May 22, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2023 - 2024 
Graduate Catalog 2023 - 2024

Applied Communication Theory and Methodology, MACTM

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School of Communication

Music and Communication 233
(216) 687-4630

Dr. Robert Whitbred, School of Communication Director
Dr. Guowei Jian, MU 247, 216.687.3995; 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

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 to the master’s program in Applied Communication Theory and Methodology must meet the minimum requirements established by the College of Graduate Studies. To apply, students must submit:

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A statement about the applicant’s career aspirations and expected benefits to be derived from the program

If the undergraduate grade point average is below 3.25, applicants must submit their score of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test.

Non-native English speakers must demonstrate English-language proficiency as described here:

Students may enter the program in fall or spring semester.

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 30 credit hours, which may include a maximum of six 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 thesis credits.
  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 two options for the completion of the degree: 
    1. Non-thesis option: completion of 30 credit hours, 12 of which are electives.
    2. Thesis option: completion of 30 credit hours, 6 of which are thesis (COM 699 ) and 6 of which are electives.
  6. Students must present a bound copy of the thesis 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.


The program requires the completion of 30 credits.

Exit Options (0 or 6 credits)

Students have two exit options: coursework and thesis.  For the coursework option, students take 12 credits of electives.  For the thesis option, students take 6 credits of thesis and 6 credits of electives. 

Coursework Exit Option

  • 12 credits of electives

Thesis Exit Option

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