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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Communication Studies

Graduate Programs

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/cmst/programs/grad-program.html

Award-Winning Master's Programs

The Department  of Communication Studies was recognized in 2009 with the Most Innovative Program Award from the Masters Education Section of the National Communication Association. The reviewers applauded the groundbreaking MFA in Forensics and overall excellence in curriculum and faculty.

Master's Degrees

Communication Studies offers programs leading to the Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, and the Master of Science degrees. Programs are available for all students who have a bachelor's degree. Students must complete graduate courses in communication theory and research methods and may design the remainder of their program with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator in Communication Studies.

Certificate Programs

Communication Studies offers a 12-credit certitificate program in Professional Communication and a 16-credit certificate program in  Communication Education. The programs require formal admission to the department, but have different program requirements. Details are found below.


Admission to the Master's Programs

In addition to completing the minimum requirements for the College of Graduate Studies and Research, students must also have a GPA of 2.75 or better in overall undergraduate studies and a 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate work. In one packet, students should submit the following items: three letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to judge competence in Communication Studies scholarship (e.g., a writing sample demonstrating research, sound analysis, organization and evidence such as a term paper, convention paper, professional report): and a statement of personal, educational and professional goals.

The Graduate Coordinator examines applications and determines if requirements have been met. If an applicant does not meet the requirements, admission may be provisional. Probationary status will be provided for applicants with an undergraduate degree whose GPA is below admission standards under the following conditions: Acceptable performance on the GRE of 1200 OR acceptance of a student petition and contingency of adherence to contract terms formulated by graduate faculty. Completion of the contract requirements will result in a change to a regular admission status.

Students with a major in Communication Studies may repeat any course in the department in an effort to improve grades. A student may repeat a specific course only once. In exceptional circumstances, a student may appeal to the department chair for a second repeat of a course. The official grade for the course, listings on a student's transcript, and other matters related to course repeats will adhere to appropriate university policies.

Send the following materials to the College of Graduate Studies:

  1. Completed Application for Graduate Study (365KB PDF). Please note that this is a two page application. Page two must be submitted in duplicate. An online application is also available
  2. Two official transcripts from the degree–granting institution(s)
  3. Completed immunization form (53KB PDF)
  4. A $40 fee is required of applicants applying to a program.

Send the following materials to the Communication Studies Department:

  1. Three letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to judge competence in Communication Studies scholarship
  2. A writing sample demonstrating research, sound analysis, organization and evidence such as a term paper, convention paper, professional report, etc.
  3. A statement of personal, educational and professional goals.

Admission to the Certificate Programs

Scholastic Requirements:

  • 2.75 GPA or better on oervall undergraduate work
  • 3.00 GPA or better on overall undergraduate work in the last two years.

Documentation Requirements:

  • A statement of personal, educational and professional goals (send to the Department)

College of Graduate Studies Requirements:

  1. Completed Application for Graduate Study (365KB PDF). Please note that this is a two page application. Page two must be submitted in duplicate. An online application is also available
  2. Two official transcripts from the degree–granting institution(s)
  3. Completed immunization form (53KB PDF)
  4. A $40 fee is required of applicants applying to a program.

Retention requirements:
• Admitted applicants to the Communication Studies Graduate Certificate Programs must maintain a scholastic standing of 3.0 GPA in overall graduate coursework.


 Non-Degree Seeking: Students wishing to take graduate coursework, but who do not wish to seek a graduate degree or enroll in a graduate certificate program, must complete an application as a non-degree seeking student prior to registration. No more than 12 graduate credits taken by a non-degree seeking student may be applied to a graduate degree program. This option is not typically available to international students

Graduate Assistantships: A Graduate Assistantship Application (pdf) is available online.
Full graduate assistantships pay a stipend of $9,000 for the academic year. A full assistantship also carries a waiver of up to nine graduate credits per semester. To be eligible for an assistantship, the student must be eligible for admission to a Minnesota State University, Mankato graduate program. Graduate Assistants must enroll in a minimum of six credits per semester.

Contact Information:
Please contact Kathy Steiner (kathleen.steiner@mnsu.edu; 507-389-2213), department administrative assistant, for a complete certificate program package, including all application materials and forms


Master of Arts (MA)

  • (Thesis Plan - 33 credits)
  • (Alternate Paper Plan - 35 credits)

Major Common Core
CMST 600 Seminar in Communication Theory (3)
CMST 601 Communication Research Methods (3)
CMST 602 Communication Pedagogy (3)
CMST 603 Strategies: Basic (0) **required only of Graduate Teaching Assistants
CMST 650 Capstone Prospectus

Major Restricted Electives
Choose 12-15 credit(s) at 5/600 level in consultation with an advisor. 

Thesis or Alternative Plan Paper
CMST 694 Alternate Plan Paper 1-2 Credits
CMST 699 Thesis 3-6 credits

Major Unrestricted Electives
Choose 6-9 credit(s) in a supporting field
Choose any 5/600 level related electives in consultation with an advisor.

Notes:
 

  1. Appropriate research tools such as ethnography, critical analysis, language, statistics or others may be required by the department.
  2. No P/N credit is acceptable in fulfilling major requirements except in the case of theses, practicums, internships, in-service courses and individual study, and then only by special permission of the department.
  3. Fifty percent (50 percent) of all coursework must be at the 600 level, not including thesis or alternate plan.


Master of Fine Arts-Forensics (MFA-FORENSICS)

(Thesis Option - 48 credits)

The Master of Fine Arts Forensics degree is a terminal degree for forensic professionals. Students who wish to teach and direct forensics programs a the college level will find the MFA is appropriate, tenurable degree at many four-year institutions around the country. The degree additionally certifies intense study of the theory and practice of communicative public performance for those students whose career aspirations are outside of collegiate forensics and teaching. Those students will find the degree as appropriate training for careers as a communication consultant, a motivational speaker and a communication trainer.

Frequently Asked Questions about the MFA-Forensics degree
Policy for Transfer of Credits from MA/MS to the MFA-Forensics

Major Common Core
CMST 509 Performance Studies (3)
CMST 535 Forensics Pedagogy
CMST 600 Seminar in Communication Theory (3)
CMST 601 Communication Research Methods (3)
CMST 602 Communication Pedagogy (3)
CMST 603 Strategies: Basic (0) * required only of Graduate Teaching Assistants
CMST 630 Forensics Practicum (3)
CMST 650 Capstone Prospectus
CMST 651 Comprehensive Exams
CMST 699 Thesis (3-6; max of three applied to program)

Major Restricted Electives
Organization/Conflict - Choose 3 credits:
CMST 512 Organizational Communication (3)
CMST 545 Conflict Management (3)

Intercultural/Interpersonal - Choose 3 credits:
CMST 613 Advanced Intercultural Communication (3)
CMST 621 Advanced Interpersonal Communication (3)
 

Rhetoric - Choose 3 credits:
CMST 515 Topics in Rhetoric and Culture (3)
CMST 620 Modern Rhetorical Criticism (3)

Professional - Choose 3 credits:
CMST 504 Methods I: Teaching Communication Arts (3)
CMST 633 Communication for Professionals (3)

Major Unrestricted Electives
Required Communication Studies Electives
Choose 9 credits from 5/600-level courses in Communication Studies in consultation with an advisor.

Required Supporting Field Electives
Choose 6 credits from 5/600-level courses in a supporting field in consultation with an advisor.

Notes:

  1. Appropriate research tools such as ethnography, critical analysis, language, statistics or others may be required by the department.
  2. No P/N credit is acceptable in fulfilling major requirements except in the case of thesis, practicums, internships, in-service courses and individual study, and then only by special permission of the department.
  3. Fifty percent (50 %) of all coursework must be at the 600 level, not including thesis or alternate plan.


Master of Science (MS)

(Project Option - 36 credits)

Required Communication Studies Core (15 - 18 credits)
CMST 600 Seminar in Communication Theory (3)
CMST 601 Communication Research Methods (3)
CMST 602 Communication Pedagogy (3)
CMST 603 Strategies: Basic Course (0) *required only of Teaching Assistants
CMST 650 Capstone Prospectus
Required Internship
CMST 697 Internship (6-9)

Major Restricted Electives
Choose 12-15 credits in 5/600-level courses in Communication Studies in consultation with an advisor.

Major Unrestricted Electives

Choose 6 credits in 5/600-level courses in a supporting field in consultation with an advisor.

Notes:

  1. No P/N credit is acceptable in fulfilling major requirements except in cases of  thesis, practicums, internships, in-service courses and individual study, and then only by special permission of the department.
  2. Fifty percent (50%)  of all coursework must be at the 600-level.


Graduate Certificate in Professional Communication

(12-credit online program)

Employers routinely cite the need for effective oral, interpersonal and group communication skills. The Graduate Certificate in Professional Communication, offered by the Department of Communication Studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato, integrates communication theory, research and practical skills to provide students with the necessary abilities to succeed in a variety of professional arenas.

Our program has been developed primarily for working professionals who are unable to enroll in a traditional face-to-face graduate degree program. The graduate certificate program is offered entirely online. Prospective students can complete our program while continuing to work, and need not travel to Mankato for coursework. There is no residency requirement for this certificate.

Our program meets the needs of working students who have a bachelor’s degree in a communication-related field and are employed in an occupation in which they are using communication skills. Our program provides these students with advanced training in communication skills for job enhancement, promotion opportunities, and/or career re-training.

The graduate certificate is 12 credits, all available online and all transferable into the MA program in Communication Studies should students decide to continue. The program consists of two core courses, and then students may select two additional courses from four more offerings. The program is designed to be completed in two years or less. Each course listed below will be offered at least once every two years.

Core: 6 credits
CMST 604: Communication Training and Development
CMST 633: Communication for Professionals

Choose 6 credits from the following:
CMST 512: Organizational Communication
CMST 515: Topics in Rhetoric and Culture
CMST 545: Conflict Management
CMST 601: Communication Research Methods


Graduate Certificate in Communication Education

(16-credit online program)

Designed for individuals interested in teaching at technical and community colleges. Minnesota and many other states have a standard requirement that community and technical college faculty must hold a master’s degree and a minimum of 16 credit hours in-discipline. This graduate certificate provides a means for anyone who holds a master’s in another discipline but also wishes to teach in communication studies.

Major Common Core (6 credits)
CMST 602: Communication Pedagogy (3)
CMST 633: Communication for Professionals (3)

Major Restricted Electives (10 credits)
CMST 515: Topics in Rhetoric and Culture (3)
CMST 545: Conflict Management (3)
CMST 535: Forensics Pedagogy (3)
CMST 550: NFL Pedagogy (1-3)
CMST 551: NFL-Introduction to Debate (1-3)
CMST 552: NFL-Advanced Debate (1-3)
CMST 553: NFL-Basics in Forensics (1-3)
CMST 554: NFL-Introduction to Interpretation (1-3)
CMST 555: NFL-Advanced Interpretation (1-3)
CMST 556: NFL-Introduction to Argumentation (1-3)
CMST 557: NFL-Advanced Argumentation (1-3)
CMST 620: Modern Rhetorical Criticism (3)
CMST 621: Advanced Interpersonal Communication (3)

Admission to this program requires the following:
1. Scholastic requirements:
• 2.75 GPA or better on overall undergraduate work 
• 3.00 GPA or better on overall undergraduate work in the last two years.
2. Documentation requirements: 
• A statement of personal, educational and professional goals

Admission process:
The Graduate Coordinator examines applications for admission and determines if the GPA (overall undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale and/or a 3.0 for the last 2 years of undergraduate work) requirements are met. If the applicant does not meet the requirements, admission may be provisional.

Provisional admission:
Probationary Status will be provided for applicants with an undergraduate degree whose GPA is below regular admission standards under the following conditions:
1. An applicant may be admitted on the basis of their performance on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Acceptable performance is a composite score of 1380 and at least one subtest of 500, OR
2. An applicant may petition the graduate faculty for provisional admission. In such cases, admission will be contingent upon the student's adherence to contract terms formulated by graduate faculty stipulating specific performance requirements.
3. Completion of the contract requirements will result in a change to a regular admission status..


Course Descriptions

CMST 503 (3) Gender and Communication
This course is designed to develop an understanding of how gender and communication interact. Students learn the basic theories and principles of communication as it applies to gender and develop skills to enhance communication between and among gender groups.

CMST 504 (3) Methods I: Teaching Communication Arts
This course is designed to fulfill the Secondary Licensure requirement. The course covers teaching methods and materials needed to develop speech communication units for the secondary speech communication courses.

CMST 509 (3) Performance Studies
This course is an overview of key performance studies concepts, including cultural performance, performance of everyday life, theories of play, social influence, and identity performance. Students will develop and present performances as a means to understand theoretical concepts.

CMST 512 (3) Organizational Communication
This course is designed to develop an understanding of Communication Studies in the organizational context. The course will aid each individual in working more effectively within any type of organization through exposure to major theories and works in the area of organizational communication.
 

CMST 515 (3) Topics in Rhetoric and Culture
Special interest courses devoted to specific topics within the intersecting fields of rhetoric and culture. Topics vary, and course may be retaken for credit under different topic headings.

CMST 516 (3) Topics in American Public Address
Special interest courses devoted to specific topics within the field of American Public Address. Topics vary, and course may be retaken for credit under different topic headings.

CMST 530 (3) Methods II: Directing High School Forensics
Methods and techniques in the development of competitive speech programs.

SPEE 535 (3) Forensics Pedagogy
Course is designed to give students a theoretical understanding of competitive speech and debate.

CMST 540 (1-3) Special Topics
A course designed for students who have a general interest in Communication Studies. Content of each special topics course will be different. May be retaken for credit.

CMST 545 (3) Conflict Management
This theory and research-oriented course examines the relationship between communication and conflict, and is designed to provide students with knowledge and skills in dealing with conflict situations.

SPEE 550 (3) (1-3) NFL- Pedagogy
Course reserved for graduate students taking online NFL modules.

SPEE 551 (1-3) NFL-Introduction to Debate
Course reserved for graduate students taking online NFL modules.

SPEE 552 (1-3) NFL-Advanced Debate
Course reserved for graduate students taking online NFL modules.

SPEE 553 (1-3) NFL-Basics in Forensics
Course reserved for graduate students taking online NFL modules.

SPEE 554 (1-3) NFL-Introduction to Interpretation
Course reserved for graduate students taking online NFL modules.

SPEE 555 (1-3) NFL-Advanced Interpretation
Course reserved for graduate students taking online NFL modules.

SPEE 556 (1-3) NFL-Introduction to Argumentation
Course reserved for graduate students taking online NFL modules.

SPEE 557 (1-3) NFL-Advanced Argumentation
Course reserved for graduate students taking online NFL modules.

CMST 600 (3) Seminar in Communication Theory
An introduction to the communication field focusing on theory construction and the function of communication theory/models in the human experience. Contemporary theories of communication will be reviewed.

CMST 601 (3) Communication Research Methods
Graduate students will gain a basic understanding of the Social Science research process as it applies to the field of communication. Quantitative and qualitative research designs, methods, and data analysis procedures will be reviewed. Students will research and prepare a research proposal document.

CMST 602 (3) Communication Pedagogy
Required of all graduate students in the Department of Communication Studies. Surveys traditional pedagogical theories as well as critical pedagogical theories as they pertain to teaching communication courses.

CMST 603 (0) Stategies: Basic
Open only to teaching assistants of basic course in Communication Studies. Covers course design, course evaluation, methodologies for skill development, and related topics.

SPEE 604 (3) Communication Training and Development
This course focuses on preparing professional trainers and developers in communication teaching, training and development.

CMST 613 (3) Advanced Intercultural Communication
This course explores the reasons we have difficulty communicating with people from other cultures, why misunderstandings occur, and how to build clearer and more productive cross-cultural relationships.

CMST 620 (3) Modern Rhetorical Criticism
This course includes the skills in the analysis, application, and evaluation of argumentative communication.

CMST 621 (3) Advanced Interpersonal Communication
This course explores and critically examines interpersonal communication theory development, current research and leading theoretical perspectives, and potential applications in contemporary interpersonal communication contexts and relationships.

CMST 630 (3) Forensics Practicum
This course is designed to help prepare students for their professional roles as directors or assistant directors of collegiate or high school forensics programs.

CMST 633 (3) Communication for Professionals
This course is designed to enhance the communication skills of professionals. Students will learn theory and techniques of presentation for academic conferences, professional meetings, business and industry presentations, interviews, and group meetings. The use of technology in professional communication will be highlighted.

CMST 640 (1-3) Special Topics
This course provides both graduate students and faculty the opportunity to work together with a specific theme that is timely and relevant to the field. May be repeated for credit.

CMST 650 (0) Capstone Prospectus
Capstone Prospectus requires a student seeking an MA, MS, or MFA to complete a research proposal. The student defends the prospectus before their committee. See advisor for specifics.

CMST 651 (0) Comprehensive Exams
The course requires a graduate student seeking an MFA to successfully pass comprehensive exams. The student is required to enroll and take the exams at least one semester before graduation. See advisor for specifics on the comprehensive exam.

CMST 677 (1-6) Individual Study
Advanced independent study. 
 
CMST 690 (1-4) Workshop
Topics vary as announced in class schedules.

CMST 694 (1-2) Alternate Plan Paper
Review and interpretation of a body of research.

CMST 697 (1-12) Internship
Provides first-hand experience in applying communication theories in the workplace under the direction of an on-site supervisor.

CMST 699 (3-6) Thesis
Original research which meets accepted research standards.