The Master of Science with a major in Communication and Information is intended for students who desire careers related to a variety of communication, information, or media fields, and those who seek a deeper understanding of the role of communication and information in organizations, media, and society. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available. Appendix A of the Graduate Handbook provides an overview of the steps in the process of earning the MS degree.
The MS program combines a cross-disciplinary core in theory and methods with a concentrated set of courses in a concentration area and elective courses. Both the thesis and non-thesis options require a minimum of 34 hours of approved graduate work. A minimum of 23 hours must be at 500 or above. Up to nine hours of graduate credit may be accepted for transfer into the program, but these hours are subject to approval by the program adviser and the associate dean. Students may be required to take up to 18 hours of pre-requisite courses. Full-time students with minimal pre-requisite or transfer credits are typically able to finish the degree in three to four semesters. See Appendix B of the Graduate Handbook for Program Planning Guides for the Master of Science in Communication and Information.
Core (7 hours). To be taken during the first two semesters of the student’s program, except with the written approval of the associate dean of the college. All students take the following two classes:
- Communication and Information 501 (Orientation, 1 hour)
- Communication and Information 540 (Theory, 3 hours)
In addition, all students must take a three-hour research course as advised for their concentration. Select one of the following research courses
- Advertising 530 (note that Statistics 531 is a pre-requisite for this course)
- Communication Studies 505
- Information Sciences 540
- Journalism and Electronic Media 512
Concentration (15 hours). At least 6 hours of the concentration must be at the 500 level or above. Concentrations are typically housed within one of the academic units. Students may also construct their own coherent set of courses for a concentration with the approval of the associate dean. Following are the primary concentration areas:
- Advertising (either thesis or project)
- Communication Studies (usually thesis, but may be project in rare cases)
- Journalism and Electronic Media – Research Track (thesis option)
- Journalism and Electronic Media – Professional Track (project option)
- Public Relations (either thesis or project)
Approved Electives (6-9 hours) Six hours of electives for students in the thesis option, or 9 hours of elective for students in the non-thesis option.
Thesis or Project (3-6 hours)
- Six hours of thesis work – typically on original research that contributes to the academic body of knowledge
- Three hours for a project – typically involves applied research and/or the application of academic principles to solving an organizational/industry problem
All students must take courses from at least two of the schools in the College of Communication and Information.
Up to 18 additional pre-requisite/co-requisite hours may be required for students who do not have academic prerequisites.
Students interested in subsequent entry into a doctoral program should pursue the thesis option and to take additional courses in communication theory and research, subject to adviser’s approval. After completion of the formal program of coursework and research for the thesis option, the student must pass an oral examination conducted by his/her program committee.
Students interested in pursuing careers as communication and information practitioners are advised to complete a project. This non-thesis option requires an oral defense of the project.
There is no full-time residency requirement for completion of the master’s degree.
Courses taken at another institution may be considered for transfer into the MS program as determined by the student’s committee and approved by the University Registrar’s Office. (See “Transfer Credits” in the Graduate Catalog for limitations on transfer credit.)
To be transferred into a master’s program at UT, a course must:
- Be taken for graduate credit.
- Carry a grade of B or better.
- Be part of a graduate program in which the student had a B average.
- Not have been used for a previous degree.
- Be approved by the student’s committee and the University Registrar’s Office on the Admission to Candidacy form.
Courses transferred to any graduate program will not affect the minimum residence requirements for the program, nor will they be counted in determining the student’s grade-point average. A maximum of 9 hours may be transferred. Transferred courses must have been completed within the six-year period prior to completion of the MS degree.
Time limit for completeing the MS degree
Candidates for the MS degree have six calendar years from the time of enrollment to complete the degree. Students who change their academic unit during the six-year period may be granted an extension after review and approval by the dean of the Graduate School in the Office of Graduate Student Services. In any event, courses used toward a master’s degree must have been taken within six calendar years of graduation.