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Degree Requirements

Key Academic Policies

Grade Requirements

Students must receive a grade of B or higher in all courses that are applied to the MA degree. Students who earn a grade lower than a B have two options:

  • They may retake the course, in which case the grade counted for the course and computed in the GPA is the average of the two grades for the course. This average grade must be a B if the course is to count toward the degree. Students may re-take a course only once.
  • Or, they may request permission to substitute a different course for the one in which a grade lower than a B was earned. Such students must prepare a written request for the substitution explaining what course they wish to substitute and why the course is an appropriate, relevant substitute. The request is submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Lisa Keränen, whose decision about whether to approve the substitution is final.

This policy concerning minimum grades in courses supersedes the policy of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which is less stringent.

Comprehensive Examinations

All students must pass a comprehensive examination at the end of the program. For students defending theses, the oral defense plus an article critique are required.

Assignment of Advisors

Students are assigned a temporary faculty advisor at the time they are admitted to the MA program. This advisor assists with the initial selection of courses and entrée into the program. Students are encouraged to select someone else as their advisor if another faculty member is better able to help them achieve their academic and professional goals. Students may change advisors at any time during their program by notifying the Director of Graduate Studies via email.

Course Transfers

A maximum of twelve hours of relevant graduate coursework may be transferred from another university. Students cannot receive credit for transferred courses in which less than a B grade was earned. Coursework transferred from another university must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and recorded on the Request for Transfer of Credit form, which may be downloaded here or is available from the Graduate School.

Time Limits for Completion of Degree

Students have seven years from the date of the beginning of their coursework to complete all requirements for the MA in Communication. Students who do not believe they will be able to complete the degree within the seven-year period must write a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies in Communication requesting that they petition the Graduate School for an extension. The letter should clearly set forth the reasons for taking longer than seven years to complete the degree and should indicate how long an extension on the limit is required. Students may not request an extension longer than one year. Students who do not register for three consecutive terms must be re-admitted to the program. Re-admission requires that students submit Part I of the graduate admission form to the Communication Department; they may also be required to resubmit the application fee. Those who have not been active for more than four years must complete the full application process.