Communication theory and research are the foundation of graduate study in the department. After being oriented to graduate study within the program, students are required to engage coursework in strategic communication theory and at least one of the two required courses in methodology, qualitative or quantitative research methods in communication, prior to engaging any other coursework in the program.
Upon completion of foundational coursework in the program, students engage focal courses in the discipline. As a discipline, communication focuses on the study and the practice of principled message negotiation within varied contexts. To ensure adequate exposure to these dimensions of communication, students complete two courses within each of the following focal areas: Principles, Practices and Contexts. Principles courses focus on the overarching philosophical, ethical, and methodological issues relevant to the study and practice of communication in multiple contexts. Practices courses focus on the strategic application of communication principles to the creation of messages within particular contexts. Contexts courses focus on the places, spaces, situations, and modalities within which principled communication has significant impact.
Completion of a Degree Capstone
To culminate studies toward the M.A. in Communication degree, students must complete a capstone experience by successfully completing either a comprehensive examination plus 5-6 additional elective course credits (students may opt to take two 1-credit courses along with Orientation (COM 8008) instead of a 3-credit elective course under the advisement of their graduate faculty mentor) or a written six-credit Master’s Thesis. The details of the capstone requirement are listed below.
Capstone Requirement Options
Non-thesis Option: After completing a minimum of 21 credits, students may apply to complete a written comprehensive examination. The examination includes questions from the following three areas: Strategic Communication Theory (COM 8100), either Qualitative Research Methods (COM 8001) or Quantitative Research Methods (COM 8002) and a third elective course. Students may be invited to orally defend their written responses in order to demonstrate sufficient competency.
Thesis Option: Students may apply for permission from the program to submit a written thesis and complete an oral defense as satisfaction of the capstone requirement. Work on the thesis will earn the equivalent of two courses (6 credits) toward the degree. The thesis project will be designed and completed under the supervision of an advisor, who must be graduate faculty in communication, and who is assisted by a committee of at least two other faculty members or professional consultants, one of whom must be from Communication. Students must have completed all required courses and a total of 21 credits and have formed a thesis committee approved by the program prior to registering for thesis credits.
In summary, the M.A. degree requires completion of at least 33 credit hours as follows:
- Required courses (10 credit hrs.):
- COM 8008 - Orientation to Graduate Study (1 hr.)
- COM 8100 - Strategic Communication Theory (3 hrs.)
- COM 8001 - Qualitative Research Methods (3 hrs.)
- COM 8002 - Quantitative Research Methods (3 hrs.)
- At l east two focal courses in each of the following areas (5-6 hours; students may opt to take two 1-credit courses along with Orientation (COM 8008) instead of a 3-credit elective course under the advisement of their graduate faculty mentor):
- Principles (focus on the overarching philosophical, ethical, and methodological issues relevant to the study and practice of communication in multiple contexts.)
- Practices (focus on the strategic application of communication principles to the creation of messages within particular contexts.)
- Contexts (focus on the places, spaces, situations, and modalities within which principled communication has significant impact.)
Completion of Degree Capstone: either a comprehensive examination plus 5-6 additional elective course credits (students may opt to take two 1-credit courses along with Orientation (COM 8008) instead of a 3-credit elective course under the advisement of their graduate faculty mentor) or a written Master’s Thesis (6 credits).
With program approval, students may substitute up to 2 graduate courses (up to 6 credits) from outside of Graduate Studies in Communication that productively complement program offerings. No more than 2 independent study courses (up to 6 credits) will be counted toward M.A. degree requirements. No more than 3 one-credit courses will be counted toward M.A. degree requirements including the required one-credit Orientation.
This school offers programs in:
Students, if approved, may register for 3 credits of internship. If the student receives a grade of “B”’ or better for the internship, these credits will count as an elective for either the M.A. in Communication or as an elective for one of the Graduate Certificates in Communication.
In order to register for an internship, students must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better and be accepted as matriculated in either the M.A. in Communication or in one of the Graduate Certificates in Communication. Students must also have secured an internship with an approved organization and have a faculty internship advisor. In order to register, students must complete the application for internship credit, available on line at www.communication.villanova.edu/grad
The form must be submitted to the Graduate Secretary for approval by the Graduate Director. The faculty internship advisor must be a Communication Graduate faculty member who agrees to supervise a semester long project which the student completes as part of their internship experience. The Graduate Director can also serve as the internship advisor. Normally, students complete a project that will further their career or academic goals. Examples include an e-portfolio, a director’s tape, or a research paper related to the on the job experiences. Students should consult with the Graduate Director or with their internship faculty advisor for further guidance with the required project.
The internship is a graded course. The Graduate Director, after securing the evaluation of the student by their internship supervisor, and after receiving a grade on the student’s semester project, and in consultation with the student’s internship faculty advisor, will submit a grade for the internship.