The Communication MA focuses on preparing students for a wide range of professions in academia and the private sector. The program focuses on principles, theories, and applications of communication research related to both mass and interpersonal contexts. Our program offers training in such areas as Health Communication, Strategic Communication, Public Relations, Social Media, Intercultural Communication, and Interpersonal Communication.
The MA degree program in Communication is a four-semester program for full-time students. Part-time students make take up to seven years to complete the program. Both thesis and nonthesis options are offered and both consist of a minimum of 33 semester hours of work. By the end of their first 18 hours of coursework, the student should decide whether to pursue the thesis or nonthesis option. During their first six hours of study, students are required to complete COM 6008 Proseminar in Communication and COM 5312 Introduction of Communication Research .
Total Credit Hours Required: 33 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree
Required Courses—9 Credit Hours
All required courses must be completed with a grade of B- or higher.
Research Methods Concentration—3 Credit Hours (Choose one course)
Elective Courses—18 Credit Hours
In addition to the courses listed below, special topics courses, study abroad courses, independent study, directed research, internship, and graduate-level courses taken outside the Nicholson School of Communication may be counted as restricted electives, pending approval by the program director.
Thesis Option—3 Credit Hours
The thesis option requires a minimum of 3 hours of thesis credit and a successful defense of a thesis. Students may enroll in thesis hours after they have successfully completed the three core courses and their thesis committee has been approved by the department, college, and Graduate Studies.
The student’s permanent faculty adviser will chair their committee, which also will include two additional graduate faculty members in the Nicholson School of Communication. One additional member, who is also a graduate faculty member, may be added from outside the NSC. All members of the thesis committee are selected in consultation with the student’s permanent faculty adviser.
When a topic has been selected, students, in conjunction with their permanent adviser, will develop a thesis proposal. Copies of the proposal will be routed to members to their thesis committee and a proposal hearing scheduled. All student must pass a proposal hearing as well as a final oral defense of their thesis. Students who elect to write a thesis should become familiar with the university’s requirements and deadlines for organizing and submitting the thesis.
- COM 6971 Thesis (minimum of 3 credit hours, can be taken individually)
Nonthesis Option—3 Credit Hours
Students who decide not complete a thesis may choose to complete either the comprehensive examination nonthesis option OR an applied professional project nonthesis option.
Nonthesis Option 1: Comprehensive Examination—3 Credit Hours
The nonthesis (comprehensive examination) option is a four-examination requirement that assesses students’ coursework competency. Students who choose the comprehensive examination option must take one additional elective course (three credit hours) and successfully complete the comprehensive examinations. Upon completing their 18th hour in the program, students must select a permanent advisor and form a comprehensive exam committee. The examinations will cover research methods, communication theory, and elective areas selected together by the student with his or her comprehensive examination committee. In order to fulfill the comprehensive exam requirement, the student must earn a passing grade on all exams. If a student fails to pass any of the comprehensive exam area questions, they are allowed two additional attempts to satisfy the comprehensive exam requirement. Once an exam in an area is passed, the student does not have to sit for that exam area again. Students are allowed three attempts to satisfy the comprehensive exam requirement. Students are expected to refer to the NSC Graduate Program Handbook for the comprehensive examination protocol.
- Elective 3 Credit Hours
- Comprehensive examination
Nonthesis Option 2: Applied Professional Project—3 Credit Hours
The nonthesis applied project option requires students to demonstrate their ability to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the graduate program to a problem/topic that integrates the range of communication theory, practice, and research presented throughout the program. Upon completing their 18th hours in the program, each student must select a permanent advisor and form an applied project panel. The student will work directly with a faculty adviser to develop a project and the adviser will supervise the project. The grading system for the project is Pass/No Pass. Students who receive a grade of Pass will be allowed to graduate assuming all other requirements are met.
Students who choose this nonthesis option will enroll in the semester the student completes the project:
- COM 6909 Research Report 3 Credit Hours
Full-time students in the Communication MA program pay a $16 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $8 per semester.
Students who elect the thesis option engage in independent learning through the design and implementation of original research in the thesis process. Students who pursue the comprehensive examination option experience independent learning through their individual preparation for each of four comprehensive examinations. All students engage in independent learning in every Communication core course. A research paper or project is required in each of these classes. The papers and projects provide independent learning by requiring students to design and carry out research projects and develop analytical papers, some of which are submitted to conferences and/or journals for peer review. Internships and independent studies are also common opportunities for independent learning in the Communication MA program.
For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.
Applicants should adhere to the application requirements outlined below. An application will not be reviewed for admission until it is verified as complete by the UCF College of Graduate Studies.
Meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on an evaluation of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program and faculty expertise to the applicant’s career/academic goals, and the applicant’s potential for completing the degree.
In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:
- One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
- Résumé or Curriculum Vita
- Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
- Written statement outlining the applicant’s academic and professional goals.
- Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s potential for academic success.
The following information is required for those who wish to be considered for funding initiated by the Nicholson School of Communication, but is recommended for all applicants:
- Additional letter of recommendation (total of three)
- Resume or Curriculum Vita
|*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.
Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.
Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.
The majority of financial assistance provided by the Nicholson School of Communication graduate program is granted through assistantships. Preference will be given to applicants who complete their application for admission prior to the January 15th priority deadline. It is the applicants’ responsibility to ensure they have a complete application on file by the priority deadline. Applicants who have complete applications on file by the priority deadline will be e-mailed a separate application for assistantship. Current Communication MA degree-seeking students will also be given the opportunity to apply for assistantships at that time. Students on assistantship are paid a stipend, receive tuition support, and are eligible for health insurance. For general information regarding assistantships at UCF, refer to the Assistantships (www.students.graduate.ucf.edu/assistantships) section of the Graduate Students website.
The Nicholson School of Communication offers primarily two types of assistantships:
- Graduate Teaching Assistants are assigned to work with faculty members and assist them with their teaching responsibilities. This includes assisting with large lecture classes, grading exams, compiling information for lectures, and working with students, as instructed, to help keep a class operating smoothly.
- Graduate Teaching Associates are graduate students who, after completing eighteen hours of their graduate program of study and the required university and department training, are assigned to teach their own sections of undergraduate courses. Typically, Graduate Teaching Associates teach SPC 1608 (Fundamentals of Oral Communication) or SPC 1603 (Fundamentals of Technical Presentation).