May 22, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2013 - 2014 
Graduate Catalog 2013 - 2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication, MACTM

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School of Communication

Music and Communication 233
(216) 687-4630

Dr. George Ray, School of Communication Director
Gary Pettey, Graduate Program Director

Areas of Study

Communication Technology
Interpersonal Communication
Mass Communication
Organizational Communication

Purpose, Objectives, and Career Information

The master’s degree program provides graduate education in communication theory and methodology for students who seek to: 1) apply communication strategies to work-related problems and 2) ultimately pursue doctoral studies in communication. The program is directed primarily toward the development of communication scholars and specialists, i.e., individuals who are able to apply communication theory and methodology to the analysis and solution of a variety of communication problems. The program emphasizes the ability to synthesize and interpret research in socially useful ways while also allowing for specialization in conducting research.

Communication techniques and problem-solving strategies are incorporated into this program to provide an effective background for individuals in careers such as corporate media or training, journalism, organizational communication consulting, promotional communication, and campaigning. Business or management personnel who need experience in communication problem solving will also find the program useful. Recent graduates of the program are employed in such diverse fields as advertising/public relations research, broadcast programming, corporate research, government, personnel/administration, and retailing. Others have continued with doctoral studies at major U.S. universities.

The key words “applied theory and methodology” emphasize that students are expected to utilize their education in the pursuit of their individual career objectives. For most students this occurs when they conduct a master’s thesis or alternative project.

Communication Research

Communication research involves the scientific study of communication in order to help individuals and institutions meet the changing needs of today’s society. The members of the department faculty have published hundreds of articles and book chapters, more than twenty books, and have received many grants and Fulbright Fellowships. Areas of expertise include communication technologies, corporate communication, conflict management, health communication, and media audience analysis.

Current faculty information can be located on the Cleveland State University Faculty Profile page.

A national sample survey of communication faculty has given a strong positive evaluation of the Cleveland State University Master’s degree program in Applied Communication Theory and Methodology. Asked to indicate the best master’s program in communication in the United States among universities not offering the Ph.D. degree, faculty across the country rated the Cleveland State program the best. These findings were presented at the 2001 annual convention of the International Communication Association.

Graduate students are encouraged to work as research interns with faculty. Students also are encouraged to present their work at professional conventions and to coauthor papers for both scholarly and trade publications. Recent research projects involving graduate students include:

  • The diffusion and use of new communication technologies,
  • Mass media and interpersonal influences on career aspirations of teenagers,
  • Bullying behavior in the workplace,
  • Accounts of unexpected events in organizations,
  • Media effect on political beliefs,
  • Advertising influences on consumers cognitions,
  • How TV violence affects ethnic and racial stereotypes,
  • Effects of community characteristics on newspaper reporting styles,
  • Use of Web sites for community integration, and
  • Communication deficiencies in interpersonal and organizational contexts

Graduate students also work at the Communication Research Center on survey projects for clients that include regional and national marketing/ research agencies.

Financial Assistance

Research and teaching assistantships are available. Assistantships are awarded based on merit as reflected in undergraduate records and letters of recommendation, as well as financial need. Graduate assistants must maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average. Receipt of more than one grade below a “B” also warrants revocation of an assistantship. Graduate assistantships are awarded starting in April until all positions are filled.

Admission Information

Applicants for admission to the master’s program in Applied Communication Theory and Methodology must:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Have a cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of at least 2.75.
  3. Submit the results of either the Miller Analogies Test or the Graduate Record Examination.

Students with an undergraduate GPA of 4.0 are exempted from this requirement.

An undergraduate major in communication is not required for admission consideration. However, applicants without such a degree may be required to make up deficiencies either before being admitted or during the first semester of enrollment. No graduate credit is granted for making up deficiencies.

Applicants are screened by the Department Graduate Committee, which makes its decision based on:

  1. The undergraduate record.
  2. The career aspirations of the applicant.
  3. A statement from the applicant regarding the expected benefits to be derived from the program.
  4. Performance on the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test.
  5. Two or more letters of recommendation.

Students who enroll in the program should be interested in relating course work to career objectives, and to solving communication problems. Students may enter the program in fall or spring semester.

Apply Now:


The program requires the completion of 32 or 38 credits, depending on exit option (see descriptions below), including at least 24 required communication course credits as follows:

Core Requirements (8 credits)

Students should consult with their advisor to determine when courses should be taken. The following are required core courses for all students seeking the master’s degree:

Communication Theory (8 credits)

Research Methods (4 credits)

Application Courses (4 credits)


(4 or 12 credits, depending on exit option)

All other graduate-level communication courses are electives. Courses in other departments may be taken in lieu of these courses, with the graduate program director’s approval. Specific elective needs and interests of students will determine how many electives are completed outside of the school.

Exit Options:

Students have four exit options: thesis, project, collaborative research, and comprehensive examination. For the thesis option, students take four credit hours of electives and four credits of thesis. For the project option, students take four credit hours of electives and four credits of project. For the collaborative research exit option, students take four credit hours of electives and the four-credit hour collaborative research course. For the comprehensive examination option, students take twelve hours of electives and a two-credit examination.  

Degree Requirements

Successful completion of the Master of Applied Communication Theory and Methodology degree program requires the following

  1. Successful completion of a minimum of 32 or 38 credit hours, depending on the exit option, which may include a maximum of eight hours of transfer credit.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 20 credit hours in communication courses at Cleveland State University as a graduate student, not including collaborative research, comprehensive examination, project, or thesis credits (COM 689 , COM 697 , COM 698  or  COM 699 .
  3. Completion of a program of study approved by the Graduate Committee in Communicationand the student’s masters committee.
  4. A minimum 3.0 grade-point average in all courses taken for the degree.
  5. Students have four options for the completion of the degree following course work: a thesis,a project, collaborative research, or a comprehensive examination.
    1. Thesis students must submit a thesis and present an oral defense of their research. A maximum of four credit hours for thesis research (COM 699 ) may contribute to the 32-credit total.
    2. Project students must submit a project report and orally defend the report. A maximum of four credit hours for the project (COM 698 ) may contribute to the 32-credit total.
    3. Students must successfully complete the Collaborative Research Project (COM 689 ). A maximum of four credit hours may contribute to the 32-credit total.
    4. Non-thesis/non-project/non collaborative research students must complete eight additional credit hours of course work (for a total of 36 hours), and pass a comprehensive examination (COM 697 , two credit hours).
  6. Students must present a bound copy of the thesis or project to each member of the committee and to the School of Communication Graduate Office.
  7. Requirements for the degree must be met within six calendar years of the student’s admission to the program.

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