Jan 27, 2023  
2022-2023 EIU Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 EIU Graduate Catalog

Communication Studies

Program Mission: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies offers a program in advanced scholarship that reflects the development of historical and contemporary influences on communication theory and practice. Specifically, we offer concentrations grounded in a rigorous theoretical base that inform communication practices, therefore preparing students to enter into academic and workplace environments.

Admission Requirements: A limited number of students are accepted each year; admission to the program is competitive.  To be eligible for degree candidacy, applicants must meet all of the requirements for admission to the Graduate School (See “Admission to Graduate Degree and Certificate Programs”).  A minimum of 18 hours in communication studies with a grade of C or better is required in order to be admitted to the program.  An applicant must submit to MyEIU a personal/goals statement an academic writing sample, a CV or resume and three letters of recommendation attesting to the potential for successful completion of graduate work. International applicants whose native language is not English must achieve a score consistent with the requirements of the Graduate School on a test of English language.  While students may be admitted to the Graduate School with fewer than 18 hours in communication studies, any deficiency in undergraduate communication hours must be made up before the student will be admitted to degree candidacy in Communication Studies.

Degree Audit: The graduate plan of study is the EIU Degree Audit, which is generated automatically at the time of degree or certificate candidacy. Modifications of the standard EIU Degree Audit are submitted by the graduate coordinator to the certification officer in the Graduate School at the time modifications are approved. The Degree Audit serves as an unofficial summary of requirements for the program. Degree and certificate candidates are advised to review the comprehensive summary of the Degree Audit process specified on the “Requirements for All Degree and Certificate Candidates” section of the Graduate Catalog. Individual programs may require candidates to submit plans of study in addition to the Degree Audit, candidates should consult with the program coordinator.


Degree Requirements

The approved plan of study is the guiding document for each student’s course of study. A student, in consultation with an advisor, develops a course of study with a minimum of 36 semester hours reflecting educational development and areas of specialization. No more than 12 hours can be taken from online classes. The plan should reflect the following guidelines:


  • Students are required to complete the two-course department core
  • Students must complete the coursework associated with their chosen concentration area
  • Semester hours generated from CMN 5500: Techniques for Teaching Assistants in Communication cannot be applied to graduation.


Core Courses

Students will complete a core of 6 hours composed of the following courses:

Concentration Area

Students will complete 18 hours in one of three concentration areas composed of the following courses:


Students will take 6 to 12 semester hours of elective coursework, six semester hours of which must come from an area outside of the students’ chosen concentration area. Students in the Thesis/Creative Thesis option will take 6 hours of elective credit; Students in the Comprehensive Exam option will take 12 hours of elective credit. Elective hours may be comprised of the following courses:

Capstone Experience

Students must demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the discipline in order to complete their degree.  Students may choose between comprehensive exams or completion of a capstone project of 6 semester hours in order to graduate. For the thesis capstone, students may choose between an academic thesis (CMN5950) or a creative thesis (CMN5940). Students considering doctoral work are encouraged to complete an academic thesis.


Accelerated Graduate Program

Admission to the accelerated MA in Communication Studies requires that a student have completed a minimum of 60 hours of undergraduate course credit and have a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.25. In addition, applicants must have completed a minimum of 15 hours of Communication Studies or Health Communication courses, including at least 6 hours at the 3000-4000 level.

To apply for the accelerated MA in Communication Studies, applicants meeting the above requirements must submit three letters of reference, writing sample, and a professional goals statement to the Graduate Coordinator and must also complete the Graduate School’s Accelerated Program Application.

Shared Coursework

Shared Credit Course Options: Student may select up to three courses (9 hours) from the list below. Student must meet with the Communication Studies Graduate Coordinator in addition to their undergraduate adviser to select courses.

Financial Assistance

To be considered for a Graduate Assistantship in the Department of Communication Studies, students must provide evidence of proficiency in oral English.  One form of evidence for international students is the attainment of a high score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE).  Such evidence is required in addition to the test of English language score, which is required for admission.

Applications for assistantships are normally due in February with the award for the following academic year.  Graduate teaching assistants must enroll in CMN 5500 in both the fall and spring semesters.

Graduate Assistantships

Information on graduate assistantships may be obtained by contacting the Coordinator of Graduate Studies or Chair, Department of Communication Studies, 1260 Coleman Hall, EIU.