Communication Studies

Main Content

The Department of Communication Studies has a healthy diversity of outlooks and approaches. Our diversity is complemented by an exceptionally supportive interpersonal climate. We are committed as colleagues to effective teaching and productive scholarship. We believe that our students share these commitments, and we are most eager to recruit students who want to study in such an environment.

Our facilities include a superior laboratory for performance studies, the Marion Kleinau Theatre, collaborative project room, Speaker’s Center, library, and research carrels all housed in the department. We offer graduate assistants the opportunity for independent teaching experiences as well as the usual support duties as teaching and research assistants.

Financial Assistance

There are several forms of financial assistance available to graduate students in the Department of Communication Studies. First, there are graduate fellowships awarded on the basis of superior scholarship, which require a 10-hour per week research assignment. Second, there are several special fellowships offered from the Graduate School annually to students who show promise of success in graduate studies even though their academic records have been only average because of economic or social disadvantages. These special fellowships also have a ten-hour per week research assignment. Third, there are graduate assistantships available which require up to 20 hours per week of service in teaching or research. Finally, there are dissertation research awards for students in their final year of work toward the Ph.D. degree.

The stipends for the above awards are competitive. All the appointments, fellowships and assistantships also include a waiver of tuition (both in-state and out-of-state) for the student, although the student is responsible for student fees. Students who hold assistantship appointments for two consecutive semesters also receive a tuition waiver for the following summer session.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting: Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication Studies, Mail Code 6605, 1100 Lincoln Drive, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois 62901. Applications for fall semester assistantships should be received
by January 15.

The Department of Communication Studies offers two graduate programs of instruction and research in the discipline of human communication leading respectively to the Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Curriculum

The graduate faculty of the department offer course work in rhetoric and society; gender, sexuality and relational communication; intercultural communication pedagogy; and performance studies.

Admissions

Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School and should have completed a minimum of 24 quarter or 16 semester credit hours in communication studies or related subjects. A program for remedying deficiencies in background can be arranged by the department’s Graduate Committee.

Inquiries regarding admission to graduate studies in communication studies should be directed to the director of graduate studies of the Department of Communication Studies. The GRE Aptitude Test is required as a condition for admission. Except for persons from English-speaking countries, international students are required by the department to have a TOEFL score of 600 (paper score) or 250 (computer score), or higher for admission. Each applicant should apply online and upload three letters of recommendation from former instructors. Official transcripts should be mailed directly to the department. In addition, applicants for the Ph.D. degree program may furnish a research paper as evidence of research and writing ability.

This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study in Communication Studies. Applicants must pay this fee by credit card.

Acceptance for graduate study in Communication Studies is determined by the graduate committee of the Department of Communication Studies. Students who are awarded graduate assistantships to provide assistance in the instruction of the department are required to take CMST 539.

Research Style

Each student is required to write a research report, thesis, or dissertation as a requirement of the program. In all cases the writing must conform to the latest edition of The MLA Style Manual or the APA Publication Manual. In all cases the writing must conform to the current edition of the Graduate School Guidelines for the Preparation of Research Reports, Theses, and Dissertations.

Master's Degree Program

A minimum of 30 semester credit hours is required for the M.A. degree. At least 50% of all hours must be at the 500 level. A student who completes only the minimum of 30 hours of work may devote no more than nine hours to work outside the Department of Communication Studies. All students are required to take CMST 501, Introduction to Communication Research. 

The individual student selects or is assigned a faculty adviser no later than the beginning of the second semester. The faculty adviser and the student will plan the program of study.

During the last half of the second semester of course work, the student’s progress shall be reviewed by the advisory committee to determine continuation, change, or termination of the program. The committee for each student shall be responsible for assembling the necessary information (grades, recommendations, progress in curriculum areas, etc.) for consideration in reaching the above decision.

The requirements for the master’s degree may be met by either of the following plans chosen by the student in
consultation with the adviser:

Plan 1: Thesis

Each student must complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours, with no more than six hours or fewer than three hours of thesis credit in CMST 599 counted toward the 30 hour minimum. In addition, the student must register for at least one semester hour of credit in CMST 599 during any academic term in which the services of any faculty member are utilized in the supervision of or consultation concerning the thesis. If the student’s reliance upon faculty assistance justifies, the director may require an appropriately greater number of semester hours in CMST 599. The thesis is submitted to a committee of three members of the graduate faculty, at least two of whom must be from the Department of Communication Studies. The committee must approve the prospectus and will administer an oral examination over the thesis. Students are required to submit their thesis to the Graduate School, one copy to the Department of Communication Studies, and one copy to the thesis director.

Plan 2: Research Report

Each student must complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours, with no more than three hours or fewer than one hour of research report credit in CMST 595 counted toward the 30 hours minimum. A research report is submitted as evidence of research competence. An advisory committee consisting of the student’s adviser and one other member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Communication Studies selected by the student and the adviser, will administer an oral examination over the research report before it is submitted to the Graduate School. One copy of the research report is submitted to the Graduate School, one copy to the Department of Communication Studies, and one copy to the adviser.

A student must have a graduate grade point average of 3.00 in order to be eligible for the master’s degree.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

A student must take 51 semester credit hours of course work beyond the master’s degree, nine hours of which are methodology courses. A minimum of 36 of those 51 hours must be taken within the department. In addition, 24 semester credit hours of dissertation work are required for the Ph.D. degree. Course work outside the department must be germane to one of the departmental curriculum areas for purposes of examination and dissertation research. Throughout the program of study, the student must maintain a 3.00 grade point average in all work taken. If the grade point average drops below the minimum, the student is placed on academic warning for the following two semesters.

During the last half of the second semester of course work, the student’s progress shall be reviewed by the advisory committee to determine continuation, change, or termination of the program. The advisory committee for each student shall be responsible for assembling the necessary information (grades, recommendations, progress in curriculum areas, etc.) for consideration in reaching the above decision.

Advisory Committee

A three-person advisory committee shall be established no later than the beginning of the second semester of graduate study to plan the program of study with each student. The chair of the committee shall act as the primary adviser and sign the graduate course request form. This advisory committee is responsible for certifying to the graduate director that the student has met all departmental requirements for admission to candidacy and has passed the Ph.D. preliminary examination.

The advisory committee and the student will plan the program of study. All students are required to take CMST 501, Introduction to Communication Research and CMST 510, Rhetorical Theory. Students selecting theater as a curriculum area must take 18 hours of communication studies courses including CMST 501 and CMST 510; and THEA 501.

Attendance is required at pro-seminars as part of professional development. Graduate students are encouraged to present their scholarly work.

Preliminary Examination

The student must pass a preliminary examination on his/her program of study. The preparation and administration of the examination are determined by the advisory committee in consultation with the student. The examination is taken at the end of the course work, and no later than one year after completing course work. Delays could lead to dismissal from the program. The advisory committee is disbanded after student passes the preliminary examination.

Dissertation

Each student must register for at least 24 semester hours of dissertation credit in CMST 600 or THEA 600. In addition, the student must register for at least one semester hour of credit in CMST 600 or CMST 601 or THEA 600 or THEA 601 during any academic term in which the services of any faculty member are utilized in the supervision of or consultation concerning the dissertation. If the student’s reliance upon faculty assistance justifies, he/she may be required by the dissertation adviser to register for an appropriately greater number of semester hours.

The dissertation director shall, upon consultation with the student, be responsible for setting up a dissertation committee, supervising the dissertation, and administering the final oral examination. The dissertation committee shall approve the dissertation prospectus and pass upon the completed dissertation and oral examination. Students are required to submit an electronic copy of the dissertation to the Graduate School, one paper copy to the Department of Communication Studies, and one paper copy to the dissertation director.