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Communication Studies - M.A.

The Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies provides a broad spectrum of knowledge about human communication in various social contexts, and the ways in which information is produced and processed. The program prepares individuals to pursue a doctorate degree, as well as for non-academic careers in which a broad understanding of communication theory and research is desirable.

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A Flexible Program for Multiple Communication Pathways

The program is intended for those who wish to continue graduate study in communication beyond the master's level, to teach at a smaller university, liberal arts college, or community college, to continue preparation for professional careers or to prepare for nonacademic careers in which a broad understanding of communication theory and research is desirable. Students in the graduate program typically pursue one or more areas of study.

This is an in-person program, but options are available to take some courses online.

Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

The Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies is intended to provide a broad spectrum of knowledge about human communication in various social contexts, and the ways in which information is produced and processed. Curriculum focus is on the social and behavioral study of communication theory and research. The program prepares individuals to pursue a doctorate degree, as well as for non-academic careers in which a broad understanding of communication theory and research is desirable.

Admissions

For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum 2.750 undergraduate GPA on a 4.000-point scale
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Goal statement
  • Sample of scholarly writing
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions to waive) by earning one of the following: 1
    • Minimum 94 TOEFL iBT score
    • Minimum 7.0 IELTS score
    • Minimum 65 PTE score
    • Minimum 120 DET score

Starting with the spring 2025 admission term, minimum English language proficiency scores will be the following:

  • Minimum 79 TOEFL iBT score
  • Minimum 6.5 IELTS score
  • Minimum 58 PTE score
  • Minimum 110 DET score
1

International applicants who do not meet the above test scores may be considered for conditional admission.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • Application deadline: April 15
  • Spring Semester
    • Application deadline: November 15

Applications submitted after these deadlines will be considered on a space-available basis.

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the program will be able to:

  1. Read, critique and engage in theory-based research involving a broad spectrum of topics in human communication.
  2. Understand and master appropriate methodological skills for the study of human communication and apply them to relevant and shifting real-world contexts that often include newer communication technologies.
  3. Utilize theory-based and state-of-the-art knowledge to stimulate and improve communication processes in educational, business and nonprofit environments.
Dual Degree

Dual Degree with Master of Business Administration

Students have the opportunity to complete a dual degree program with the M.A. degree in Communication Studies and the M.B.A. degree in Business Administration. A separate application must be submitted for each program. Students can view admission requirements for each program on their respective catalog page.

The dual M.A./M.B.A. degree program is designed for students and professionals whose career goals focus on communication, particularly global communication, and provides direction and leadership in economic and business development processes.

Dual Degree Requirements

Major Requirements
ACCT 63037FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING FOR DECISION MAKING 2
ACCT 63038MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING FOR DECISION MAKING 2
BA 64005ANALYTICS FOR DECISION MAKING 2
or COMM 65020 QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS IN COMMUNICATION
BA 64026SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT 2
CIS 64042GLOBALIZATION AND TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY 2
COMM 65000FOUNDATIONS OF COMMUNICATION AND ADVOCACY 3
COMM 65652THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION 3
COMM 65851ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION 3
ECON 62021MACROECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT OF BUSINESS 2
ECON 62022MANAGERIAL ECONOMICS 2
FIN 66050LAW AND ETHICS 2
FIN 66060MANAGERIAL FINANCE 2
HRM 64271HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 2
MGMT 68051BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT I 1
MKTG 65051MARKETING MANAGEMENT 2
Business Electives6-7
Communication Studies (COMM) Electives 112-15
Culmininating Requirement
MGMT 64399BUSINESS STRATEGY 3
Choose from the following: 13-6
COMM 60199
THESIS I
COMM 61198
MASTERS PROJECT IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES
COMM 64092
MASTERS INTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES
Coursework
Minimum Total Credit Hours:60
Coursework

Program Requirements

Major Requirements

Major Requirements
CCI 61000QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS IN COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION 3
or CCI 62000 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS IN COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
COMM 65000FOUNDATIONS OF COMMUNICATION AND ADVOCACY 3
COMM 65652THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION 3
Communication Studies (COMM) Graduate Electives (50000 or 60000 level) 115-18
Culminating Requirement
Choose from the following:3-6
COMM 60199
THESIS I
COMM 61198
MASTERS PROJECT IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES
COMM 64092
MASTERS INTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES
Coursework-Only Option
Minimum Total Credit Hours:30
1

A minimum 9 credit hours must be at the 60000 level. A maximum 6 credit hours may be taken from courses outside of the School of Communication Studies. A maximum 4 credit hours of workshop coursework may be taken. Some examples of routinely offered electives include COMM 65070, COMM 65662, COMM 65686, COMM 65851 and COMM 66501.

Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus
Graduate Assistantships

The School of Communication Studies awards graduate assistantships every academic year to highly qualified graduate student applicants. Awards for students include a nine-month stipend (fall and spring semesters) and a waiver of resident and out-of-state tuition. Graduate assistants can enroll in a subsidized health insurance program through the university. Students with graduate assistantships are also eligible to teach during the summer sessions. These summer appointments provide free tuition for 4 credits of study in addition to a stipend.

Students wishing to be considered for a graduate assistantship for the fall semester enrollment must apply by January 15 and by November 15 for spring semester enrollment. The application for an assistantship should be included with your overall program application.

All graduate appointees must register for at least 8 credits (typically 3 courses) per semester. Assistantship appointments consist of a 20-hour weekly workload that may include teaching two 3-credit hour classes, or three sections of a lecture/lab class. Most assistants teach Introduction to Human Communication (COMM 15000), the basic communication course. Position assignments may also include assisting with research or a combination of other duties.

Assistantship decisions are competitive and based on admission qualifications. Award decisions are usually made as early as February and no later than April 1 for the Fall semester. Normally, students in good standing at the M.A. level are supported for 2 years. Assistantships will be reviewed and renewed annually. Assistantship positions become available for Spring semester on occasion. Students admitted administratively or conditionally cannot be considered for an assistantship.

M.A./M.B.A. Dual Degree Program

The School of Communication Studies and Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship also offer a dual-degree program providing students with an opportunity to obtain two degrees at once: a Master of Arts in communication studies (MA) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA). 

This unique program is particularly attractive for managers, professionals and Bachelor of Arts students looking to enhance their communication skills to influence business in emerging global markets, while also developing skills to augment their own professional careers.

Coursework includes communication theory and skills, media and information dissemination and processes, business fundamentals, entrepreneurial thinking and team-building skills. Additionally, students must fulfill a global experience requirement (a study abroad course or an internship with global reach). Learn more about the dual-degree and its requirements.

Communication and Advocacy Graduate Certificate Program

The Communication and Advocacy graduate certificate provides communication professionals and recent graduates the skills and understanding to tackle emerging advocacy needs. Students learn to communicate with diverse allies across digital and physical platforms; engage and motivate audiences by clearly, consistently and creatively telling stories worth sharing; and approach advocacy challenges from health, organizational, intercultural, intergroup, global, mediated and persuasion contexts.

Learn More

Combined Bachelor's-to-Master's Degree Program

Maybe you already know your career path dreams, and graduate school is part of that trajectory. Maybe while you’re here, you find a passion for research and want to learn more about your field beyond your bachelor’s degree.

However you come to realize you want to pursue your education beyond your four-year degree, Kent State has a path to make it easier, faster and more affordable. Undergraduate majors within the College of Communication and Information (CCI) pair exceptionally well with CCI graduate programs. So, whether your interests are media and communication or design and information or tech and journalism or any other combination, we’ve got you covered.

Learn More: Combined bachelor's/master's degree.

Forms and Resources

The following forms are specific to the School of Communication Studies and College of Communication and Information:

CCI graduate students may find these websites helpful:

Graduate students may access the following forms via Graduate College's Resources Page:

  • Application for Extension of Time Limits
  • Application for Graduate Re-Enrollment
  • Request for Leave of Absence
  • Change in Program of Study
  • Notification of Approved Thesis Topic
  • Report of Thesis Final Examination
  • Notice of Approved Dissertation Topic
  • Application for Graduate Assistantships
  • Request for Exception to Full-Time Enrollment (Graduate Assistants)
  • Combined Bachelor's-to-Master's Degree Program
  • Permission for Undergraduate Students to Enroll in Graduate Courses
  • And More

Graduate College Forms and Resources

Communication Studies Graduate Admission FAQ

 

Application Process

Can I still apply after the deadline?

A committee will begin the review of applications directly until the deadline (April 15 for fall enrollment and November 15 for spring enrollment). Therefore, it is important for applicants seeking graduate assistantships to apply early. Applicants who are not seeking an assistantship may submit completed applications until May 31 for the fall semester enrollment.

Applications will not be accepted after Nov. 15 for spring semester enrollment.

How long do I have before my incomplete application expires?

Once an application is submitted on the online submission site, applicants have one year to complete the application. Applicants will need to re-apply after one year and must submit all new materials.

Do I have to take the GRE to apply?

No.

Does my undergraduate major have to be Communication Studies or related? 

An undergraduate major or minor in communication is preferred although not required. Students with related majors are also considered. Applicants should have academic and professional goals compatible with the program.

What type of writing sample should I submit?

Academic writing is preferred for applicants seeking an assistantship. Academic or professional writing is acceptable for applicants who are not seeking an assistantship.

For students who are not seeking a graduate assistantship, they can submit the writing sample as stated above or writings generated from their work, such as newsletters, press releases, marketing proposals, training manuals, etc.

Do I send the recommendation letters to the School of Communication Studies directly?

No. Applicants must send the letters of recommendation to Division of Graduate Studies (for domestic applicants) or Office of Global Education (for international applicants).

Who should write my recommendation letters?

Three letters of recommendation addressing the Academic and Professional Abilities of an Applicant.  Two letters must be from current or former professors.

I have been away from school for a while, and lost contact with most of the faculty from the last academic institution I was in. Therefore, I may not be able to get two letters of recommendation from faculty. Is that okay?

Unfortunately, if an applicant is seeking a graduate assistantship, the committee wants to see at least two recommendation letters from faculty from your current/previous academic institutions.

If an applicant is not seeking graduate assistantship, the committee only requires one letter from faculty and two letters can be from current/previous employers, colleagues or someone who is in the position to evaluate your work ethic, performance and potential for graduate school.

What information do I need to include in my goal statement document?

Address the following in the goal statement.

  • Why you are seeking a graduate degree in communication studies.
  • Why you are applying to the Kent State graduate program. Specifically, discuss which areas of emphasis (i.e., global communication, health communication, interpersonal communication and mass and mediated communication) and research topics you are interested in pursuing. Also, identify which graduate faculty members’ research programs relate to your research interests.
  • What you intend to do upon completing your graduate degree in Communication Studies.
Can I be a part-time student in your program?

Yes. However, students must keep two things in mind. First, students need to complete their master's degree program within six years of their first enrollment. Secondly, not all classes are offered in the evenings; some courses may be offered in the afternoon due to scheduling issues. Therefore, students may need to ask their employer for flexibility during a particular semester.

Can I still apply if I do not know which concentration to choose?

A specific concentration does not have to be included in the purpose statement document. However, applicants should indicate a general interest of the types of communication topics/phenomena/research questions in the purpose statement document so the committee can decide if the student's goals align with this program.

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Graduate Assistantships

Are graduate assistantships available?

Yes. Graduate assistantships are awarded to highly qualified applicants. A graduate assistantship includes a nine-month stipend and waiver of resident and out-of-state tuition. Health insurance programs are available with assistantships.

What will I do in a graduate assistantship position?

Graduate assistants teach two to three sessions of Introduction to Human Communication (COMM 150000) under the supervision of the Basic Course Director. The time commitment is expected to be 20 hours per week.

Research assistantships may be available depending on faculty-led grant activity.

Are graduate assistantships available during the summer?

No.

Does your Graduate Assistantship include health insurance?

Yes. The university pays part of the cost for student health insurance.

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Admission Process

When can I expect to hear from the School about the admission decision?

The decision timeline depends on when the application was completed and submitted. Applicants should expect a minimum of two to four weeks before receiving the school's decision.

When should I make a decision about coming to the program?

For applicants who are awarded with a graduate assistantship, responses are due no later than April 15. Once the offer letter is signed, the student is obligated to come to the program. If, for any reason, the student is unable to fulfill the contract, he or she must formally request to be released from the assistantship contract before accepting an offer from another institution.

For applicants who are not seeking assistantship, please respond to the admission letter within a month. If more time is needed, please contact the graduate coordinator.

If I am admitted into the program but unable to come, can I defer my enrollment?

Yes. Students can defer enrollment for one year. After that, students have to re-apply and must submit all new materials.

If you are awarded a graduate assistantship, students can hold the assistantship for one year for the deferred enrollment. Students, however, should check with the School of Communication Studies to ensure the position before deferring enrollment.

What is a conditional admission?

A conditional admission may be offered to applicants if a student has the potential to succeed but may need some preparatory courses to make up the deficiency in language, educational background or writing competence.

The admission letter will specify condition(s) and the student will be evaluated by the deadline as indicated in the letter. Once the student meets the condition(s), his or her conditional status will be removed. If he or she does not meet the condition(s), the faculty will recommended dismissal from the program.

Conditionally admitted students will be treated the same way as other regular admitted students with full access to university resources.

An international student who is offered a conditional admission should not have any problem obtaining the U.S. visa.

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Program and Graduation Options

Is there a graduate orientation available?

Kent State University's Graduate Studies offers a graduate student orientation.

The School of Communication Studies requires an in-house orientation for new students at the beginning of the semester a student is admitted. Students will be contacted by the graduate coordinator about the in-house orientation.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The graduate curriculum is designed to allow the student to graduate in two years as long as he or she registers continuously and makes satisfactory progress with his or her program of study.

How do I know which classes to take in my first semester?

Each student is assigned a temporary advisor in his/her first semester to assist with scheduling classes. Students have required courses to take in their first and second semesters.

What kinds of classes will I be taking?

Courses focus on theory and research in areas of communication studies such as health, global, interpersonal, mediated and mass communication. View current course offerings and descriptions here, by selecting the term, graduate and subject (communication studies).

How many classes students usually take each semester?

Full-time, including international students, take three classes each semester. Part-time students enroll as it meets their schedule.

Do I have to write a thesis?

No. Students have the option to write a thesis, complete coursework only, complete a project or intern as their capstone experience.

What is a thesis option? Who is this for?

A thesis option is one of the four graduation capstone experiences. It is intended for students who are interested in conducting research pertaining to communication issues, are planning to pursue a doctoral degree in the future or work in a research capacity.

What is an internship option? Who is this for?

The internship is one of the four graduation capstone experiences. It is intended for students who are interested in applying what they have learned to a workplace. Students are required to intern in an organization for a communication-related position for a minimum of 135 hours over the semester. For example, students can intern in the marketing department in a radio station or in the communication department in a hospital.

What is a coursework only option? Who is this for?

A coursework-only option is one of the four graduation capstone experiences. It is intended for students who are interested in a wide array of communication topics (e.g., health, global and media) and are not planning to pursue a doctoral degree in the future.

What is a project option? Who is this for?

A project option is one of the four graduation capstone experiences. It is intended for students who are interested in applying communication theories or knowledge to a specific type of issue. For example, students can create a workshop on cancer patients and family support for a targeted audience. The workshop can include a presentation, printed materials and an evaluation of its effectiveness.

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International Applicants

Do I need to take an English language proficiency test if I've studied in the United States?

If the applicant holds a bachelor's degree from a U.S. institution and/or has studied in an accredited U.S. academic institution for two years, then a test is not required.

I am an International student. Can you tell me about the living expenses?

Please view the tuition and fees information provided by the Financial, Billing and Enrollment Center. An international student is required to maintain full-time status during the fall and spring semesters (a minimum of eight credit hours).

We encourage you to check out the International Student and Scholar Services for questions related to your stay at Kent State University.

I am an International student, and I want to know if you have all of my application materials.

International students should first check with the Office of Global Education (OGE). Once OGE completes all the verification process, they will move their application to the Division of Graduate Studies and then to the School of Communication Studies.

Is there any support for international students?

Yes. The Office of Global Education has wonderful staff and advisors to help you get accustomed to Kent State, many activities on or around campus and a host family program for you to adjust to American culture.

The College of Communication and Information (CCI) has two international advisors who are here to help you with academic issues and acculturation. CCI offers an orientation class for incoming graduate students and a writing class for those who need to improve their English writing skills.

Faculty and staff are very supportive of international students and will find ways to help whenever they can.

I am an international student and I have received the admission letter from Kent State University. I am still waiting to hear from other universities. Can I apply for the U.S. visa using the I-20 issued by Kent State University?

If a student uses the Kent State I-20 to apply for the U.S. visa, then he or she will need to come to Kent State University, not other universities.

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Examples of Possible Careers and Salaries

Communications teachers, postsecondary

3.2%

about as fast as the average

35,600

number of jobs

$71,030

potential earnings

Market research analysts and marketing specialists

17.7%

much faster than the average

738,100

number of jobs

$65,810

potential earnings

Public relations and fundraising managers

9.2%

much faster than the average

88,000

number of jobs

$118,430

potential earnings

Notice: Career Information Source
* Source of occupation titles and labor data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Data comprises projected percent change in employment over the next 10 years; nation-wide employment numbers; and the yearly median wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.

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