The Master of Arts 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 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
Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the semester deadlines listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to departments for admission review.
All applicants to this program are admitted for the fall semester only. The application deadlines are:
- February 15 (early), April 15 (regular) and July 15 (late) for fall semester
- International students: May 1 for fall semester
To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:
- Additional department application requirements
- Applicants should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher in the major of the bachelor’s degree.
- Requirements for recommendations:
The two Recommendation for Graduate Admission forms, listed above, 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 less than 500 and no more than 1000 words detailing the reasons why the applicant is pursuing advanced study of communication and what kind of work they seek to pursue. Statements should also explain why the Oakland University Master of Arts in Communication program is a good match for the applicant’s interests and goals.
- 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.
The Master of Arts in communication degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 36 graduate credits in an approved program of study as follows.
a. Core requirements (12 credits)
b. Elective Courses
Choose 24 credits from the following list of courses if completing the comprehensive exam exit option.
Choose 20 credits if completing another exit option.
c. Exit requirement (4 credits)
In consultation with the graduate director or another advisor, students will elect one of three exit options.
Creative project and thesis exit requirements will be reviewed by a committee of three faculty members (including the faculty advisor) 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.
- Advisor Approved Elective plus a Comprehensive Exam (4 credits).
Students electing this option will meet the graduate director to select their final course needed to complete their course work and discuss the particulars of the final competency exam. This option is appropriate for the following students; students enrolled in the program as a terminal degree, those not wishing to pursue independent research, or those seeking the degree for professional enhancement. The final competency exam will be adapted to reflect each individual student’s course of study. The exams will consist of a six hour in house exam. Students must receive a passing grade (P) on all questions to pass the exam.
- COM 6996 - Creative Project ( 4 credits)
- 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 6996 , Creative Project.
- COM 6998 - Thesis (4 credits)
- 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 6998 , Thesis. 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 ).
Note: Students need to have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher to select a Thesis or Creative Project exit option.
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 for all financial aid recipients each semester.
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 academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.
Good academic standing is a requirement for:
- Holding a Graduate Assistantship
- Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
- Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
- Going on a leave of absence
- 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 by the student 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. (See the Graduate Student Responsibility section of this catalog.)
Note: Credit granted for successful completion of a course toward an undergraduate degree program may not be repeated for a graduate degree. If a substitution is approved, the minimum number of program-approved graduate credits will be required. A Petition of Exception - OU Course Waiver/ Substitution requesting the substitution must be approved.
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.