About the Graduate Program

The Master of Arts in Communication Studies degree program is a 30-hour, theory-based field of study designed to promote understanding of the functions of human communication in its various forms and venues.  Students in the program learn to analyze, manage, and assess communication in oral, written, and visual forms. The program emphasizes these substantive research areas: rhetoric and political discourse, interpersonal communication, communication and culture, and organizational leadership.

Degree Program Options (main campus or online)

Main Campus students can pursue coursework across three learning areas including: interpersonal communication, rhetoric and political discourse,  and communication and culture. Main campus students choose one of following options as a capstone experience to complete the degree program.

  • Academic – Comprehensive Exam Option: for students who wish to fulfill teaching requirements in communication studies, pursue advanced degree work, or apply knowledge to relevant industry careers. It requires a comprehensive written examination to demonstrate proficient knowledge in theory, method, and emphasis areas.
  • Research – Thesis Option: for students who plan to continue their graduate education.  It requires an original research project in a specific area of interest.
  • Professional – Capstone Portfolio Optionfor students who plan to pursue professional careers.  It requires an internship or professional project and submission of a final capstone portfolio that provides a comprehensive overview of the work completed.

Distance learning (online) students complete the degree program entirely online and coursework is completed asynchronously. This degree program option is well suited for working professionals.  The 30-hour program consists of 12 hours of core theory courses, 3 hours in research methods, 12 hours in the Organizational Leadership emphasis, and a 3 hour capstone seminar course. For more information, see the UA Online website for MA in Communication Studies Online.

Doctoral Program

The C&IS doctoral program overseen by the Office for Graduate Studies provides a multidisciplinary approach to the study of communication and information sciences. M.A. candidates in Communication Studies may choose to apply for admission into the program, either on an expedited track through the master’s program or as a subsequent program after completing the M.A. For more information, see the C&IS doctoral program website.

Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) 

Available for University of Alabama undergraduates only, AMP offers majors in Communication Studies the opportunity to earn both a BA and MA within five years. For more information, see  Accelerated Masters Program.

Student Accomplishments

Current student highlights

MA students regularly present their independent research and collaborative research with faculty at regional, national, and international conferences.

Graduate student placements

MA program graduates have gone on to pursue doctoral work at such universities as the University of Iowa, the University of Georgia, Arizona State University, and the University of California-Davis, as well as MBA and law school programs. Our graduates have also pursued careers as human resources professionals, ministers, diplomats, speechwriters, government officials, nonprofit leaders, and public speaking coaches and instructors.

M.A. Program Inquiries and Faculty Contacts

For questions or inquiries about applying to the degree program, please submit this formC&IS Graduate Studies Inquiry Form.

Faculty Contacts in the Communication Studies Department:


For questions regarding the Communication Studies M. A. degree program, contact The Office for Graduate Studies, or the department chair, Dr. Margaret D’Silva.  Distance learning students specializing in Organizational Leadership should contact Dr. Nikita Harris, who coordinates the on-line emphasis for BamaByDistance.