Graduate Catalog 2003-2004
Degree: Master of Arts; Doctor of Philosophy
J. Michael Sproule, Director
The School of Communication Studies offers programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. Students receive a general background in communication with a wide range of courses taught by faculty in the School’s two departments: Journalism and Interpersonal Communication.
Prerequisites to Graduate Work
Applicants to the M.A. program must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a satisfactory academic record. Usually, applicants should have an undergraduate major or minor in one of the related communication fields; others will be considered for admission on an individual basis. Applicants without sufficient course work background may be required to complete remedial or additional course work during the M.A. course of study.
Admission to the doctoral program requires an appropriate master's degree from an accredited institution with an excellent academic record, evidence of research proficiency, and a record which otherwise indicates potential for successful advanced work.
Admission to graduate work is, in the final analysis, a composite decision, made by the admissions committee and by all of the graduate faculty members. Admission is based upon prior academic experience and achievement, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and the applicant's stated goals.
Applicants seeking admission to the graduate programs in communication studies should follow the instructions outlined in the "Graduate Admission" section of this catalog. Applications are accepted year around, but applications for admission with funding requests for the following fall should be in by February 1.
Master of Arts
The master’s degree has two emphases: organizational communication/public relations and communication research.
Plan I: Candidates must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of graduate credit and a thesis, with a maximum of four hours of thesis credit (COMS 699). Students who write a thesis must pass an oral final examination with a committee composed of two communication studies faculty members and a third member either from communication studies or another program.
Plan II: Candidates must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of graduate credit and a written comprehensive examination. Plan II approval is not granted after the student has requested and received official approval of a thesis topic. Students in Plan II have the option of completing a project in consultation with the student’s advisor and committee.
In the comprehensive examination for the master's degree, candidates are expected to show a knowledge of the discipline of communication, research methodologies, and two other courses. The four one and one-half hour questions are answered by the student during the first full week of October, March, or June, or as announced.
Candidates under both plans must complete 12 hours in the core: COMS 600, Introduction to Communication Studies; COMS 630, Social Scientific Research Methods (has a co/prerequisite of a graduate-level statistics course); and COMS 640, Humanistic Research Methods. Students should complete 9-12 additional credits in communication studies (three courses). Students who have assistantships also are required to take COMS 620, Communication Pedagogy: Preparing Future Faculty, in the first semester that it is offered after they are funded. No more than four hours of readings or internship count toward the 33 hours.
Doctor of Philosophy
The doctoral degree has two emphases: media studies and communication and culture.
The doctoral program requires the following: 74 hours of course work beyond the M.A., 16 hours of dissertation credit, 21 hours in six core classes, nine to 12 hours in three tool courses (see note below), 12 hours in an approved cognate area, and 16 hours in other COMS courses to prepare students for their area of emphasis. A maximum of four hours of readings may be counted toward the degree. Internship hours do not count toward the degree. [Note: One of the core methods courses may count as one of the three tool courses. The co/prerequisite graduate-level statistics course may also count, if deemed appropriate by the advisor and student.]
The core courses are COMS 600, Introduction to Communication Studies; COMS 610, Philosophical Foundations of Communication Theory; COMS 620 Communication Pedagogy; COMS 630, Social Scientific Research Methods (has a co/prerequisite of a graduate-level statistics course); COMS 640, Humanistic Research Methods; and COMS 695, Preparing Future Faculty. All full-time doctoral students are required to take COMS 703, Colloquium in Communication Studies (0 credit, graded S/U), which meets three times a semester.
The preliminary examination, administered at or near the completion of course work, consists of 18 to 22 hours of written examinations during a one-week time period. Although other topics may be included, the following categories must be addressed: (1) primary area of interest; (2) secondary area of interest/cognate; (3) theory; and (4) methods/tools. The advisor and the student work together to prepare the preliminary examination. The student’s committee will consist of at least four members: an advisor from communication studies, two other communication studies faculty members, and an outside member appointed by the Graduate College.
Please access graduate courses online at http://webapps.bgsu.edu/courses/search.php. Graduate courses offered by the School of Communication Studies use the prefix: COMS.