Graduate Program FAQ

How much is the program expected to cost?

The university estimate for all costs including living expenses, tuition and food for a full year is between $25,000 and $30,000. (See here for the current estimated costs.)

What kind of financial aid is possible?

Financial aid is available through the school in the form of scholarships and assistantships, based on financial need and availability. You may apply for financial aid after you have been accepted into the program.  Some financial aid is also available from the university (Click here for information on scholarships available.)

What kinds of assistantships are available?

First year assistantships range from 5 to 20 hours per week within the department. It is generally suggested that first-year graduate students only work 10 hours per week so they have adequate time to focus on their course of study.

Can I specialize in a program?

Specialized topical areas include literature and philosophy of communications; communications history and historical research methods; media, religion, and family; international media and communications; communications law and legal research methods; media ethics; persuasion and public opinion; critical approaches to media; mass communications and gender; and media and current societal issues. Generally a student will specialize in a particular area by completing research in that area under the guidance of a faculty member.

What do the comprehensive exams include?

After completion of the core course work, all students must pass a written comprehensive examination demonstrating their competence as masters of the field by synthesizing and explaining what they have learned in the areas of theory, research, and application. Comprehensive examinations are offered at the end of fall semester or the beginning of winter semester. Students taking the comprehensive exam should be in their third semester or have completed all required courses and most of their electives.

How quickly can I finish this program?

The master’s degree requires 27 semester hours of approved course work plus a six-hour thesis or project. The course is designed to take the average student two years to complete. Students are expected to make progress throughout their program and are evaluated based on their progress. If no progress is made in two successive semesters, the student can be dropped from the program by the school.

How does the thesis process work and are there different types of thesis projects available?

A student may choose to write a traditional master’s thesis or work on a professional project. Both assignments will include substantial research and a written report. A thesis or project prospectus must be approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the school graduate coordinator by the end of the third full semester of the program. This involves preparation of the prospectus by the student and its presentation, and defense before the students thesis committee.

What score do I need on the GRE to be accepted?

There are no set GRE scores required for entrance into the master’s program. However as a general rule, a combined score of at least 297 on the verbal and quantitative parts is required for consideration, with a minimum score of 153 on the verbal and 4.5 on the writing portion.

What TOEFL scores are needed for admissions to the program?

A student must have a minimum score of 237 on the computer based TOEFL exam and a minimum score of 580 on the paper based exam to be considered for admittance into the program. Students taking the TOEFL iBT must have a total score of 85 with a minimum of 22 on the speaking section and 21 on the listening, reading, and writing sections. In addition to this, students taking the IELTS test must have an overall band score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.0 in each module.

What are the admissions requirements?

Students applying to the program should have completed a degree at a traditional four-year institution. In addition to this they should have taken the GRE, include at least three letters of recommendation from outside sources that may include faculty or business administrators, and have received an ecclesiastical endorsement from their religious leader.

How many students are currently in the program?

There are approximately 30-40 students in the master’s of mass communications program.

What kind of class structure can I expect?

Classes are usually no larger than 15 students.

What pre-requisites are required?

All students should have completed a basic course in statistics with a grade of B- or higher before registering in Communications 611. The school recommends Statistics 105 or 221.

Are there any extra classes required for students who do not have a communications undergraduate degree?

Students without an undergraduate degree in communications may be required to complete up to 12 hours in prerequisite undergraduate courses. Such courses will be determined in consultation with the graduate coordinator and do not apply to the 31-hour graduate requirement. These courses will generally be selected based on the student’s interests in specific areas in mass communication.

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