Graduate Catalog
2020-2021
 
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Communication
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
Shanks Hall houses the departments of English and Communication.
119 Shanks Hall, Mail Code:0311 181 Turner Street NW Blacksburg VA 24061
Shanks Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MA
MA Degree in Communication
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
National Capital Region
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
540/231-2704
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Jan 15
Spring: Apr 15
Directions
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The Graduate School
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Shanks Hall

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Program Director : Robert Denton
Graduate Program Director : Marcus Myers (Associate Professor)
Emeriti Faculty: Edward Sewell
Professors: Robert Denton; Carlos Evia Puerto; William Hopkins; James Ivory; Jim Kuypers; John Tedesco
Associate Professors: Rachel Holloway; Michael Horning; Adrienne Ivory; Nneka Logan; Jennifer Mackay; Marcus Myers; Brandi Watkins
Assistant Professors: Megan Duncan; Natalia Mielczarek; Stephanie Smith; Chelsea Woods
W. Thomas Rice Chair: Robert Denton
Professor of Practice: Douglas Cannon

Communication Introduction

Program introduction

The M.A. in Communication degree program offers two majors: (1) Communication, a research-driven curriculum offering courses in two areas:  strategic communication and media, technology, and society, and (2) Reputation Management, a professionally focused curriculum designed to prepare public relations practitioners with five or more years of experience for broader management responsibilities in strategic corporate communication. The Communication major prepares graduates to pursue communication doctoral studies, research positions in industry, and advanced teaching or professional careers. The major blends social-scientific and humanistic research with communication theory in the areas of media, technology, and society. Students are introduced to diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives, with a focus on research in every class. Faculty strengths in digital, political, strategic, rhetorical, and organizational communication enrich student learning and career readiness. The Reputation Management major prepares graduates for advanced communication management positions in corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. The major combines coursework in communication, public relations, and business. Students work with  public relations and business scholars to develop theory-based reputation-management initiatives to solve business problems, advance strategic organizational outcomes, improve perceptions of organizations with key constituencies, and enhance goodwill assets and corporate market value.

Degree Requirements

All graduate students receiving the M.A. in Communication degree must complete 36 credit hours. Required coursework for students in the Communication major includes 9 credit hours of core subjects (Communication Theory, Quantitative Research in Communication, and Qualitative Research in Communication), 15 credit hours of major-specific coursework, at least 6 credits hours of electives, and 6 hours of thesis credit. The thesis includes an oral defense administered by the student’s advisory committee and a public presentation of thesis findings. Coursework for the Reputation Management major requires the same 9 credit hours of core subjects, 15 credit hours in specified public relations courses, 9 credit hours of electives in suggested business courses, and 3 hours in professional project or report (non-thesis) credit. Successful completion of the M.A. program’s ethics requirement is part of the progress toward degree. Graduate students are encouraged to present their research at local, regional, or national professional conferences.  


Additional Information

Students in the Communication major engage in reviewing and discussing communication research, collecting and interpreting original data, and synthesizing and presenting communication knowledge to educate others. Degree completion includes a thesis, where students research an area/question of communication interest in depth, using either a qualitative or a quantitative methodology. If you aspire to achieve a Ph.D., a thesis hones research skills in a focused area of interest. If your goal is a professional career, a thesis promotes your ability to conceptualize and to complete a research project from start to finish. We strongly encourage graduate students to attend regional and national conferences to present their work. Full and partial funding opportunities for conference travel are available.

Students in the Reputation Management major apply communication and public relations theories to business problems in real-world situations. These students, public relations practitioners with five or more years of experience, complete professional projects or reports. These allow students to demonstrate that they can put what they have learned in coursework into practice in a variety of business contexts.

The program boasts a nearly 100% placement rate for Communication majors at top Ph.D. departments for graduates interested in pursuing doctoral study. Those planning a professional career typically are employed within four months of graduation. Communication M.A. students are active researchers, provide university and community service through the Communication Graduate Students Association (CGSA), and establish a Hokie community of friends and colleagues.

For Fall admission and consideration for graduate funding (serving as a departmental graduate teaching assistant), the electronic application must be completed by January 13, 2021. First round decisions are made early in February. Second-round applications (which do not include funding requests) are accepted until April 15, 2021, with decisions occurring soon thereafter. The program does not typically accept spring admissions for full-time students; part time students should consult with the graduate director.

Detailed information about the program’s goals, funding opportunities, faculty, and application procedure, may be found by visiting the Communication M.A. webpage.




Graduate student funding

           Graduate students may competitively apply for full funding through graduate teaching assistantships (GTA) in our nationally-recognized program. GTAs receive a tuition-waiver scholarship and a competitive monthly stipend (salary). All GTAs must be able to teach public speaking; extensive training prior to the start of fall semester, as well as a weekly teaching practicum, prepare you for classroom responsibilities. For Fall admission and consideration for graduate funding, the electronic application must be completed by January 13, 2021. First round decisions are made early in February. Second-round applications (which do not include funding requests) are accepted until April 15, 2021.

Offered In (Blacksburg, National Capital Region)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
  • GRE
    • General
      • Verbal : 150.0
      • Quantitative : 152.0
      • Analytical : 4.0
The M.A. in Communication degree program offers two majors: (1) Communication, a research-driven curriculum offering courses in two areas:  strategic communication and  media, technology, and society, and (2) Reputation Management, a professionally focused curriculum designed to prepare public relations practitioners with five or more years of experience for broader management responsibilities in strategic corporate communication.


Degree Requirements:

All graduate students receiving the M.A. in Communication degree must complete 36 credit hours. Required coursework for students in the Communication major includes 9 credit hours of core subjects (Communication Theory, Quantitative Research in Communication, and Qualitative Research in Communication), 15 credit hours of major-specific coursework, at least 6 credits hours of electives, and 6 hours of thesis credit. The thesis includes an oral defense administered by the student’s advisory committee and a public presentation of thesis findings. Coursework for the Reputation Management major requires the same 9 credit hours of core subjects, 15 credit hours in specified public relations courses, 9 credit hours of electives in suggested business courses, and 3 hours in professional project or report (non-thesis) credit. Successful completion of the M.A. program’s ethics requirement is part of the progress toward degree. Graduate students are encouraged to present their research at local, regional, or national professional conferences.  

Communication Facilities Introduction

         The School of Communication’s research facilities include a range of spaces and equipment to facilitate social and behavioral research employing multiple methods.

The Digital Media Research Facility

The Digital Media Research Facility is housed in the basement of Shanks Hall and includes multiple research laboratory facilities, including the Virginia Tech Gaming and Media Effects Research Laboratory (VT G.A.M.E.R. Lab) and other laboratories in development. Research equipment contained in the labs includes psychophysiological measurement equipment, Perception Analyzer real-time-response equipment, digital gaming and virtual reality hardware, and software for media production, data analysis, and data visualization. Spaces include multi-purpose rooms, laboratory experiment rooms, and an observation room with a one-way mirror.
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