Communication and Media

Graduate Program Student Outcomes Assessment

Graduate Program (September 2008)

The Graduate Program of the Department of Communication Studies updated their mission and goals in September, 2008, and have been collecting and analyzing data for 1-2 goals per year since then, making needed curricular changes as a result.


Mission Statement


The Graduate Program in the Department of Communication Studies provides students with Master’s level training in communication studies and helps them further prepare for specific career choices, including study at the Ph.D. level, teaching, and non-academic professional applications. The program offers six areas of specialization: Communication Education, General Communication, Mass Communication, Organizational Communication, Performance Studies, and Public Relations. In each of these areas, our mission is to cultivate practicing scholars who can critically apply theories and research methods in the public and professional arenas they serve. We seek to provide our students with opportunities to enhance practice with theory, and theory with practice, recognizing that a balanced relationship between the two is necessary to create thoughtful, effective scholarly, professional, and creative work.


Goal 1 Communication History/TheoryStudents will understand the historical development of theory and scholarship within communication studies.   

1a. Students will list and discuss the historical precedents and contemporary applications of a variety of theories.

1b. Students will comprehend, apply, and evaluate several theories appropriate to the study and production of communication.

1c. Students will analyze and describe the role of communication in the construction, maintenance, and alteration of culture and meaning.

1d. Students will be able to identify and articulate their own theoretical perspective.

1e. Students will be able to identify the way evolving communication theories and technologies impact communication ethics.


Goal 2 Communication Research MethodsStudents will understand appropriate methodologies to ethically examine questions within the communication studies discipline/profession.

2a. Students will understand multiple research methods and their role and application in knowledge construction.

2b. Students will demonstrate graduate-level proficiency in selecting and using research methods appropriate for production of a thesis/research paper/creative project.

2c. Students will use ethical procedures in conducting their research.

2d. Students will adhere to IRB standards for all research conducted.


Goal 3 Communication SkillsStudents will understand and apply oral and written communication skills in relevant contexts.

3a. Students will compose written essays throughout the course of graduate study that conform to nationally recognized standards for professional or scholarly production and publication.

3b. Students will author a thesis/research paper/creative project that conforms to nationally recognized standards for scholarly/creative production and publication at the graduate level.

3c. Students will make oral presentations at regular points throughout the course of graduate study (in the graduate seminar, prospectus presentation, thesis/research paper/creative project presentation) that demonstrate increasingly sophisticated skills in oral communication.

3d. Students will be able to identify the ethical issues implicated in their communication choices.

3e. Students will understand the norms of professional communication.


Goal 4 Communication Praxis and Community Engagement: Students will integrate communication theories with practices/actions that enhance engagement with civic and/or professional communities. 

4a. Students will formulate a thesis/research paper/creative project topic that identifies locations in which theory and practice intersect. 

4b. Students will develop a method for disseminating the results of the thesis/research paper/creative project to relevant civic and/or professional communities.

4c. Students will identify the ways in which theories should inform practice.