Feb 29, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Communication Studies

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Communication and Advocacy

Phone: (540) 568-6228
Website: http://www.jmu.edu/commstudies/ma/index.shtml

Interim Academic Unit Head
Lori Britt

Graduate Program Directors
Corey Hickerson

C. Alemán, M. Alemán, L. Britt, P. Bsumek, E. Fife, C. Hickerson, S. Mazzarella, L. Nelson, T. Whitfield

Associate Professors
T. Ball, A. Bodkin, M. Brigham, M. Broderick, L. Harvell-Bowman, K. Hobson, L. Kristiansen, S. Meganck, S. Richards, D. Schill, C. Woo

Assistant Professors
M. Davis, K. Dillard, A. Gonzalez, P. Mabrey, M. Marsh, T. Reynolds-Tylus, J. Rosier

Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admission to the graduate program in Communication and Advocacy in the School of Communication Studies, applicants must demonstrate:

  • Graduation from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Satisfactory grade point average in their undergraduate course work.
  • Proficiency in writing, research and analytical skills demonstrated through research methods coursework in communication or a related field, or a writing sample.

The School of Communication Studies requires that all prospective applicants submit the following materials:

  • Official transcripts of all colleges and universities attended
  • A written statement of educational professional goals (500 words)
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation from professors, employers, and other professionals qualified to judge the applicants ability to successfully complete a graduate program. Recommendations for those applying for Graduate Assistantships should also address the applicant’s potential for teaching.
  • A prompted essay (500-750 words)

Students may apply online to The Graduate School and apply for assistantships through the process described on the graduate program website. Applications are reviewed beginning February 15.


The School of Communication Studies promotes an academic environment in which students, faculty and staff develop innovative communication practices and facilitate constructive dialogue in the classroom and community to inspire responsible citizenship in a diverse world. We are committed to the teaching of communication theory and criticism, the development of communication and advocacy skills, the research of communication processes and practices, and the application of generated knowledge about human communication toward the betterment of self and community.

Accordingly, members of the School of Communication Studies strive to create a learning environment whereby:

Individuals are academically well-rounded, diverse in experience and reflective in their methods, research, and skill sets for approaching communication;

Scholarship is communication focused, but interdisciplinary in approach, and produces meaningful dialogue within our academic disciplines and communities;

Professional service, outreach to communities, and advocacy for human betterment is valued by and from each individual.


The Master of Arts in Communication and Advocacy is a 36-credit hour program that includes:

  • 18 hours of core course work in advocacy studies, theory and applied contexts, and communication research methods
  • Nine hours of concentrated study in advocacy topics salient in both academic and professional contexts, such as health and environmental communication
  • Nine hours dedicated to a major project option of thesis or internship credit designed to facilitate specific vocational and academic qualifications in the field. Includes three hours of elective course work


  • Nine hours related to the comprehensive examination

The core spans applied theory and contexts as well as research methods and tools. It is designed to prepare students to systematically examine, assess, critique and develop communication advocacy practices across a wide range of areas. The additional requirements and electives allow students to develop competencies in specific areas of advocacy studies.

Master of Arts in Communication and Advocacy Requirements

All students must pass a comprehensive assessment to fulfill the completion requirement for the program. For students choosing the major project option, the assessment will take the form of an oral defense of their thesis or internship project. The student’s thesis or internship committee will assess the defense of the major project. For students selecting the comprehensive examination option, the examination will take the form of a timed, written examination administered and assessed by the Graduate Program Committee.

The number of elective credits required is dependent on the choice of completion requirement. Students that choose to complete an internship or thesis will complete three credits of elective courses. Students that choose the comprehensive exam option will complete nine hours of elective courses.


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