May 22, 2022  
Graduate Catalog 2018 - 2019 
Graduate Catalog 2018 - 2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication, MACTM

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School of Communication

Music and Communication 233
(216) 687-4630

Dr. Gary Pettey, School of Communication Director
Dr. Anup Kumar, MU 251, 216-687-4642; 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 in professional settings and/or 2) 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 advanced research 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 various research areas. The key words “applied theory and methodology” emphasize that students are expected to utilize their education in the pursuit of their individual career objectives.

Communication techniques and problem-solving strategies are incorporated into this program to provide an effective background for individuals in careers such as communication campaigns media or communication consulting, media analysis, and organizational communication. 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 campaigns, marketing analysis, broadcast programming and sales, government, non-profit organizations, personnel/administration, and content marketing. Others have continued with doctoral studies at major U.S. universities.

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, media analytics, strategic communication, conflict management, health communication, and media audience analysis.

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

The graduate program in Communication is focused on research, owing to the strong record of research productivity maintained by the faculty of the School of Communication.  In 2013, the School of Communication ranked eighth in the  United States in research productivity among graduate programs in Communication in which the highest degree awarded was the master’s degree (2013;; articles per faculty).

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:

  • Cognitive and emotional responses to media content and form,
  • 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 gender, ethnic, and racial stereotypes,
  • Effects of community characteristics on newspaper reporting styles,
  • Credibility ratings of online news content, and
  • Communication deficiencies in interpersonal and organizational contexts

Graduate students also work at the Communication Research Center or Media Engagement and Digital Interaction Center on research 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.

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The program requires the completion of 33 credits, including at least the 15 communication course credits as follows:

Core Requirements (at least 15 credits)

Core Courses (6 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: 

Electives (15-18 credits, depending on exit option)

All other graduate-level communication courses are electives including additional theory and methods courses. 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 (3-6 credits)

Students have four exit options: thesis, project, collaborative research, and comprehensive examination. For the thesis option, students take twelve credit hours of electives and six credits of thesis. For the collaborative research project, comprehensive examination, and research project, students take fifteen hours of electives and three hours of their chosen exit option.

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 33 credit hours, which may include a maximum of eight hours of transfer credit.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 18 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 Communication and 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 six credit hours for thesis research (COM 699 ) may contribute to the 33-credit total.

    2. Project students must submit a project report and orally defend the report. A maximum of three credit hours for the project (COM 698 ) may contribute to the 33-credit total.

    3. Students must successfully complete the Collaborative Research Project (COM 689 ). A maximum of three credit hours may contribute to the 33-credit total.

    4. Students must successfully complete the Comprehensive examination (COM 697 ). A maximum of three credit hours may contribute to the 33-credit total.

  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.

Requirements for the degree must be met within six calendar years of the student’s admission to the program.

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