2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    Sep 24, 2023  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Communication and Media Studies (M.A.)

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Program Coordinator/Contact

Jenn Anderson, Associate Professor/Graduate Program Coordinator
School of Communication and Journalism
Pugsley Continuing Education Center 115

Program Information

The Master of Arts in Communication and Media Studies is a broad-based graduate degree for students with an undergraduate degree in communication studies, media studies, or related areas. Coursework emphasizes the intersections of academic and professional approaches to understanding, creating, and evaluating messages across contexts. Core coursework covers the foundations of the communication and media studies disciplines (including relevant theories and methods), explores cross-platform communication, and offers applied coursework in either professional communication or media law.

Students who pursue Option A (thesis) complete an additional 9-12 credits of elective coursework and an independent, theoretically-based study that generates new disciplinary knowledge and prepares them for advanced graduate work. Students who pursue Option B (project) complete an additional 15-18 credits of elective coursework and an independent, applied project that addresses a practical issue using skills related to students’ chosen career fields.

Student Learning Outcomes

A graduate with a specialization in Communication Studies will be able to:

  • Demonstrate excellent communication skills across various platforms (written, oral, and digital) that are tailored to the professions, audiences, and purposes they serve.
  • Conduct research and/or evaluation projects using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies.
  • Understand the theoretical foundations of the field and generate new, creative insights or contributions to one’s academic or professional field.
  • Identify the impact of history, diversity, and intersectionality of social identities on human communication and mass media within personal, professional, organizational, and societal contexts.
  • Use current and emerging technologies effectively to adapt fundamental critical thinking and storytelling skills to the interconnected world with digital, networked media.
  • Practice professional ethics, as well as principles of freedom of speech and expression, within one’s academic or professional field.

Course Delivery Format

This program is offered at SDSU’s Brookings campus and includes both face-to-face and online instruction options.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees

Master of Arts Option A - Thesis 30 Credit Hours
  Option B - Research/Design Paper 32 Credit Hours

Select one of the following options

Option A - Thesis

Option B - Research/Design Paper

Total Required Credits: 30 (Option A), 32 (Option B)

Additional Admission Requirements

GRE: Not required
TOEFL: Department requirement of 600 paper-based, 100 Internet-based
IELTS: 7.0

  • Priority Deadlines (Fall admission: Feb 1; Spring admission: Sept 1)
    • All applications received by the priority deadline receive a timely, comprehensive review by the graduate committee. Students admitted during this round of review are prioritized for funding decisions.
    • Assistantship funding is only available for applicants admitted for the Fall semester.
    • Applications received after the priority deadlines will be periodically reviewed by the graduate committee.
    • Admission decisions will be shared at least 10 working days before the deadline set by the Council of Graduate Schools (e.g., April 15 for Fall admissions).
  • Applicants will submit materials for admission to the program and consideration for an assistantship simultaneously
    • The graduate committee will provide program admission decisions.
    • Admitted applicants will be forwarded to hiring manager for assistantship decisions.
  • Preferred Qualification
    • Minimum of 18 credit hours of undergraduate credit in relevant coursework (e.g., Advertising, Agricultural Communication, Communication Studies, Journalism, Marketing, Media Studies, or Public Relations).
  • Application materials
    • Resume/CV
    • Writing sample (max: 5 pages)
      • Cover letter (max: 2 pages) that addresses
      • Interest in graduate work in communication & media studies
      • How this degree will advance professional goals
      • Preparation for success in advanced studies in communication and media studies
      • Interest in teaching, and ability to teach at the collegiate level, if interested in being considered for a teaching assistantship
  • Official Transcripts
    • Note: If the coursework was completed at a South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) institution, we have access to your transcript, and you do not need to take any action.
  • International Applicants may only receive unconditional admission. To receive unconditional admission, international applicants must meet these requirements:
    • A minimum GPA of 3.0.
    • A professional academic transcript evaluation for degrees earned outside the United States. (This requirement cannot be waived unless your highest degree was earned or will be earned in the U.S. prior to enrollment at SDSU).
    • If you are completing your bachelor’s degree at the time of application, you may submit an incomplete evaluation. If you are accepted, a complete transcript and/or evaluation with completed degree will be required by the end of your first semester of coursework.
    • Official U.S. transcripts where a degree is earned (or will be earned), and official U.S. transcripts where graduate level coursework has been taken.
    • The School of COJO requires higher English proficiency scores than the minimums set by the SDSU Graduate School. International applicants must achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 600 paper-based or 100 Internet based, or an IELTS score of 7.0.

General Requirements

Graduate students should consult with their advisor before registering for graduate coursework.

For additional information refer to the Master’s Degree Requirements .

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