Master of Arts in Communication Studies

This is an archived copy of the 2021-2022 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

The online graduate program in Communication Studies focuses on advanced topics in the field, including:

  • interpersonal and family communication
  • intercultural communication
  • health communication
  • computer mediated communication
  • risk communication
  • persuasion

These areas of study exemplify common topics in communication research. The Department of Communication Studies offers a useful and innovative offering of courses in its online master's degree.

This program is designed for aspiring doctoral students in communication studies as well as professionals wishing to advance their careers. It is also an attractive option for graduate students in Psychology, Education, Sociology, Criminal Justice and other disciplines who are searching for a complementary minor. For those who aspire to a PhD in other fields, an MA emphasizing interpersonal communication could be a useful stepping stone.

Applications to the online Communication Studies Master’s Program are reviewed on a rolling basis, with priority application deadlines of: March 1st for the fall semester; October 1st for the spring semester.  We will accept and continue to review applications until all program slots are filled.  Students seeking admission to the graduate program in Communication Studies must submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Graduate Application:  The Graduate Application is an institutional application required by SHSU. Students must provide biographical and educational information and information relevant to determining State of Texas residency.
  2. Application fee: An application fee is required for all applications to graduate programs at SHSU.
  3. Transcripts documenting all prior degrees.*
  4. Two letters of recommendation that discuss the applicant’s suitability for graduate study.
  5. A letter of interest that summarizes the applicant’s educational and professional goals, how a Communication Studies degree or certificate will help the applicant obtain his/her professional goals, and how the applicant’s personal and professional experiences have prepared him/her for our graduate program.
  6. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is expected. Applicants who do not possess a graduate degree and have an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 may submit additional information as evidence of their academic and professional potential. Additional information may include, but is not limited to: GRE scores, a narrative that provides an explanation for the applicant’s low GPA and why the GPA is not indicative of the applicant’s academic and professional potential, etc.
  7. A resume'.

*Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts for review by the admissions committee. However, under university policy, admission decisions are contingent upon receipt of official transcripts.

Applicants must submit all application materials directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions by the relevant deadline. A holistic review of each applicant’s file will then be completed, with admission to the MA in Communication Studies program awarded on a competitive basis.

Note: Incomplete applications are held in the Graduate Admissions until they are complete. If you have any questions about your admission file, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Students enrolled in the Master’s Program in Communication Studies must complete 36 hours of coursework. (Please note that there is, currently, no thesis option available in the program.)

Of these hours, at least 30 must be completed within the Department of Communication Studies at Sam Houston State University.

All graduate students are required to take a written comprehensive examination over all coursework taken for the MA degree. Students must be enrolled in the University the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive exam is administered.

The four required courses for the M.A. program may not be offered every academic year.  These courses are COMS 5331 Comm Studies Methods & Resrch, COMS 5332 Statistical Methods For CommCOMS 5335 Advanced Communication Theory, and COMS 5360 Adv Interpersonal Communicatn.  It is important, therefore, that when students notice any one of these courses being offered in a given semester, they should register to take the course during that semester.  Otherwise, the student may not be able to graduate on time, even if he or she takes a full load every semester because he or she is lacking a core course. Students should contact the Graduate Director if they need academic advisement.

Master of Arts in Communication Studies
Required courses
COMS 5331Comm Studies Methods & Resrch3
COMS 5332Statistical Methods For Comm3
COMS 5360Adv Interpersonal Communicatn3
COMS 5335Advanced Communication Theory3
Additional Courses
Take additional 24 hours COMS electives from graduate course list24
Total Hours36

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The MA in Communication Studies is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Advanced communication skills.
  • Research and writing skills.
  • Statistical and probabilistic analysis.
  • Critical thinking skills.