Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
Shanks Hall houses the departments of English and Communication.
121 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:
Email Contact(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Jan 13
Spring: Apr 15
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Shanks Hall

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Department Head : Robert Denton
Graduate Program Director : Beth Waggenspack (Graduate Program Director)
Emeriti Faculty: Edward Sewell
Professors: Robert Denton; William Hopkins; James Ivory; Jim Kuypers; John Tedesco
Associate Professors: Rachel Holloway; Adrienne Ivory; Nneka Logan; Jennifer Mackay; Marcus Myers; Beth Waggenspack
Assistant Professors: Megan Duncan; Katherine Haenschen; Michael Horning; Natalia Mielczarek; Stephanie Smith; Daniel Tamul; Brandi Watkins; Chelsea Woods
W. Thomas Rice Chair: Robert Denton

Communication Introduction

            The Master of Arts in Communication at Virginia Tech is a research-driven graduate program offering courses in strategic communication and media, technology, and society. We prepare graduates to pursue communication doctoral studies, research positions in industry, and advanced teaching or professional careers. Our program blends social-scientific and humanistic research with communication theory in the areas of strategic communication and media, technology, and society. Students are introduced to a 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.

            Students 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.

            The program boasts a nearly 100% placement rate 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, 2020. First round decisions are made early in February. Second-round applications (which do not include GTA funding requests) are accepted until April 15, 2020.

             Detailed information about the program's goals, funding opportunities, faculty, and application procedure, may be found at

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, 2020. First round decisions are made early in February. Second-round applications (which do not include GTA funding requests) are accepted until April 15, 2020.

Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • GRE
    • General
      • Verbal : 150.0
      • Quantitative : 152.0
      • Analytical : 4.0
All graduate students receiving the M.A. degree in Communication must complete 36 credit hours.  Required coursework includes  9 hours of core subjects (Communication Theory, Quantitative Research in Communication, and Qualitative Research in Communication),  15  hours of additional Communication coursework, and at least 6 hours of electives.  All students complete the M.A. degree with a written research-centered thesis (6 hours),  a final oral thesis defense administered by the student's advisory committee, and a public presentation of thesis findings. Successful completion of the program's ethics requirement is also part of the progress towards degree.  Graduate students are encouraged to present their research at local, regional, or national professional conferences. 

Communication Facilities Introduction

         The Department 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 several research laboratories, including the Virginia Tech Gaming and Media Effects Research Laboratory (VT G.A.M.E.R. Lab), the Digital Experiments Lab (DELTA), 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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