The University of Central Missouri (UCM) offers an online Master of Arts in Communication through its School of Communication, History, and Interdisciplinary Studies. The MA in Communication has two tracks: an Applied Communication option and a Communication Studies option. The applied communication program can be completed fully online and courses are taught by the same faculty who teach in the on-campus program. Students interested in the Communication Studies option should contact a program administrator to determine if that track can also be completed fully online.
The Master of Arts in Communication with a specialization in Applied Communication requires 31 credit hours, which can typically be completed in two years of full-time study. This program is designed for professionals seeking to advance their knowledge of communication theory and practice, and how to translate research to designing, implementing, evaluating, and improving communication strategies and campaigns in diverse professional settings. The curriculum prepares students to step into advanced roles in areas such as media management, film, news broadcasting and radio, marketing and public relations, and more.
The 31-credit curriculum explores major areas of communication, including mass communication and speech communication. Coursework is divided between required graduate courses, research classes and graduate electives. The program opens with an Introduction to Graduate Studies that prepares students for the rigors of graduate-level work in communication. Subsequent classes, including Theories of Communication, Quantitative Research Methods, and Qualitative Research Methods introduce students to core concepts, theories and research methodologies in communication and their relevance to contemporary communication contexts and scenarios.
From there, students can choose from a variety of electives in applied communication. Examples of such courses include Media Ethics, Group Communication, Online Reporting and Editing, Media Promotions, Social Influence, Women and Minorities in Media, Audio for Digital Cinema, Media Management, The Law and Digital Media, Special Topics in Mass Media, and International Communication. Electives allow students to craft a program of study that aligns with their professional development goals. With their faculty advisor’s approval, students may also complete up to 6 credits of elective courses in a field that is related to communication.
For their culminating experience, students of the Applied Communication track must complete at least 3 (but up to 6) credits of Research Problems, wherein they engage in supervised research on a contemporary issue or challenge in communication, culminating in a final research paper. During their work, students receive support and guidance from faculty advisors, to whom they also present their final research product at the end of their last term in the program.
Note: Students who choose the Communication Studies track can choose between completing a thesis or the Research Problems paper. The thesis option culminates in a traditional five-chapter thesis that must be defended before the student’s thesis committee.
The University of Central Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Online Master of Arts in Communication
Department: Department of Communication and Digital Media Production
Specializations/Concentrations: Applied Communication Option
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction using the Blackboard learning management system - some instructors may have some synchronous sessions
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in ~2 years
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis or research paper
Credits Required: 31 credits (10-11 courses)
Example Courses: Introduction to Graduate Studies; Theories of Communication; Quantitative Research Methods for Communication; Qualitative Research Methods; Strategic Communication Audits; Advanced Organizational Communication; Communication and Crisis in Organizations; Group Communication
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum cumulative GPA 2.5 (at least 2.75 in undergraduate communication-related courses)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Work Experience: Undergraduate major or coursework in communication or a related field recommended
Start Dates: Fall admission only
Estimated Tuition*: ~$10,803.50 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $348.50 per credit hour
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from most states - students should confirm with program that they accept students from their state of residence before applying