Sep 23, 2020  
2013-2014 Graduate Bulletin 
2013-2014 Graduate Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Professional Communication (M.A.)

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Purdue University
Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department of Communication
College of Arts and Sciences
Marcia D. Dixson, Chair
Steven A. Carr, Graduate Program Director
260-481-6825 ~ Neff Hall 230

The master’s program in professional communication serves students seeking to advance their education beyond an undergraduate degree. The master’s program can help you achieve your goals, whether you are looking to enhance your career in broadcasting, business, education, new media, or social services; or if you are preparing to enter a Ph.D. program.

Our program emphasizes three areas of specialization:

  • Interpersonal and Organizational Communication Theory
  • Media Criticism, History, and Theory
  • Rhetorical Criticism and Theory

The program meets the needs of students who work full time. During fall and spring, most graduate courses are scheduled once a week in the evening. During summer, an additional course is offered.  Students can take one class a semester, or go full time and complete the program in less than two years.

Degree Requirements

The curriculum consists of 36 credits in approved courses, a synthesis paper, and a written comprehensive examination. Students who maintain a 4.0 GPA and who have an academic paper competitively accepted either for publication or for presentation at an academic conference may be exempted from taking the comprehensive examination. An advising committee will consider an exemption when a student: (1) has achieved A’s in all graduate courses; (2) has the synthesis paper approved by the deadline for that semester; and (3) either has a single-authored competitive paper presented at a regional or national scholarly meeting, or a single-authored competitive paper published in a regional or national scholarly journal.

In certain specialized situations, the Graduate Program Director may designate an M.S. instead of an M.A. degree.  Unless approved by the Graduate Program Director, all students will earn an M.A. in Professional Communication.  Contact the Director for further details.

Non-Degree Seeking Post-Baccalaureate

If you’ve already earned an undergraduate degree, you can apply to take up to twelve (12) credits as a non-degree seeking post-baccalaureate student. If you are a non-degree-seeking post-baccalaureate student, you are not admitted to the graduate program. You will not be eligible for financial aid, nor for assistantships. However, you can re-apply to the program as a degree-seeking candidate within the same semester that you begin as a non-degree seeking student. If you are admitted as a degree-seeking student, you can apply up to twelve (12) credits taken as a non-degree-seeking student to your graduate degree.

Teaching Assistantships

A limited number of teaching assistantships are available and  provide tuition reduction and a stipend. The assistantship normally requires teaching two lower-level sections. All recipients must be enrolled in two graduate courses during each of the regular semesters of the academic year. See for details.

Communication Methods Courses (3 credits)

Theory Core Courses (9 credits)

Specialization Courses (up to 21 credits)

Cognate Studies (no more than four approved courses or 12 credits)

You may apply to count up to four courses for 12 credits toward your specialization area, selected, with the approval of your advisor or advising committee, from graduate-level courses in communication or other disciplines. Undergraduate-level coursework will not count toward cognate studies, even if you completed this coursework while seeking another graduate degree.

Total (36 Credits)

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