Communications M.S.

Major Adviser: Cory Young, Chair of Graduate Program, youngc@ithaca.edu

The master of science degree program in the Roy H. Park School of Communications prepares graduates to pursue professional careers as corporate communication specialists and managers. Alumni of the program are invited to our classes to share their career experiences as communication managers in business, education, and human services; marketing media and public relations specialists; trainers; independent consultants and media producers; and communication analysts. Students from all disciplines and professions are encouraged to apply to the communications program.

The Roy H. Park School of Communications is housed in an attractive facility that includes an interactive media and website development lab, computer-based research and online collaboration facilities, and a graduate student computer lab equipped with both Mac and PC computers with current versions of software. These facilities, plus a faculty actively engaged in current research and practice, enable students to pursue interests in many areas of corporate and organizational communication, including but not limited to:

  • employee and stakeholder communication
  • crisis communication
  • promotional campaigns
  • communication consulting and management
  • organizational culture and diversity
  • corporate communication 

In addition to these courses, contemporary topics courses offer opportunities to study such areas as public relations and political campaign communication, among others. 

 Application  Process

To apply to the graduate program, click here. Application files will be considered on an ongoing basis, with preference given to those applications received by February 15 for fall semester admission and December 1 for spring semester admission.

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, preferably in communications, but our program welcomes applications from disciplines other than communications (i.e.: business, education, social sciences). International students must have earned a four year baccalaureate degree. Three year baccalaureate degrees must be supplemented by a master’s degree or other professional training programs.
  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 out of 4.0, or higher. A cumulative grade point average below 3.0 requires provisional (non-matriculated) admission status.
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Minimum of two professional or academic letters of recommendation; four are required for graduate assistantships.
  • Graduate Record Examination scores, if available. This is recommended, but not required for admission.
  • Personal interview, either in-person, over the phone, or through video conference (Skype, Viber, FaceTime, etc.)

International students


In addition to the above requirements, international students must demonstrate command of English (written and oral) evidenced by the TOEFL OR IELTS score.  

Minimum scores for TOEFL are: 550 or higher on the paper version, 213 on the computer version, or 80 or higher on the iBT on the three components of the examination are considered satisfactory. The three components are listening comprehension, structure and written expression, and vocabulary and reading comprehension. Minimum score for the IELTS is 6.0.

You may submit course-by-course credential evaluation sent directly by an accredited international credential evaluation service.

Graduate Assistantships


A limited number of graduate assistantships are awarded based on the applicants’ scholastic records and areas of interest.  The deadline for applying for an assistantship is March 1.

Financial assistance consists of two parts -- a scholarship and a taxable work-related salary appointment. The scholarship is for tuition credits. Normal full time credit load for fall and spring semester is 9 -12 credits, 6 credits during the summer sessions.


The salary appointment normally requires 8-12 hours of work per week. Graduate assistants are normally assigned to work with faculty in the Department of Strategic Communication, to assist with classes, tutor students, conduct research, supervise computer labs, and work in related professional areas such as special events, web development, and publicity. Duties and responsibilities of each graduate assistant are specified by the assigned faculty member, and approved by the graduate chair.


A thesis fellowship may be awarded to one matriculated graduate student who is already enrolled in the program, based on demonstrated excellence in coursework and/or potential for scholarship. The research fellowship consists of a tax-free scholarship equivalent to a graduate assistantship (without the weekly work requirement). Deadline for applying for this fellowship is February 15.  

Degree Requirements

Required Courses -- 24 credits

The chair of the graduate program in communications serves as the academic adviser for all students enrolled in the program. 

A minimum of 36 credits is required to complete the master’s degree program, including 24 credits of required coursework, as listed below. The remaining 12 credits may be selected, with the adviser’s approval, from the elective courses provided in the program. Courses can also be taken within other graduate programs across campus (e.g. Business) or through the IC-CU exchange program.

Degree candidates must take all courses that count toward the master of science in communications degree, whether required or elective, for a letter grade. The only exceptions are internships, which are offered only on a pass/fail basis.

 

Normally, full-time students can complete the 36-credit program in three semesters or in two semesters and two summer sessions. Applicants interested in part-time study are also invited. Regardless of whether full-time or part-time, all coursework must be completed within six years of matriculation into the program.

 

COMM 50100Designing Communication Strategies

3

COMM 50300Theoretical Foundations

3

COMM 50500Visual Design and Organizational Media

3

COMM 53000Communication Campaigns

3

COMM 53500Workplace Learning and Performance

3

COMM 64100Managing Corporate Communication and Training

3

COMM 64300Research Methods in Communication

3

COMM 68000Seminar: Theory in Practice

3

Elective Courses -- 12 credits

COMM 51000Contemporary Topics

1 to 3

and

COMM 51100Contemporary Topics

1 to 3

COMM 60500Organizational Media Production

3

COMM 61000Organizational Culture and Diversity

3

COMM 62000Communication Technology and Policy

3

COMM 63000Corporate Communication Media

3

COMM 63100Crisis Communication

3

COMM 63500E-Learning

3

COMM 63600Online Learning and Collaboration

3

COMM 65000Independent Study

1 to 3

and

COMM 65100Independent Study

1 to 3

COMM 66000Internship

1 to 6

and

COMM 66100Internship

1 to 6

COMM 69000Thesis

3

and

COMM 69100Thesis

3

NOTE:  COMM 60500, COMM 62000, COMM 63000, COMM 63500, and COMM 63600 are offered irregularly.

Thesis Option

The thesis option is designed for students who demonstrate a mastery of the skills, tools, and concepts needed to pursue theoretical or applied inquiry and make an original contribution to knowledge in the field of communications.

Students must receive approval from the communications graduate committee and work with their program adviser to plan an appropriate course and credit schedule.  Upon approval by the graduate committee, the student selects, with the chair’s approval, a thesis adviser and two additional committee members, who then evaluate the thesis proposal. An oral defense of the thesis is required.

Students enrolled in the thesis option who have completed all coursework except the thesis will be required to enroll in at least 1 credit of thesis each semester until they finish their degree. For international students this schedule will be reflected in the immigration paperwork.

The thesis process is described in greater detail in the Graduate Program in Communications Thesis Guidelines, available from the graduate program chair.


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