Master of Arts in Communication

The Master of Arts in Communication offers advanced study of Communication with a combination of theoretical and applied courses. After taking a standard core that covers the theoretical, ethical, and methodological nuances of the discipline, students take a variety of electives that engage them in real-life communication issues, enable them to develop usable communication skills, and help them build solid portfolios that assist them is pursuing career goals, whether those goals include pursuing a doctorate or immediately entering the workforce.  Most students complete either a thesis or a community project depending on what their career aspirations and interests might be.

Master of Arts Curriculum

Foundations: (Required of all students)
506 Ethical Problems in Communication
601 Communication Pro-Seminar (1 hour)
605 Communication Theory & Practice
616 Qualitative Communication Research
617 Quantitative Methods in Communication

13 hours

Area 1: Interactional Communication (One course)
580 Interpersonal Communication
590 Health Communication
603 Communication Pedagogy
620 Organizational Communication
625 Personality and Communication
650 Corporate Communication
675 Risk Communication

3 hours

Area 2: Integrated Communication (One course)
520 Computer-Mediated Communication
653 Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns
654 Public Relations and Crisis Management
660 Selected Topics in Mass Media

3 hours

Area 3: Social Advocacy (One course)
540 Public Communication Campaigns
555 Persuasive Movements
610 Problems of Public Discourse
630 Communication and Multiculturalism
640 Communication in Social Service
651 Conflict Management

3 hours

Electives: Students may concentrate in an area by taking additional area courses as electives. Other elective courses are listed below. Three hours of Practicum or Directed Reading may be taken beyond the courses taken for a non-thesis option. Three hours may be outside of Communication Department chosen with consent of Advisor. Additional electives may be outside of Communication with consent of Program Director.

9 hours

Thesis (includes oral defense of thesis)
View Sample Theses
698 Thesis
or Non-Thesis Option 600 Practicum
5xx or 6xx elective

6 hours


37 hours

Six hours of 500-level Communication courses taken as an undergraduate may be accepted for graduate credit. Also, a student may transfer up to six hours for graduate credit from another institution pending approval of the courses.

Non-thesis option:Students electing a non-thesis option will complete the 37 hours specified above, with two differences. Students who select the non-thesis option will substitute one 600-level practicum and one elective, for the six thesis hours. The non-thesis option also will include a Comprehensive Examination administered by Department Faculty.

Experiential component
The Master of Arts does not require an experiential component. However, students may choose to do a practicum in a private business, community organization or government agency that deals with communication. Students may complete the practicum in two ways. A student may turn current work or volunteer experience into a research project, or a student not previously affiliated with the practicum site may develop a project useful to the organization. In both cases, the student will work with a Communication Department faculty member to shape the project and will write a formal paper dealing with the project. Students who choose the practicum will be applying knowledge acquired in Communication coursework directly to area needs, thus serving the community and helping to build stronger university/community ties.

COMM 506 Ethical Problems in Communication
Examines the moral and ethical problems posed by communication practices. Topics include case studies in interpersonal communication, journalism, public relations, and advertising. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.

COMM 510 Special Topics in Communication Studies
Advanced study in specific areas of Communication Studies. Note: May be repeated under different subtitles.

COMM 513 History of Communication
Examination of the history of communication both as a set of practices and as a subject of academic inquiry. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.

COMM 520 Computer-Mediated Communication
Conceptual analysis and practical use of computer networks with an emphasis on the social and cultural dimensions of this type of human communication. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.

COMM 530 Science Communication
The course examines the conceptual foundations and practices of science communication. It examines the institutional and intellectual contexts of science communication as well as the scientific constraints on science communication.

COMM 555 Persuasive Movements
Seminar focuses upon the role of persuasion and rhetoric in the formation and lifespan of social movements.

COMM 565 Special Topics in Communication Service Learning

COMM 580 Interpersonal Communication
Study of communication in everyday life, including casual conversation and interaction among acquaintances.

COMM 590 Health Communication
Studies the nature, function, and importance of communication in the delivery of health care, and/or medical knowledge.

COMM 600 Practicum
Practical work in speech. Note: Pass/Fail grading.

COMM 601 Professional Seminar in Communication
Overview of the communication discipline and introduction to the academic study of communication.

COMM 603 Communication Pedagogy
An introduction to teaching college-level in Communication. Applies various theories of communication to nature of interactions between students and teachers.

COMM 605 Communication Theory & Practice
Seminar studies theories and empirical research in persuasion, social interaction, and group decision-making and offers applied problems that require public presentations by seminar participants.

COMM 610 Problems of Public Discourse
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Surveys the chief theories and disputes about public discourse, public knowledge, and decision-making.

COMM 616 Qualitative Communication Research
Instruction in the practical issues and conceptual debates in qualitative research in the field of communication. Methods includes interviewing, participant observation, unobstructive observation, historical/archival methods, narrative and ethnography.

COMM 617 Quantitative Methods in Communication
Instruction in procedures used to systematically and mathematically measure difference between groups and relationships between variables among various communication populations.

COMM 620 Organizational Communication
Theoretical and applied studies of communication within organizations and between organizations and their publics.

COMM 625 Personality and Communication
Exploration of individual differences in communication processes, such as argumentativeness, shyness, persuasiveness, and leadership.

COMM 630 Communication and Multiculturalism
Explores the influence of race, nationality, and/or gender on the communication practices of individuals and their institutions.

COMM 640 Communication in Social Service
Studies public communication campaigns, e.g., health information and policy campaigns.

COMM 650 Corporate Communication
Study of the nature, strengths, and weaknesses of empirical research in organizational communication and application of these findings to analysis, diagnosis, and remedy or communication problems in specific organizations. Focus is primarily on case studies and in-community "practicum" consulting project.

COMM 651 Conflict Management
Uses role playing and case studies in community organizations to assist students in developing the skills needed for managing conflict.

COMM 653 Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns
Study of integrated advertising, public relations, and sales promotions. Course culminates with students preparing integrated marketing plans for local clients.

COMM 654 Public Relations and Crisis Management
Examines problems of planning and implementing public relations strategies for crisis management. The organizations studied include corporations, agencies, educational and government institutions, and non-profits.

COMM 660 Selected Topics in Mass Media
Examination of topics specific to the study of mass media not covered in other courses.

COMM 670 Directed Readings in Communication
Faculty supervised readings on special topics in communication theory, research and practice.

COMM 675 Risk Communication
Examines the study of risk communication across various contexts (e.g., health, environmental). Focuses on the role of messages in shaping risk perception, evaluation, and behavior.

COMM 690 Special Topics
Examination of topics not covered in regularly-scheduled courses.

COMM 698 Thesis

Application for Admission

All candidates for admission to graduate programs must complete the online application form. A new application must be received any time a student is beginning a graduate program, transferring graduate programs, changing from non-degree to degree-seeking status, or adding a dual or certificate program to an existing degree program.

Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee of $65 is required with the application form. Your application will not be forwarded to the Department of Communication until this fee is paid.


Applicants must submit an official transcript from each college attended. All University of Louisville transcripts will automatically be submitted with the completion of an application. Transcripts must be sent directly from the school to Graduate Admissions, in order to be considered official.

Test Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for general admission to the program; however, it is required for those applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship. GRE Information can be obtained from or 1-866-473-4373.

English Proficiency

All applicants for whom English is a second language must also submit official TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 213 or higher on the computer-based test, or 550 or higher on the paper-based test for verification of English proficiency. English proficiency can also be met by submitting official IELTS scores of at least 6.5 overall band score from the academic module exam.

  • Information concerning the TOEFL exam can be obtained from or 1-877-863-3546.
  • Information concerning the IELTS exam can be obtained from
  • Students holding a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States may be exempt from this requirement.

Writing Sample

A sample of your writing that demonstrates your academic writing skill is required. There is no page limit, but usually a sample with 3 to 10 pages will be acceptable.


Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic work are required. Letters of Recommendation may be completed electronically via the online application.

Financial aid and tuition are administered centrally, so to get information about tuition this site is helpful.

To inquire into the various types of financial aid available, go to the financial aid website or to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies website and look for the Financial Support tab.

The Department itself provides qualifying students with financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships. Students are encouraged to apply for an assistantship by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies, Steve Sohn ( for details. Students are eligible to receive assistantships for two academic years. During the first year, students with assistantships typically work with a professor or two and during the second year they have the option of becoming a teaching assistant.

Nine hours is considered full-time. Twelve hours is the most any student is allowed to take in one term. Part-time students are expected to take at least six hours. The program is designed for full-time students to complete it in two years. Part-time students should complete it in three years.
Yes. The Department of Communication has an extensive online program for both undergraduate and graduate students. Not all graduate courses are taught online so students will have to complete some in residence courses to earn the M.A. degree
Students entering the program are expected to have completed undergraduate courses in research methods and statistics. Students who have not done so may be required to complete those courses prior to being accepted into the program.
Yes. The transcripts of students with degrees in areas besides Communication will be evaluated on an individual basis. Generally, students are expected to have at least fifteen undergraduate hours in Communication or related disciplines. If you do not meet the undergraduate hours requirement, you may be required to take some preparatory courses.
No. The M.A degree offers a non-thesis option. Students who choose this option will be required to take a comprehensive exam at the end of the program.
Information about tuition can be found that the Bursar's web page. Financial aid information is located at
Undergraduate students at the University of Louisville who are within six semester hours of completing the baccalaureate requirements may register in graduate courses, including those at the 600 level, with the permission of the undergraduate dean, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the instructors involved. Subsequent graduate credit can be obtained only if these courses have not been used to satisfy part of the baccalaureate requirements, and if the recommendation of the chair of the department and the approval of the graduate dean are obtained.
Yes. The university has a "provisional status" category for admission that may be appropriate in exceptional circumstances (such as someone who has been out of school for several years and needs to take a course or two before applying). The Department of Communication also will accept students in "Non-Degree" status in rare circumstances.
All graduate students are expected to make steady and satisfactory progress toward the completion of their degrees. Students who fail to enroll for a period of more than 12 months will be considered to have withdrawn from the program.
Please submit a personal statement of 1-2 pages discussing how the M.A. in Communication relates to your professional and personal goals. It may also include information on extracurricular activities, community service, awards and honors, employment, leadership positions and any other experiences or qualifications that might distinguish you from other applicants.