There are currently six non-profit universities in the state of Alabama that offer eight master’s degree programs in different fields of communication: Auburn University, The University of Alabama, Troy University, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of South Alabama. Of the six universities, five offer campus-based programs, while Troy University offers an online program. The University of Alabama also offers an online program in addition to their on-campus program. Between the different universities, students can specialize in several different fields of communication including: strategic communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, media studies, and more.
All six schools in Alabama are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Alabama Master’s in Communication: Program Information
Auburn University’s School of Communication and Journalism offers a 30 to 39-credit Master of Arts in Communication program with specializations in Human Communication, Public Relations, and Media Studies. The program is comprised of core courses in communication theory and communication research, electives in public relations, media studies, and/or human communication, and a guided practicum or thesis research and writing. Courses in this program cover such concepts as communication theory, communication research and criticism, persuasive rhetoric, organizational communication small group communication, media management, public relations theory, and more. Students have flexibility in terms of the time they take to complete their degree, and program completion times vary depending on the number of courses students take, whether they have a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, and whether they attend summer classes.
Auburn University also offers a 32-credit Master of Technical and Professional Communication through its Department of English. This degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in teaching, research, and other fields that require sound communication and analytical skills. This program is comprised of courses that cover topics in technical and professional writing, professional editing, document design, and web development. Students are also required to complete two practicums in teaching English and rhetoric, as well as 18 credits of graduate-level English classes in the areas of their choice.
Located in Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences offers both an online and an on-campus Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Concentrations within the campus program include Organizational and Interpersonal Communication, Rhetoric and Political Discourse, Communication and Culture, and an Interdisciplinary Focus in Critical Media Studies. The online program is designed for students interested in Organizational Leadership. The programs are comprised of 30 credit hours, consisting of courses that train students to manage, develop, and evaluate written, oral and visual forms of communication. Students take foundational courses in communication theory and applied strategies, followed by elective in topics such as communication and diversity, political communication, rhetorical criticism, and technology in communication. Students select their electives with the support and approval of their academic advisor. In addition to fulfilling their coursework requirements, students must also complete one of three options for graduation: a thesis requiring 6 credit hours of individual research and writing under the supervision of an advisor, a practicum that culminates in a capstone portfolio of work, or a comprehensive examination.
Troy University’s Hall School of Journalism and Communication offers a 30 credit-hour online Master of Science in Strategic Communication that trains students in professional communication skills across a variety of settings, gives them the skills to leverage emerging communication trends and technologies, and prepares them to develop theoretical and practical frameworks for delivering information to the public. Students must take core courses covering topics such as influence through communication, theories of strategic communication, and communication law and ethics, as well as elective courses in subjects such as strategic communication in organizational systems, media strategies and management, public relations, and contemporary issues in strategic communication. In addition to the required courses, students must take and pass a comprehensive examination at the end of their program in order to receive their degree.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Communication Studies offers a Master of Arts in Communication Management, comprised of at least 36 semester hours of graduate coursework. Students learn the foundations of communication management, communication analysis, instructional communication, effective messaging, communication theory, and quantitative and qualitative analysis of communication research. During the latter half of their program, students must take and pass a 6-hour comprehensive examination that tests their understanding of the concepts covered in the program. In addition to the exam requirement, students must complete either a 6 credit-hour master’s thesis, or a non-thesis project that involves the practical application of course concepts real-world communication situations. Regardless of whether they choose the thesis or non-thesis track, students receive support from an advisory committee that also evaluates their final research paper or project. Students who choose the non-thesis track may also use additional coursework to fulfill their project requirement upon receiving approval from their advisory committee.
Finally, the University of South Alabama in Mobile has a Master of Arts in Communication program available through its College of Arts and Sciences Communication Department. The program consists of 33 semester hours of graduate-level courses, and can be pursued in one of three areas of focus: Mass Communication, Strategic Communication, or Rhetorical Communication. Students must take core courses in communication theory, quantitative communication research methods, and foundational concepts in graduate studies in communication. After completing the core courses, students need to take at least 24 additional semester hours in communication. Once all of their core and elective courses have been completed, they then sit for a written comprehensive examination covering essential material from their graduate education. In addition to the curricular requirements and the comprehensive examination, students must also complete either a master’s thesis consisting of original research, or a Department-approved, semester-length internship that fulfills the requirements of the graduate research project, and culminates in a paper discussing their experiences.
Online Master’s in Communication Programs in Alabama
In addition to The University of Alabama and Troy University, colleges and universities outside of Alabama offer online masters in communication programs that may accept students from Alabama. Out-of-state online program options may be especially helpful for students who do not live in close proximity to a campus-based program or do not want to relocate for graduate school. This is also important for students who are not able to commute to an on-campus program for personal or professional reasons. For more information about online programs, check out our Online Master’s in Communication Programs page.
Master’s in Communication Programs in Alabama
The University of Alabama(Tuscaloosa)
Master of Arts in Communication Studies (with an Emphasis in Organizational and Interpersonal Communication, Rhetoric and Political Discourse, and Communication and Culture; Optional Interdisciplinary Focus in Critical Media Studies)
The University of Alabama at Birmingham(Birmingham)
The University of Alabama in Huntsville(Huntsville)
Master of Arts in Professional Communication (with Emphases in Social Media, User Experience, Advertising/Public Relations, Professional Writing (Technical Writing or Media Writing), Communication Studies, and Human Resources Management)
Interview with Clarke Rountree, Ph.D. - The University of Alabama in Huntsville
University of South Alabama(Mobile)