Jun 25, 2024  
2009-2011 Graduate Catalog 

Communication Studies

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Burkholder, Thomas R. 
  (1999), Associate Professor; B.S.E., M.A., Emporia State University; Ph.D., University of Kansas.

Graduate Coordinator

Emmers-Sommer, Tara M.
  (2006). Professor and Associate Dean, Greenspun College of Urban Affairs; B. A., M. A., University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Ph.D., Ohio University.

Graduate Faculty

Conley, Donovan S.
  (2004), Assistant Professor; B.A., University of Lethbridge, Alberta; M.A., Ph.D., University of Illinois.

Engstrom, Erika

  (1991), Associate Professor; B.A., M.A., University of Central Florida; Ph.D., University of Florida.
Henry, David
  (1998), Professor; A.B., University of California, Berkeley; M.A., University of California, Davis; Ph.D., Indiana University.
Sahlstein, Erin
  (2006), Assistant Professor; B.A., Iowa State University; M.A., University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Ph.D., University of Iowa.
Thompson, Jacob
  (2007), Director, Sanford J. Berman Debte Forum, Assistant Professor in Residence; B.A., Wayne State University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Kansas.
Valenzano III, Joseph
  (2006), Assistant Professor, Faculty in Residence, Basic Course Director; B. A., Providence College; M. A., University of Maine, Orono; Ph.D., Georgia State University.
Watson, Martha
  (1997), Professor; B.A., Rice University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin.

Professors Emeriti

Blythin, Evan
  (1969-1998), Emeritus Associate Professor; A.A., Palomar Junior College; B.A., M.A., San Diego State University; Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Jensen, Richard Jay
  (1992), Professor and Senior Advisor to the President; B.S., Weber State College; M.A., University of Arizona; Ph.D., Indiana University.
Nielsen, Stephen F.
  (1969-1998), Emeritus Associate Professor; B.S., Ricks College; M.S., Ph.D., Southern Illinois University.

The Department of Communication Studies offers the Master of Arts degree, in Communication Studies, with emphases in interpersonal and rhetorical studies. Courses of study are designed both for students with a career orientation — in such diverse arenas as politics, education, law, public service, the ministry, and media relations — and for those who aspire to continue their education in doctoral programs.

All students are required to take four introductory courses: survey of communcation studies, qualitative research methods, quantitative analysis, and theories of communication (COM 710, 711, 712, and 730 ). Graduate teaching assistants are required to take an additional course in college teaching in communication in their first semester (COM 725 ). Yet because each student’s goals are unique, the curriculum allows flexibility in developing individual degree programs. Such development aims to balance the communication discipline’s varied traditions in theoretical, historical, and applied research, with particular attention to the changing communication culture of the twenty-first century.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the Graduate College, the Department of Communications Studies typically requires:

  1. A minimum GPA of 3.00 in the last 90 credit hours of undergraduate course work.
  2. Satisfactory scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam.
  3. At least three letters of recommendation from individuals who are competent to discuss the applicant’s intellectual ability and promise as a graduate student. Two of these letters should come from professors or college-level instructors.
  4. A brief description (one or two pages long) of the applicant’s goals and expectations in pursuing graduate study in communication.
  5. A sample of the applicant’s writing. This could be a paper from an undergraduate course or something similar.


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