Mar 03, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication and Advocacy, Environmental Communication Concentration, M.A.

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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.

Required Courses

Introduction to the Program: 3 Credit Hours

Theory and Applied Contexts: 3 Credit Hours

Research Methods and Tools


Choose one of the following concentrations: 9 Credit Hours

  • Health Communication
  • Environmental Communication
  • Strategic Communication

Elective Requirement

Elective: 3-9 Credit Hours

Select an elective course(s) from core courses, another concentration or from another program that assists in the development of the student’s professional goals. Courses cannot fulfill more than one requirement. The number of electives is dependent on the choice of completion requirement.

Completion Requirements

Choose one of the following 0-6 Credit Hours

Concentration Requirements

As part of their requirements for an M.A. in Communication and Advocacy, students will select a concentrated area of study: Health Communication or Environmental Communication. In each concentration, research, theory and practical application are combined to help students develop communication strategies and research designs associated with positive health outcomes and successful negotiation of the health care system, as well as the development and promotion of local to global action steps with the potential to positively shape environmental quality of life levels across local, regional, national and international living spaces. Graduate students in health and environmental communication advocacy will develop and refine knowledge and skills essential to becoming more effective health and environmental communication advocates, health and environmental communication research investigators, and health and environmental communication research consumers.

Graduate students interested in specializing in environmental communication will complete course work focusing on the multifaceted nature of environmental advocacy, key forums through which competing local to international interests are identified, contested, and managed, as well as how various levels of risk are framed, challenged, and negotiated. Students graduating with a concentration in environmental communication will be prepared to work in a variety of nonprofit, government and corporate settings constructing and evaluating environmental campaigns, facilitating organizational and group decision making about issues related to environmental practices, communicating effectively with varied stakeholders with conflicting interests, and educating and motivating diverse audiences regarding environmental interests.

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