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Communication Studies MA

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.

Communication Studies MA

Student Spotlights

Rain Verser

Congratulations to master’s student Rain Verser for hosting a successful seminar on Afrofuturism as a culmination of their MA degree!

Main Campus Degree Options


Comprehensive Exam: 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.


Thesis: for students who plan to continue their graduate education.

It requires an original research project in a specific area of interest.


Capstone Portfolio: for 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.

UA Online

This degree program option is well suited for working professionals who specialize in organizational leadership. 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.

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.


Available for University of Alabama undergraduates only, the Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) offers majors in Communication Studies the opportunity to earn both a BA and MA within five years.

Prospective Students

Application Deadlines

Main Campus: Applications for main campus admission are reviewed for both fall and spring term entry, though fall entry is encouraged. The following deadlines are strongly recommended for priority consideration:

December 1st: for applicants requesting departmental nomination for University of Alabama Graduate School fellowship opportunities

February 1st: for applicants requesting consideration for departmental assistantships

May 1st: for applicants seeking Fall term entry

November 1st: for applicants seeking Spring term entry

Distance Learning: Applications for distance learning admission are reviewed year-round for fall, spring, and summer term entry. Decisions for distance learning admission are made on a rolling basis, based on available space. The following deadlines are strongly recommended for priority consideration:

April 1st: for Summer term entry

July 1st: for Fall term entry

November 1st: for Spring term entry

How to Apply

Application Process

  • Start an online application with the Graduate School. If you are applying as a distance learner, you must check the Organizational Leadership Emphasis option on the application.
  • Pay the application fee. (The department is not able to provide application fee waivers).
  • Submit a copy of your academic resume/CV, in which you include the names of three academic references and their contact information (name, title, email address, and phone). Letters of recommendation are not required.  Please note that if you put names in the “Letters of Recommendation” section in the online application, those references will receive an automatic request to provide a letter in your behalf.
  • Provide transcripts for each institution of higher education at which you have completed 15 or more credits. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for admissions applications.
  • Provide English Language Proficiency Test Scores (for non-native speakers of English). Please refer to the International Student Admissions website for more details.
  • Provide a Statement of Purpose. Please refer to the guidelines below.
  • Note: GRE, MAT, or other standardized test scores are NOT required and not considered in program admissions decisions.

Statement of Purpose Guidelines

The statement of purpose should be a 1-2 page essay, including the following information:

  1. Why are you interested in studying communication? How have your experiences, interests, activities, and/or achievements shaped your interest in Communication Studies?
  2. Discuss how your interests align with the department’s courses and faculty. What sort of questions, ideas, challenges, or problems do you hope to explore?
  3. What will you bring to our program and your classes? What experiences and abilities will help you be a successful graduate student and contribute to our learning environment?
  4. How will the completion of an MA in Communication Studies help you achieve your goals?

In reviewing applications for the M.A. degree in Communication Studies, graduate faculty members prioritize the statement of purpose essay as the key component for making review decisions. They are evaluated for writing proficiency as well as content.

Funding Opportunities and Graduate Assistantships

The Graduate School offers various forms of financial support, which all applicants are encouraged to consider.


Graduate Council Fellowships are awarded competitively from nominations submitted by degree programs campus-wide. The Department of Communication Studies makes nominations for Graduate Council Fellowships from its pool of top candidates each year.

Priority consideration for fellowship nomination will be given to applicants whose academic credentials indicate that they will significantly benefit the program and research initiatives of the department and have submitted an application for admissions by December 1st, but no later than February 1st

Departmental Assistantships

The Department of Communication Studies has graduate Teaching Assistantships (TAs) available on a competitive basis for highly qualified applicants whose experience and academic credentials indicate that they will significantly benefit the program. Assistantships are limited and priority consideration is given to applicants who submit by February 1st, if not earlier.

After being admitted to the program applicants will be sent an assistantship application form in which they articulate their experiences and interests that position them for a teaching assistantship as well as specifying their preferences for the type of TA position. Applicants will be asked to submit a link to a video-recording (e.g., URL to digital file) of their speaking ability — a 5-7 minute speech or other oral presentation.

Assistantships include a full tuition waiver (in-state or out-of-state), student health insurance, and a stipend paid over a period of nine months. All students holding assistantships with the department must be working toward their M.A. degree, taking 6-9 credit hours per semester, and maintaining at least a B average in their coursework. Summer teaching opportunities may be available based on department needs. 

Graduate assistants are typically placed in one of three areas:

  • Assisting in the Alabama Forensic Program (make inquiries directly to Dr. Ben Pyle, Director of the Alabama Forensic Program).
  • Serving as a performance lab assistant for COM 123 Public Speaking (make inquiries directly to Dr. Adam Brooks, Director of the Public Speaking Program).
  • Assisting in the instruction of the department’s core curriculum courses:
  • COM 100 Rhetoric and Society
  • COM 101 Principles of Human Communication
  • COM 122 Critical Decision Making
  • COM 220 Interpersonal Communication

Current Students

Student Forms

MA Plan of Study: DocuSign (to submit for approval) PDF (for drafting)

COM 536: Independent Study Proposal Form: DocuSign

COM 590: Internship Proposal Form: DocuSign

Incomplete Agreement Form