Jun 20, 2018  
2011-2012 Graduate Catalog 
2011-2012 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Arts in Communication

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Department of Communication and Journalism
316 Wilson Hall
(248) 370-4120 • Fax (248) 370-4208

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S. Lily Mendoza
315 Wilson Hall
(248) 370-2685


Program description

The Master of Arts Degree in communication provides intellectual grounding in communication theory and research methods, and specialization in one of three areas of concentration offered by the department, namely:  Culture and Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and Media Studies. The program offers opportunities for those wishing to pursue a Ph.D. in communication or a related discipline. It also will be valuable for practitioners in business, education, media or non-profit organizations seeking professional enhancement.

The program is committed to a critical approach to the study of communication and recognizes the central role communication plays in the creation of productive relationships across divisions of identity, culture, and geography and in building more sustainable, equitable, and enriched communities in our increasingly globally connected world. Students will be trained in diverse methodological and epistemological approaches to the study of communication, including rhetoric, intercultural communication, cultural studies, interpersonal communication, and media studies.

Upon graduation, students will have gained a greater understanding of the impact of communication in a range of contexts; a general knowledge of research approaches in communication; and an ability to further the research, writing, and analytical skills needed in today’s world.

Admission terms and application deadlines

All application documents must be received in Graduate Admissions by the deadlines listed below.

  • July 15, 2012 for the Fall 2012 semester
  • July 15, 2013 for the Fall 2013 semester

International applicants:  International applications are reviewed for fall admission only. To ensure adequate time for review, international applications must be completed at least six months before the desired date of intended enrollment to the University. All international application materials must be submitted by May 1 for fall admission.

Special Graduate classification:  Applicants who are seeking a graduate degree or graduate certificate, but are unable to meet the deadline for filing all required application materials or credentials for graduate admission, may contact the department and request Special Graduate temporary admission. The applicant must submit an Application for Admission to Graduate Study, plus a copy of a transcript providing evidence of a bachelor’s degree awarded and any specific evidence concerning their qualifications for graduate study as required by the department. Up to 12 credits may be earned in the Special Graduate classification. Admission as a special graduate student in no way assures subsequent admission to a degree or graduate certificate program.

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all of the following university and program application documents by the published application deadlines.

University graduate application requirements
  • Application for Admission to Graduate Study        
  • Official transcripts providing evidence of an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. institution, OR a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. baccalaureate degree from a college or university of government-recognized standing.
  • Official transcripts for all post-secondary educational institutions from which the applicant earned a degree (beginning with the first baccalaureate) and for all enrollment in graduate-level coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree. International university transcripts must be evaluated by a professional credential evaluation service.
    • As part of the admission requirements, graduate programs may require official transcripts from post-secondary educational institutions from which the applicant earned an associate’s degree and all enrollment in coursework both pre- and post-bachelor’s degree.
  • Two official and original Recommendation for Graduate Admission forms.
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • International supplemental application and supporting documentation  must be submitted before international applicants can be issued the Certification of Eligibility (I-20). This certificate is required to apply for a student visa from the U.S. embassy or consulate.
Program application requirements
  • Applicants should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the major of the bachelor’s degree.
  • Two Recommendation for Graduate Admission forms, listed under University graduate application requirements, must be from faculty members familiar with the applicant’s academic work. For applicants, who have been out of school for more than 5 years, at least one recommender must be a faculty member who is able to judge the applicant’s preparation and ability to undertake graduate study. Substitutions for a faculty recommendation may include work supervisors or approved others who can comment on the applicant’s academic potential for graduate work.
  • Statement of purpose of no more than 1000 words detailing the reasons why the student is pursuing advanced study of communication and what kind of work they seek to pursue.
  • Professional resume
  • International applicants must have scores at or above the 90th percentile on the TOEFL examination.

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate study at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department.

Degree requirements

The Master of Arts in communication degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 36 graduate credits in an approved program of study as follows.

Course requirements

b. Concentration (12 credits)

Choose a minimum of 12 credits from one of the concentration options.

c. Electives (8 credits)

Select one course from each of the two non-selected concentration areas.

d. Exit requirement

In consultation with their adviser, students will elect one of three exit options—each the equivalent of the other in rigor and demand—as a requirement for completing the Master of Arts in Communication degree program:

All three completion requirements will be reviewed by a committee of three faculty members (including the faculty adviser) selected by the student. Students who fail either the comprehensive exam or their creative project or thesis defense, with the permission of their committee, may be allowed one additional opportunity to re-take the exam or defend their creative project or thesis.

1. Comprehensive Exam

The Comprehensive Exam option is appropriate for the following: students seeking to take the program as a terminal degree, those not wishing to pursue independent research, or those seeking the degree for professional enhancement. Comprehensive Exams will be adapted to reflect each individual student’s course of study and Concentration area. The exams will consist of two parts: an in-class test and a take home examination. Students will have five hours to complete the in-class test and one week to finish the take home examination. Students must have an average score of 80% to pass the comprehensive exams. 

Students electing the Comprehensive Exam option will be required to register for COM 688 in their final semester.

2. Creative Project

The Creative Project option is appropriate for students interested in production or creative work, or in pursuing further graduate work such as a Master of Fine Arts degree. This option requires the completion of a creatively driven project that proposes new ideas and advances theoretical understanding of an issue. Possible formats for this option include film/video, audio, web, or other multi-media components. Similar to traditional theses, the project must demonstrate scholarly abilities, including solid conceptualization, analysis, and writing. The project is accompanied by a written component that includes a reflective and critical commentary on the process, methods, theories, history of the project, literatures or media reviewed, and any other conceptual areas deemed necessary by the student and the student’s Project Committee. The project is defended in an oral examination. Students electing the Creative Project option will be required to register for COM 696, Creative Project Completion. 

3. Thesis

The Thesis option is appropriate for students interested in pursuing independent research, seeking to pursue further graduate work at the Ph.D. level, or interested in community college teaching. Students electing the thesis option will be required to register for COM 699 Thesis Completion. In addition, students will be required to participate in an hour long oral defense. All theses must conform to university standards (see Thesis and Dissertation ).

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for all financial aid recipients. The required types of monitoring include Time Limit, Completion Rate, Excessive Withdrawals and GPA Requirements. Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing  throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the applicable program and maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  1. Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  2. Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  3. Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  4. Going on a leave of absence
  5. Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Department requirements:   At the end of any semester, a graduate student who earns an individual course grade below a 3.0 will be reviewed by the graduate program and subject to academic warning, probation or dismissal, according to published program requirements. As work progresses, the following may be grounds for dismissal from the program:

  • One grade below 2.5 
  • Two grades below 3.0

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Plan of study

All accepted applicants, in consultation with their assigned faculty program adviser, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be approved by the faculty program adviser and submitted to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.

Master’s and graduate certificate students must submit a department-approved plan of study by the end of their first semester of graduate coursework. Doctoral students must submit an approved plan of study prior to completion of the first year of coursework.

Graduate assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships are competitively awarded each academic semester to full-time students, based on GPA, GRE scores, evidence of research and recommendation letters. Assistantships include a stipend and a tuition reduction of 8 credits per fall and winter semesters. In return, graduate assistants work up to 20 hours per week assisting one or more faculty members in their research efforts.

Eligible applicants should submit a completed Graduate Assistantship Interest Form available at www.oakland.edu/gradstudy.



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