Graduate Studies

Communication 2011-2012

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements | Profile

Chairperson:  Peter F. Jorgensen
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Ilon Lauer
Office: Memorial 302
Telephone: (309) 298-1507 Fax: (309) 298-2369
Location of Program Offering: Macomb

Graduate Faculty

  • Judith Dallinger, Ph.D., University of Nebraska
  • Ken Hawkinson, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University
  • Peter F. Jorgensen, Ph.D., University of Arizona
  • Lisa A. Miczo, Ph.D., University of Arizona

Associate Professors

  • Maceio Ilon Lauer, Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • Nathan Miczo, Ph.D., University of Arizona
  • John Miller, Ph.D., Wayne State University

Assistant Professor

  • Breanna McEwan, Ph.D., Arizona State University

Associate Graduate Faculty
Associate Professor

  • Mary Hogg, Ph.D., University of Iowa

Assistant Professor

  • Jaime Bochantin, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
  • Christopher Carpenter, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Tessa Pfafman, Ph.D., University of Missouri
  • Doshik Yun, Ph.D., Michigan State University

  Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Communication emphasizes both theoretical and applied knowledge. The general communication program offers students higher levels of knowledge, skills, theory, research, and practical experience in the communication discipline. Students often participate in seminars and one-to-one work with faculty members.

Graduates of the program pursue professional careers in a broad range of business and educational organizations or continue their graduate education beyond the master’s level.

  Admission Requirements

Students must have a 2.75 cumulative GPA or 3.0 GPA in their last two academic years in order to be considered for regular admission to the graduate program in communication. Those not holding at least an undergraduate minor in communication or those deficient in undergraduate courses, skills, or advanced theoretical knowledge may be asked, upon evaluation of their transcripts, to make up deficiencies prior to full graduate standing.

All students applying to the program must provide a written goals statement explaining their decision to pursue a graduate degree in Communication from Western Illinois University. Also, an example of scholarly writing (minimum of 5 pages) must be submitted with the application materials.

International students must have an overall TOEFL score of at least 237 (580 paper score; 92 internet-based).

If and when deficiencies exist in the applicant's undergraduate curriculum, specific undergraduate courses will be assigned to such an individual until the candidate has demonstrated a sufficient level of competence in the designated areas of concern. Deficiency courses do not apply toward graduate credit. Possible deficiency courses include:


COMM 130 Introduction to Human Communication
COMM 247 Argumentation
COMM 311 Research Design in Communication
COMM 312 Rhetorical Criticism
COMM 343 Organizational Communication
COMM 344 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 356 Introduction to Persuasion
CSD 020N English for International Students

Each applicant will be evaluated on an individual basis; hence the nature and the number of courses to be made up (if any) will vary from student to student. The suggested menu of deficiency courses, therefore, should not be construed as all inclusive nor as specific.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for regular admission to the Communication graduate program.

Students entering the Communication program must enroll during either the fall or spring semester.

  Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts degree in Communication requires a minimum of 33 semester hours of course work, to be distributed as follows:

I. Core Courses: 9 s.h.

COMM 500 Introduction to Graduate Study (3)
COMM 504 Empirical Research in Human Communication (3)
COMM 506 Message Production (3)

II. Directed Departmental Electives: 9 s.h.

Directed electives must be at the 500 level, excluding COMM 520, COMM 596, COMM 601, COMM 602, COMM 603 and COMM 679.

III. Exit Options (Select one): 15–16 s.h.


COMM 601 Thesis (6)
Directed Electives (9)

B.Creative Project

COMM 602 Creative Projects (3)
Directed Electives (12)

C. Research Paper

COMM 603 Research Paper (1)
Directed Electives (15)

TOTAL PROGRAM: 33–34 s.h.

  Course Descriptions


409G Communication and Conflict Management. (3) Study of the role of communication in conflict. Consideration of the major theories of conflict and conflict management. Prerequisite: COMM 311.

410G Theory and Methodology in Interpersonal Communication. (3) Study of theory, concepts and methodology relevant to dyadic interaction. Examination of, and participation in, field, survey, and experimental studies of interpersonal behavior. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 344; ENG 180 and 280.

413G Advanced Organizational Communication. (3) Study of communication in small groups and organizational settings. Examination of field, survey, and experimental studies contributing to the understanding and improvement of group and organizational communication. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 343; ENG 180 and 280.

425G Health Communication. (3) This course will survey a number of topics relevant to both the institutional settings of medicine (e.g., doctor-patient interaction; media campaigns) as well as the interpersonal ramifications of illness (e.g., social support). Prerequisite: COMM 130.

441G Rhetoric and Public Culture. (3) The study of rhetoric’s power to shape and sustain public culture. Students learn how rhetoric influences civic and cultural life and execute an independent project examining the rhetorical strategies, argumentative approaches and cultural significance of an influential rhetorical debate.

456G Persuasive Campaigns. (3) Study of the design and execution of persuasive campaigns. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 356; COMM 241; ENG 180 and 280.

480G Special Topics in Communication. (1-3, repeatable to 6, for different topics, with permission of department chair) This course deals with selected topics of interest in communication, such as nonverbal communication, intercultural communication, and family communication. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; completion of at least 12 s.h. in communication.

500 Introduction to Graduate Study. (3) Introduction to major theories and concepts relevant to the field. Includes orientation to the communication discipline, as well as exposure to experience in scholarly writing. Prerequisite: Communication majors only.

501 Seminar in Interpersonal Communication. (3) Study of major theories, concepts, and methodologies relevant to interpersonal communication.

503 Seminar in Persuasion. (3) Examination of major theories and related research dealing with communication and attitude formation, change, and reinforcement processes.

504 Empirical Research in Human Communication. (3) Introduction to research design, statistics and empirical measurement as applied to the study of human communication. Prerequisite: Communication majors only.

506 Message Production. (3) Study of contemporary communication theories with a focus on message design and production. Prerequisite: Communication majors only.

508 Seminar in Rhetorical Theory. (3) Studies of historical and contemporary rhetorical theories.

510 Seminar in Organizational Communication. (3) Examines theoretical and practical organizational communication frameworks with a focus on understanding current issues and challenges in modern organizations.

520 Research in Communication and Broadcasting. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Independent study or guided experience. Prerequisite: Completion of nine semester hours of core course requirements.

538 Teaching Speech in College. (3) Guidance in planning units of instruction, writing objectives, devising strategies, teaching units, and evaluating speech performance in a college classroom situation. Includes practical application of principles and methods.

539 Seminar in Communication. (3, repeatable to 9) Consideration of philosophies of communication and review of current literature in the field.

596 Graduate Internship. (1–3, repeatable to 3) Supervised applied experience at a work site outside the Department of Communication. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Completion of at least 18 semester hours of Communication course work and approval of the graduate adviser and departmental supervisor.

601 Thesis. (3, 6, repeatable to 6) Prerequisite: Completion of 18 semester hours of course work.

602 Creative Project. (3) Prerequisite: Completion of 18 semester hours of course work.

603 Research Paper. (1) This exit option will require students to complete a major revision of a previously written graduate seminar paper. The graduate student will work with the professor of record for the seminar chosen with the goal of revising the seminar paper until it would meet general expectations for being accepted for presentation at a national conference. Prerequisites: Completion of 27 semester hours of coursework.