Table of Contents
Admission to the University—College of Graduate Studies
Students holding a Bachelor's Degree or an equivalent degree from a foreign country can be admitted to the graduate program.
New students must apply for admission to a program at least six (6)
weeks prior to the beginning of a new semester (July 1 for fall,
November 1st for spring).
Students seeking to earn a graduate degree must complete the Application for Admission to a Graduate Degree Program (see Appendices Form #1)
and supply two official copies of their undergraduate transcript.
Application forms and transcripts are sent to the College of Graduate
Requirements for admission to the Communication Studies Graduate Program
- Minimum GPA requirements for admission to the Communication Studies Master's Degree programs are as follows:
- 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.
- Documentation requirements: All documentation materials must be submitted in one completed packet.
- Three (3) completed Recommendation for Master's Program forms from individuals qualified to judge the student's competence as a Communication Studies scholar.
writing sample demonstrating research, sound analysis, organization and
evidence, e.g., term paper, convention paper, professional report, etc.
- A statement of personal, educational and professional goals
- Retention requirements: Admitted applicants to the Communication Studies Master program must maintain a Scholastic Standing of:
- 3.00 GPA in overall graduate coursework
Admission process to the Communication Studies Master program
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.
Probationary Status will be provided for applicants with an
undergraduate degree whose GPA is below regular admission standards
under the following conditions:
- 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
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.
- Completion of the contract requirements will result in a change to a regular admission status.
Criteria for Funding of Teaching/Research Assistants
The following criteria establish a hierarchy in descending order for
the funding of Graduate Assistants in the Department of Communication
- Graduate students applying for a third year of funding to earn an MFA in Communication Studies
- Graduate students applying for a second year of funding to earn a Master's degree in Communication Studies
- Graduate students applying for a first year of funding to earn a Master's degree in Communication Studies.
First-year funding has the following additional hierarchical criteria:
- Full admission to Communication Studies graduate program
- Undergraduate major/minor in Communication Studies
- Undergraduate major/minor in related/supporting field to Communication Studies
- Background in teaching and/or forensics
- Probationary admission to Communication Studies graduate program
- Admission to multi-disciplinary graduate program (with Communication Studies as one of the areas)
- Admission to graduate program other than Communication Studies
- Graduate students applying for a third year of funding to earn a Master's degree in Communication Studies (MA/MS only)
students in multi-disciplinary programs with Communication Studies as
one of their emphases (1st or 2nd year of funding)
- Students with a background in Communication Studies enrolled in other graduate programs (1st or 2nd year of funding)
- Graduate students in multi-disciplinary programs with Communication Studies as one of their emphases (3rd year of funding)
- Students with a background in Communication Studies enrolled in other graduate programs at the university (3rd year of funding)
Summer Teaching by Non-Faculty (procedure)
- The chair sends out a "call" to all current Teaching Assistants (TAs) requesting interest in summer teaching.
interested TAs must submit a letter of interest, current teaching
evaluations, and a vita. The letter of interest should indicate any
advanced education to teach the available courses (e.g., Advanced
Interpersonal Communication, Advanced Public Speaking, Teaching
- The applicants are reviewed by
the Director of Teaching Assistants. The Director of TAs sets a
baseline to: (1) remove from consideration any TA who may be struggling
as a classroom teacher; (2) determine TAs able to teach a summer
stand-alone course. The Director of TAs is free to consult with any
other faculty member in the department. The review does not establish a
hierarchy of TAs to determine who is the "best" teacher, just a
baseline for who shall be considered.
- Any forensic TAs still in consideration after the review in step 2 is completed are given first opportunity for summer teaching.
no forensic TAs are still in the pool (or more summer teaching slots
are available than forensic TAs), the Department selects from
- If there are more TAs than positions
(in either steps 4 or 5), we use a random selection process (e.g., flip
a coin, draw straws).
- If there are more positions than
TAs interested in summer teaching, the Department may select from the
current adjunct faculty pool.
A. Advisor: When the student is admitted into the
Communication Studies Graduate program, the Department's Director
of Graduate Studies will automatically be assigned as an Advisor.
An appointment should be scheduled with the Advisor to discuss the
student's program, interests and course options. The advisor is
available to answer any questions as the student moves through the
graduate school experience.
B. Coursework Checklist: Student should review the appropriate coursework checklist for their program each semester. The checklists are available at http://www.mnsu.edu/cmst/programs/graduateprograms.html
C. Paperwork Checklist: Student should review the appropriate paperwork checklist for their program each semester. The checklists are available at http://www.mnsu.edu/cmst/programs/graduateprograms.html
At the appropriate time (check your paperwork checklist!) in the process, the student selects a Committee
Chair/Advisor to supervise the program thesis, alternate plan or
project. A Change of Advisor/Change of Program form must
D. Selecting a Capstone Advisor and Committee
the student is admitted into the Communication Studies Graduate program, the
Department's Director of Graduate Studies will automatically be assigned
as the admission-advisor.
Your admission-advisor is different than your capstone advisor.
Two graduate faculty members from within the department
Two graduate faculty members from within the department
- Thesis: Two graduate faculty
members from within the department; one graduate faculty member from
outside the department
graduate faculty members from within the department; one graduate faculty
member from outside the department
of Thesis or Alternate Plan Advisor/Committee: When choosing a Chair/
Advisor and committee members, the student needs to consider the
- All committee members must
have graduate faculty status.
- Does the student feel
comfortable and confident with the Chair/Advisor and/or committee members
they are considering?
- Do the Chair/Advisor and/or
committee members have expertise in the subject area the student plans to
- Do the Chair/Advisor and/or
committee members have expertise in the methodologies the student plans
Faculty to Serve as Advisor or Committee Members
- Taking on a graduate
student as a capstone advisee or serving on the committee is at the
discretion of the graduate faculty member. The faculty may decline to
serve for a number of reasons (e.g., area of study is outside of interest
and/or methods, number of other advisees/committees already committed,
other professional obligations).
- The graduate student should
contact the faculty member and inquire if the faculty is interested and
willing to serve as advisor/committee member.
- Completing the Paperwork
the advisor and committee is in place, the student must prep, secure
signatures, and submit a Change of Advisor/Committee form (http://www.mnsu.edu/cmst/programs/changeadvisorcommittee.pdf)
a request to the Director of Graduate Studies for permission to enroll in CMST
will be notified when the permission has been entered.
E. Colloquium Presentation: Prior
to graduation, all students must present at least one time at the
Department Colloquium. These presentations will be oral reports based
on thesis or alternate plan research, or on internships completed as
part of the project option.
Planning and completing the Masters Project
(Thesis, Alternate Plan, Project Option)
Making a decision: Choosing the correct program
- Thesis: A demonstrated independent work
of a creative and/or investigative type related to a student's major
field of study. The thesis and/or creative option shows independent
thought in the recognition, investigation and analysis/interpretation
of a communication problem or phenomena. The thesis research project is
oriented towards original research which makes a contribution to new
- Alternate Plan: A less
extensive research endeavor than the thesis. The investigative work
primarily utilizes secondary research sources. The alternate plan
research quality and quantity is greater than a course term paper. The
alternate plan can be:
expanded work of a term paper or papers prepared for a course. An
extensive review, analysis and/or synthesis of secondary sources are
required. The faculty member teaching the course traditionally serves
as the Alternate Plan Advisor.
- a part of an internship or practicum. Experiences are cataloged, evaluated and presented in the form of an alternate plan paper.
- Project Option:
An applied communication program which combines scholarship with
extensive experiences in a non-academic workplace. The project option
is designed for those students who wish to apply communication theory
and skills in the workplace. The written component of the project
involves a combination of review, analysis and/or synthesis of
secondary sources, and application of that material to a workplace
situation. The project option requires a 9-credit internship experience.
Selecting the Thesis Option
Candidate will prepare a Thesis Proposal. A scheduled Candidate
Thesis Proposal Review and Endorsement meeting involving all Committee
Members will take place with the candidate before significant research
begins. All Committee Members shall be fully informed and in agreement
regarding the candidate's planned study, (e.g., topic selection, data
collection and analysis procedures).
Selecting the Alternate Plan Option
All Committee Members shall be fully informed and in agreement
regarding the candidate's planned study, e.g. topic selection and
Selecting the Option
A proposal or outline of the project should be prepared for all
Committee Members. All Committee Members shall be fully informed and in
agreement regarding the candidate's planned study and project goals.
The Internship Option requires:
- 9-credits of internship; each credit is 30 hours of work
on the internship (minimum of 360 hours); time spent writing the paper
(item #4) does not count toward the 360 hour minimum
- a two-person committee (advisor and in-dept member)
- an onsite supervisor
- a paper demonstrating theoretical density and application of communication principles during the internship
- an oral defense before the Committee
- presentation of the internship paper during a department colloqiuim
IRB Studies involving human subjects
An Institution Review Board (IRB) form must be completed and
attached to the Thesis Proposal form for any research involving human
participants. The Thesis Proposal form outlines the proposed area of
study, methodology and analysis procedures.
If human participants are included in the Alternate Plan Paper
research, a clear explanation of the proposed project approved by the
candidate's advisor/examining committee and an IRB approval form must
be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
Completed draft (thesis/alternate plan paper)
A draft of the research document must be in the hands of all
committee members a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the scheduled oral
defense of the work.
Scheduled Oral Examinations
The oral defense of Thesis and Alternate Plan Papers should occur at
least 3-4 weeks before anticipated graduation to allow time for
revisions and/or rewrites. Oral exams are regularly scheduled during
Fall and Spring Semesters. The student will be responsible for
coordinating the defense day and time with all Committee Members.
Summer Session Oral Examination Petition
A petition requesting the scheduling of an oral examination in the
summer must be submitted and approved five (5) weeks prior to the end
of the Spring Semester. Oral examinations scheduled during Summer
Sessions must be done so with the approval of the student's advisor,
departmental and outside committee members and the Graduate Coordinator
of the Department.
Final draft (thesis/alternate plan paper) deadline
The student's final document draft must be in the Graduate Dean's Office at least one (1) month before anticipated graduation.
- An Application for Graduation form must be completed and
signed by all committee members and sent to the Graduate Office six (6)
weeks before the end of the semester in which graduation is to take
place. No graduation ceremonies are scheduled in the Summer. All
graduate work must be completed before the student can participate in
the graduation ceremonies.
- A Recommendation for Awarding
the Degree form is submitted by the Chairperson of the candidate's
examining committee at least 2 weeks before the anticipated date of
MFA-Forensics Comprehensive Exam Policy
- A student must have completed 36 graduate credits before enrolling in CMST 651-Comprehensive Exams.
- A student must successfully pass CMST 651 before enrolling in CMST 699-Thesis.
- At least eight (8) weeks prior to the anticipated exam
date, a student will notify the advisor and department capstone
committee members of intent to take the comprehensive exam.
committee will prepare three questions for the exam. The questions will
relate to the student’s program of study and capstone project. The
questions will address the following areas:
- Q1: Communication theory relating to the program of study.
- Q2: Research methods relating to the anticipated capstone project.
- Q3: Specialized content area relating to the anticipated capstone project.
student will be given the three questions and have 168 hours (7 days)
to answer all three questions. The committee may impose specific
restrictions (e.g., page length, word length, sources).
- The advisor and department capstone committee member(s) will evaluate the answers.
- Each question will be evaluated Pass/No Pass.
- A Pass means the student has successfully met the expectations for the question.
- A No Pass means the answer did not meet expectations and must be rewritten or supplemented to correct deficiencies.
- Rewrites will be done with guidance from your committee.
- The committee will determine the nature and scope of a rewrite.
- A rewrite must be completed the semester a student is taking CMST 651.
- Receiving a No Pass on any rewritten question will require retaking CMST 651.
651 may only be retaken once. A No Pass on any of the questions
required when retaking CMST 651 will result in a student failing the
course and the student will not be eligible to earn the MFA-Forensics
- The nature and content of the questions is determined by
the advisor and department capstone committee members. The committee
may, at their discretion, consult with the student or other faculty
members when developing the questions.
- The student has
the responsibility to contact the advisor and committee members to
determine how to best prepare for the exam. The student should make
sure he/she has a clear understanding of what is expected on the exam.
Completion Time Limits
All work for a graduate degree must be completed within a six-year period.
X. Thesis Proposal
Department of Communication Studies
- Thesis proposal must be approved prior to data collection and writing of thesis.
- Research involving human participants must have IRB approval prior to gaining thesis proposal approval.
- Both approvals, when required, must be granted prior to data collection.
Proposal should include the following items:
- Student Information
- Student's name, tech ID, e-mail, U.S. mail address, and Degree.
- Thesis Title (tentative)
- Problem Statement:
Explain the problem and its significance for the field of study
concerned; to what extent does this build upon or add to existing
- Objective: State the questions which you seek to answer or the hypotheses to be tested.
Involvement of Human Participants:
Complete the Application for the Conduct of Research involving Human
Participants/Volunteers/Subjects which is available in the Graduate
Office. If required, you must attach a copy of the "human participants"
application to your thesis proposal.
Procedures: Detail the design or procedural plan, as appropriate, to be followed:
to be gathered, method of gathering data, source of data, the nature of
instruments to be used, anticipated techniques to be used for analysis
- texts to be analyzed and critical reading practices or methods of textual analysis to be used.
performance-based thesis project includes the nature of the performance
text, anticipated performance venue, production timeline, and means of
The Procedures section includes justifications of procedural choices.
- Precis of Chapters in Thesis: Provide brief description of expected chapters and what shall be addressed within each chapter.
- Unique Requirements:
As appropriate, provide details as to how specific sources of pertinent
literature, specific equipment and cooperating agency approval will be
- Timeline: Provide a detailed
timeline for completion of the thesis (e.g., literature review, data
collection, analysis, submission to committee, defense date).
- Examining Committee Approval/Signatures:
- Chair of the Examining Committee Date
- Examining Committee Member Date
- Examining Committee Member Date