Jul 22, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Communication, Media, and Performance M.A.

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The graduate major in Communication, Media, and Performance, offered through the College of Arts and Sciences, provides an in-depth study leading to specialized knowledge and skills. Students have the opportunity to receive a broad theoretical framework across these fields as well as the specific skills needed in the professional world.

In our high-speed world, information is currency and the ability to communicate effectively is a requirement if you want to make an impact in business, government, media, the arts, and other vital fields. To this end, students in Communication, Media, and Performance study the use of symbols to convey meaning across mediated and embodied contexts. Students explore multiple aspects of human interaction in both private and public realms. They develop skills in crafting their own messages to suit diverse audiences and contexts and to achieve a variety of communicative goals, while also critically analyzing the messages of others. Engaging in ethical communication practices and adapting to diverse cultural contexts empowers students to promote human rights and dignity as global citizens. Through this integrated approach to communication, media, and performance, the major prepares students to succeed as working professionals and/or for further graduate study in the discipline.

Beyond taking the common required courses, students adapt the major to their community and individual needs and backgrounds by pursuing choices among the Seminar (CMP-7000 ) and Advanced Seminar (CMP-8000 ) offerings and choosing appropriate elective courses (see program website for upcoming topics in course offerings). Students plan their specific programs in consultation with their advisors. Graduates of the program are in career areas such as advertising, cable TV, college teaching, consulting, customer service, human resource development, journalism, media management, media writing, non-profit, public affairs, public relations, theatre performance and production, TV production/direction, and training.

Program Expected Outcomes

Upon completion of a MA in Communication, Media, and Performance, students will:

1. Analyze effective message construction across multiple forms of media.

2. Interpret and constructively critique message meanings.

3. Evaluate useful message design and identify its implications.

4. Investigate and evaluate dynamic communication with regard to changing technological, socio-cultural, political, leadership, and economic environments.

5. Identify and evaluate multiple aspects of informed and engaged global citizenry.

6. Promote modes of inquiry encouraging lifelong and experiential learning.

7. Analyze the relationships between communication and culture as a means of fostering intercultural relationships.

8. Explore and exemplify ethical and professional communication practices that promote human relations.

9. Analyze and use appropriate technology for academic pursuits and investigate current uses of technology and their effective application to daily life.

Recommended Preparation

An undergraduate major in one of the following fields is recommended: communication, media studies, theatre, advertising and public relations, English, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, linguistics, business, education, or liberal arts. In addition, students are expected to have demonstrable competence in written, verbal, and visual forms of communication.

Special Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the university admissions requirements, applicants must:

  1. Have earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work. Applicants who do not meet the GPA requirements or who have graduated from non-grade baccalaureate programs may be conditionally admitted, and a GPA of 3.0 must be maintained for the first nine credit hours of work completed. If a 3.0 GPA is not maintained, the student must petition the Communication, Media, and Performance program for continued enrollment.
  2. Submit a Cover Letter. In no more than two pages, students should discuss their reasons for enrolling in a communication, media and performance program, what they intend to study, faculty members they hope to study with, and how they see pursuing the degree as beneficial to their personal and/or professional life.
  3. Provide an academic writing sample. In most cases, this will be a paper from an upper division undergraduate course in a related discipline.

Admission to the program happens twice a year. Applications for the program should be completed by August 1 for the fall term, or by December 1 for the spring term.

Admission to Candidacy

After enrollment as a degree-seeking student, a student also must earn candidacy prior to embarking on the Capstone requirement. Assessment of candidacy status is conducted annually in May. To qualify for degree candidacy, a student must complete 12 hours of course work in the program with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, including earning a B or higher in CMP-6100 .

More detailed candidacy information is available through the student’s advisor or the division office. 

Capstone Requirement: Internship, Thesis, or Project Options

As part of this degree program, students select between an exam, project or thesis option to fulfill their capstone requirement, depending on personal and professional goals. Before enrolling in any capstone option, students must be admitted to candidacy (see above), seek willingness from three faculty members to serve on their graduate committee, and receive committee approval on their capstone proposal. More detailed capstone information is available through the student’s advisor or the division office.  

In the comprehensive exam option (CMP-8950 ), students prepare by developing a comprehensive reading list based on completed coursework with the advice of their committee. The comprehensive exam then covers theory, method, and application of scholarship.

The applied project option (CMP-8980 ) is most appropriate for graduate students who plan to conclude their academic studies with the Master’s degree. Applied projects are endeavors applying academic research and/or creative activity to address a problem in the world.

In the thesis option (CMP-8990 ), students develop a thesis proposal, carry out a formal research study under the supervision of the graduate committee, and prepare a final manuscript. The thesis option is strongly encouraged for students who have focused research interests or who intend to pursue doctoral studies.

Degree Requirements

Students must meet all university requirements for a master’s degree and complete required courses with a grade of “B” or higher in each course and maintain an average GPA of 3.0. A second attempt in any required course requires advisor approval.

The M.A. in Communication, Media, and Performance requires a common core of courses. The core concentrates on the essential connections between the disciplines; awareness of the common aspects in research; and, finally, the application to various media and technology.

Some required and selective courses are offered only once per academic year. Students are strongly advised to register well in advance of the commencement of courses, and to consult closely with their assigned advisors upon entering the program to ensure individual study plans are aligned with the university schedule.

Students must enroll in CMP-6100  Disciplinary Survey of Communication, Media, and Performance during their first semester.

Electives (9 Hours)

In consultation with the advisor, select 9 hours of graduate credit hours (6000 level or above) appropriate to the student’s career interest(s) from within a contributing discipline (CMP, COMS, MST, TAPS, IFDI).

Total - 36-37 Hours

Total for Thesis/Project option = 36 hours

Total for Comprehensive Exam option = 37 hours

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