurement and Survey Techniques
Rhetorical Criticism
Interviewing
Ethnographic Methods for Communication Research
Content Analysis
Select one of the following capstone plan options:15
Plan A: Thesis
Master's Thesis Research and Direction (6 credits required, distributed across two or three semesters)
Any three courses from the department as electives, totaling 9 credits.
Plan B: Essay
Master's Essay Direction (3 credits required, distributed across two or three semesters)
Any four courses from the department as electives, totaling 12 credits.
Plan C: Coursework
Any five courses from the department as electives, totaling 15 credits.
Total Credits30

Journalism 

The Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Journalism program prepares students for careers in news organizations and related areas in mass media. The program includes courses in print and broadcast management skills, organizational communication, Internet-based reporting, and communication and cultural diversity issues. The degree requires a minimum 30 credits.

One required course:3
Introduction to MA Studies in Communication
Two Journalism Core courses:6
History of Journalism and Mass Media
Professional Issues in Journalism and Mass Media
Law and Ethics in Journalism and Mass Media
Reporting on Diversity
One theory course:3
Communication Theory
Theories of Media Effects
Mass Media and Political Communication
One research methods course:3
Audience Measurement and Survey Techniques
Quantitative Research Methods in Communication
Qualitative Research Methods in Communication
Ethnographic Methods for Communication Research
Content Analysis
Two additional content courses: 16
Special Topics in Advanced Reporting
Investigative Reporting
TV News Reporting and Digital Editing
Producer's Workshop
Magazine Writing
Journalism and New Media
Advanced TV Production
Internship
Select one of the following capstone plan options:9
Plan A: Thesis
Master's Thesis Research and Direction (6 credits required, distributed across two or three semesters)
Any one course from the department as elective, minimum 3 credits
Plan B: Essay
Master's Essay Direction (elected for 3 credits)
Any two courses from the department as electives, totaling 6 credits
Plan C: Coursework
Any three courses from the department as electives, totaling 9 credits
Total Credits30
1

Unused Journalism Core Courses can be taken as additional content courses.

Media Arts and Studies

The M.A. concentration in Media Arts and Studies is designed to immerse students in the technological, creative, societal, research and analytical considerations of our globalized, multi-platform, multi-screen media environment. Students matriculating through the program will demonstrate a strong foundation in digital media technology and its applications, along with research and analysis skills that will grant them flexibility to enter a broad range of professional and creative environments, as well as a foundation for potential doctoral work. The concentration offers electives in media storytelling and production, media studies, media entrepreneurship and management, and media in strategic and applied communication; enabling students to design a program to specifically meet their needs and goals, and the opportunity to explore creative and scholarly approaches to multiple screens. Students may complete the M.A. in Media Arts and Studies with a minimum of 30 credits.. Requirements include:

COM Requirement3
Introduction to MA Studies in Communication
Theory Requirement (Select one of the following)3
New Media Theory
Theories of Media Effects
Critical Mass Communication Theory
Feminist Media Theory
Research Methods Requirement (select one of the following) 3
Audience Measurement and Survey Techniques
Quantitative Research Methods in Communication
Qualitative Research Methods in Communication
Ethnographic Methods for Communication Research
Content Analysis
Foundation Requirements6
New Media Practices
International Communications
Creative Requirement (Select in consultation with a faculty advisor)3
Media Arts Production (Students without recent digital media production experience must take COM 5350)
Students with recent production experience should select one of the following:
Video Field Production and Editing
Techniques of Film and Video Production
Advanced TV Production
Digital Screen Media
Documentary Storytelling I
Allesee Master Class
Advanced Screenwriting
Seminar in Directing
Select one of the following capstone plan options:12
Plan A:
Master's Thesis Research and Direction (M.A. Thesis (6 cr.); plus electives (6 cr.))
Plan B
Master's Essay Direction (Masters Essay/Project Direction (3 cr.); plus electives (9 cr.))
Plan C
Electives (12 cr.)
Total Credits30

Public Relations and Organizational Communication 

The Public Relations and Organizational Communication concentration emphasizes the theory and application of communication in a variety of contexts. These include working in public relations, employee relations, media relations, public affairs, issue and crisis management, technical and employee communication, and related activities in business, industry, non-profit, and governmental settings. The degree requires a minimum of 30 credits.

Required courses:18
Introduction to MA Studies in Communication
Organizational Communication
Public Relations Theory
Public Relations Campaigns and Issues Management
Internship 1
Professional Issues in Applied Communication 2
At least one of the following Research Methods courses:3
Audience Measurement and Survey Techniques
Rhetorical Criticism
Quantitative Research Methods in Communication
Qualitative Research Methods in Communication
At least two of the following Public Relations & Organizational Communication content area elective courses:6
Law and Ethics in Journalism and Mass Media
New Media Practices
Speech Writing
New Media Theory
Micro-Level Organizational Communication
Crisis Communication
Risk Communication: Theoretical and Practical Approaches
Health and Risk Communication
Risk Communication: Disasters, Hazards, and the Media
New Media and Strategic Communication
Communication Consulting and Training
Communication Theory
One additional course chosen in consultation with advisor3
1

Option 1: Traditional Internship 
Work for a specified number of hours at an approved internship site where students can acquire and build upon skills that will serve their career goals. Students are required to have a site supervisor.

Option 2: Service Learning Internship Project
Complete a service-learning project in conjunction with the graduate internship coordinator. Students are required to have a site supervisor at the hosting organization.

Option 3: Worksite Internship Project
Students take on a project at their current organization, provided that it significantly extends the scope of their current responsibilities or introduces them to a new domain of practice within the organization. The graduate internship coordinator must approve the project. Students are required to have a designated site supervisor other than their current supervisor.

2

 Capstone course.

 

Public Relations and Organizational Communication (Online)

The Public Relations and Organizational Communication concentration of the M.A. in Communication emphasizes the theory and application of communication in a variety of contexts. These include working in public relations, employee relations, media relations, public affairs, issue and crisis management, technical and employee communication, and related activities in business, industry, non-profit, and governmental settings. The degree requires a minimum of 30 credits.

Required courses:18
Introduction to MA Studies in Communication
Organizational Communication
Public Relations Theory
Public Relations Campaigns and Issues Management
Internship 1
Professional Issues in Applied Communication 2
At least one of the following Research Methods courses:3
Audience Measurement and Survey Techniques
At least two of the following Public Relations & Organizational Communication content area elective courses:6
New Media Practices
New Media Theory
Crisis Communication
Risk Communication: Theoretical and Practical Approaches
Health and Risk Communication
Risk Communication: Disasters, Hazards, and the Media
New Media and Strategic Communication
One additional course chosen in consultation with advisor3
1

Option 1: Traditional Internship 
Work for a specified number of hours at an approved internship site where students can acquire and build upon skills that will serve their career goals. Students are required to have a site supervisor.

Option 2: Service Learning Internship Project
Complete a service-learning project in conjunction with the graduate internship coordinator. Students are required to have a site supervisor at the hosting organization.

Option 3: Worksite Internship Project
Students take on a project at their current organization, provided that it significantly extends the scope of their current responsibilities or introduces them to a new domain of practice within the organization. The graduate internship coordinator must approve the project. Students are required to have a designated site supervisor other than their current supervisor.

2

 Capstone course.

 

Departmental AGRADE Program

The AGRADE program enables highly qualified seniors majoring in Communication Studies or Public Relations to enroll simultaneously in undergraduate and graduate programs and to apply a maximum of 12 credits toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. The program encourages such students to continue to graduate school at Wayne State by reducing the time to the master's degree. Only AGRADE-approved courses in which the student has earned a B or higher will transfer to the graduate transcript. Once in the master's program, students may be required to repeat an AGRADE course in which they earn less than a B grade. 

Eligibility: AGRADE applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.5. Applicants are also expected to have performed at a superior level in their major, as determined by the major department and reflected in a GPA in the major of at least 3.6 at the time of application.

Application: A student seeking AGRADE status should present to the Department of Communication Graduate Committee all of the materials which that department requires for normal admission to the M.A. program with a concentration in Communication Studies. Specific departmental admission requirements can be found in this bulletin or obtained from the Graduate Advisor in the Department of Communication (313-577-2959).

The earliest date by which a student may apply for the AGRADE program is during the semester in which he/she completes 90 credits toward the undergraduate degree.

AGRADE Credits: Students may elect a minimum of three and a maximum of twelve AGRADE credits. These credits will be used to complete the baccalaureate degree as well as to serve as the beginning of graduate study. Upon formal admission to a master’s program, AGRADE credits are transferred as if they were graduate credits transferred from a graduate program at another university. The remaining graduate credits required for the master's degree will be earned in the conventional manner following formal admission to the graduate program. Formal admission to the graduate program occurs as AGRADE students complete their baccalaureate degree.

Students admitted into an AGRADE program will develop a Plan of Work for the master's program, specifying the courses that will be taken in the AGRADE status as well as the courses required for the balance of the undergraduate degree. Note that COM 7000 must be taken in the first semester of AGRADE coursework . The remaining AGRADE courses must be approved by both the student's undergraduate program advisor and the graduate director of the master's program. In courses permitting both undergraduate and graduate students to enroll, AGRADE students will be held to the graduate standard.

For more details about the AGRADE program, contact the Graduate Advisor in the Department of Communication (313-577-2959)

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