Communication Studies, M.A.

Graduate Program

About the Program

Success Starts Here

Study communication and its impact on the world.

The goals of the Master of Arts program in Communication Studies are to provide students with a rigorous educational experience, to develop an advanced understanding of the human communication process, to increase awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of the communication field, and to develop oral, written, critical thinking, and research skills. Students complete coursework in persuasion, interpersonal, intercultural, organizational, and health communication together with research methods applicable to these areas.

Two programs are offered. The thesis program emphasizes the student’s development of research skills under faculty supervision (30 credits). The non-thesis program focuses on a theoretical foundation with emphasis on applied communication (36 credits). Students will be prepared for leadership positions in public or private organizations at the national or international level, or pursue advance degrees.

Organizational Communication Track

Organizations are complex networks of people, personalities, partnerships, and perspectives. Organizational effectiveness is defined by one’s ability to bring these diverse perspectives together to create dynamic and flexible institutions that are adaptable and resilient to a rapidly changing world. In the Master of Arts program in Communication Studies, we take a people-centered approach to leadership, translating a well-established body of theory-based research into practice-based learning, including core knowledge and skills that professionals need to be highly successful in their chosen careers. Our program is designed to cultivate interpersonal, organizational, and cultural competencies necessary for career advancement and success.

Program Goals

Our program goals are to foster the development of the dynamic, flexible, and collaborative interpersonal skills that are fundamental and essential qualities of effective leaders. We take a multifaceted approach blending theory with applied skills and practice to cultivate four distinct skillsets that will position students for success: collaborating in teams, management skills, analytic and presentations skills, and leadership in diverse organizations.

Student Learning Competencies

Through this program, student will develop essential skills across four competencies crucial to organizational advancement:

  • 1. Leadership & Teamwork. Cultivate organizational, interpersonal, small group, and leadership fluency skills.

    Course examples: Small Group Processes, Leadership Communication, Managing Conflict in Organizations, Interpersonal Communication

  • 2. Organizational Diversity. Understand how culture, gender, and diversity inform, shape, and define organizational success.

    Course examples: Culture and Organizations and Gender Issues in Leadership

  • 3. Organizational Research. Develop practical and actionable data collection and analysis skills including basic competencies in visualization, analysis, and interpretation.

    Course examples: Applied Research Methods, Organizational Analysis, Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization

  • 4. Write-Read-Lead. In the contemporary business world, if you can’t speak compellingly and write with purpose, you’re going to work for someone who can.

    Course examples: Persuasion and The Executive Communicator

Other Tracks

  • Communication Studies Track

  • Health Communication Track

  • Intercultural Communication Track

For a complete list of courses, please visit the UM Bulletin website at

Communication Research Methods and Analyses

Introduction to communication research methods. Application of quantitative measurement techniques and statistical analyses will be discussed as well as the use of microcomputer statistical programs.

Intercultural Communication: Domestic Perspectives

Effects of cultural attitudes, beliefs, and attributions on meaning assignment. Diffusion of cultural innovations, prejudice, discrimination, and equality are discussed. Emphasis is placed on intercultural interactions within the United States.

Intercultural Communication: International Perspectives

Effects of cultural attitudes, beliefs, and attributions on meaning assignment. Effects of language on the structure of thought. Ethics and process of the diffusion of cultural innovations are analyzed.

Organizational Communication Audit Procedures

Measurement of communication variables in the modern business organization: mes sage diffusion analysis; cross-section survey analysis; communication network analysis; and communication audit procedures. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

Seminar in Interpersonal Communication

This course focuses on theoretical approaches to interpersonal communication. Emphasis is placed on current research including fundamentals of relationships, developmental issues, interaction management, and interpersonal competence.

Seminar in Organizational Communication

This course explores theoretical perspectives and the impact of communication in organizations. Critical analysis includes management styles, decision-making, group interaction, conflict resolution, and diffusion of innovations.

The Executive Communicator

Audience analysis, speech writing, delivery in professional presentations, theo ry, and history of great speeches are covered. Detailed critiques of student s peaking styles and performances are also included.

Theories of Communication

Comparison of theories dealing with the processes and effects of communication is discussed.


Diane Millette

Department Chair
(305) 284-2340

Nicholas Carcioppolo

Graduate Coordinator for the MA degree
(305) 284-5633


Showcase Your Talents

UM Debate is a diverse group of students who are passionate about sparking intellectual discussions, coming up with creative arguments, presenting well-structured ideas – in short, they love debate. Team members participate in a wide range of activities, from competitive international tournaments to intimate on-campus discussions.

Featured Projects

A few of our communication studies projects, all done by our very own students and faculty.

Ready to take the next step?