Skip navigation

College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Communication Studies

Communication Studies Students

Department of Communication Studies

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Our master's degree in Communication Studies gives you a broad understanding of the ideas and contexts within the discipline while preparing you for careers in government, journalism, marketing, public relations or social work. You will have the opportunity to focus your studies on one of our three areas of faculty expertise: Culture & CommunicationInterpersonal & Family Communication or Rhetoric & Communication Ethics.

You will also synthesize your chosen area of expertise through a final capstone course, and based on your career goals, you can choose to complete your degree with a thesis paper or comprehensive exam.

 Culture and Communication

Culture and Communication uses communication as a lens to explore dimensions of human difference. Through this coursework you will investigate the intersection of culture, race, class, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, as informed by critical, feminist and queer perspectives. Examine the social and cultural forces that inform and transform:

  • our identities
  • the tribes we belong to
  • the language we use
  • our representation in public spheres
  • how we think, feel and act

Faculty who specialize in this area:

Interpersonal & Family Communication

Interpersonal and Family Communication focuses on the role of communication in defining and maintaining relationships. Coursework may explore how communication creates identity within family units, how empathy transforms relationships, and how unhealthy relationships damage one's sense of self. We will consider:

  • How does communication contribute to the development and maintenance of personal, social and institutional relationships?
  • How does communication function in our everyday lives?
  • How do our communicative choices impact the communities we belong to, including friends, families, social networks and communities at large?

Faculty who specialize in this area:

Rhetoric & Communication Ethics

Rhetoric and Communication Ethics explores how to communicate ethically and promote justice through public, organizational and personal communication. Examine the mechanisms of language we use to persuade and perform. From micro to macro, we consider:

  • the philosophies underpinning our communication
  • how power is conveyed through our communicative acts
  • how communication shapes our public and civic identities
  • the critical implications of communication across contexts, including texts, performances and institutions

Faculty who specialize in this area:


Students normally take two four-credit courses per quarter, plus additional tutorial or teaching-related credits, for a total of 30 quarter hours per year. Review our course descriptions.

Time to completion

Most full time M.A. students complete the degree in 2-3 years, and students are expected to finish within 5 years.


Students are typically offered partial funding, including merit-based scholarships.