Master of Arts in Professional Communication

Program Director
Jeffrey Tyus, Ph.D.
2015 Bliss Hall

Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Professional Communication is designed for professionals in any organizational setting who wish to develop advanced communication knowledge and skills, as an end in itself or as preparation for a doctoral degree. In profit and non-profit, academic or non-academic settings, the program learning outcomes will be beneficial to anyone, but especially to managers and administrators.

Graduates will:

  • demonstrate how theory guides practice in professional communication;
  • write effectively for multiple audiences using current technologies;
  • develop strategies for effective organizational marketing;
  • acquire advanced analytical and research skills appropriate to organizations;
  • gain effectiveness in face-to-face and computer mediated interpersonal relationships; and
  • appreciate ethical communication choices necessary for today’s professionals.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the College of Graduate Studies admission requirements, to be admitted to the MA program, students must submit the following information for consideration.

  • A current resume outlining academic and professional experience
  • A letter of interest explaining how the candidate’s academic and/or professional experience and goals align with the MA program
  • Official transcript(s) documenting a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The applicant must send one transcript from each college or university attended, except YSU, to Graduate Admissions in Coffelt Hall.
  • Three completed recommendation forms
  • Evidence of graduate-level writing and critical thinking skills in the form of any one of the following:
    • a 5 to 10 page individual writing sample,
    • or a score of 3.5 or higher on the GRE Analytical Writing assessment,
    • or a score of 155 of higher on the GRE Verbal assessment.

Students who do not meet the requirements for admission to the MA program may be admitted on a provisional basis with a score of 3.5 or higher on the GRE Analytical Writing assessment.

Faculty Research Interests

Communication Studies

Rebecca M. L. Curnalia, Ph.D., Professor
Informational and emotional content and effects of political communications; informational and emotional processing; political knowledge; political attitudes; vote choice; political motives; fear appeals; gender bias; grassroots campaigns

Adam C. Earnheardt, Ph.D., Professor
Sports media and fandom; media ethics; social media platforms; applications and campaigns; interpersonal and organizational conflict management and negotiation; public speaking and communication pedagogy

Cary Wecht, Ph.D., Professor
Nexus of media use and interpersonal communication; communibiology paradigm; business communication; use of media during 9/11; reality television

English (Professional AND TECHNICAL WRITING)

Diana Awad-Scrocco, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Professional and technical writing; medical rhetoric and communication; composition pedagogy; writing center theory and practice

Jay L. Gordon, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Rhetoric; technical and professional communication; document design; pedagogy of writing


Kendra Fowler, Ph.D., Professor
Services marketing; retailing

Bruce Keillor, Ph.D., Professor, Chair
Marketing strategy; firm-level political strategy; cross-cultural marketing

Christina Saenger, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Consumer behavior; social media; identity; branding

Doori Song, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Advertising effect; consumer motivation; information processing; emerging media

Ying Wang, Ph.D., Professor
Integrated marketing communication; brand communication; international marketing; e-marketing

The Master of Arts in Professional Communication will draw on the coursework and strengths of a concentration on Communication Studies (in the Department of Communication), while allowing students to pursue non-Communication Studies elective options in two additional areas:

  • Professional Writing and Editing (in the Department of English), and
  • Marketing (in the Department of Marketing through the OMBA program).

Students will take courses according to the following plan:

Thesis Option

Core Courses9
Introduction to Graduate Study
Applied Research Methods
Measurement and Analysis
Choose three Professional Communication Skills courses from the options below9
Persuasion and New Media
Computer Mediated Communication Research
Organizational Communication Research
Group Dynamics: Theory and Research
Communication for the Classroom Teacher (*Required course for all teaching assistants as a condition of employment)
Choose two electives from CMST, ENGL or MKTG/OMBA6
Thesis Option6
Total Semester Hours30

Capstone (Non-Thesis) Option

Core Courses9
Introduction to Graduate Study
Applied Research Methods
Measurement and Analysis
Choose three Professional Communication Skills courses from the options below (for a total of 9 s.h.)9
Persuasion and New Media
Computer Mediated Communication Research
Group Dynamics: Theory and Research
Organizational Communication Research
Communication for the Classroom Teacher (*Required course for all teaching assistants as a condition of employment)
Choose two electives (6 s.h. total) from CMST, ENGL, MKTG/OMBA6
Capstone (Non-Thesis) Option6
Total Semester Hours30

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the communication discipline, our relationship to other disciplines, debates and differences, and your own specialization in the field.
  2. Apply, critique, and differentiate between Communication theories, perspectives, principles, concepts, and approaches to studying communication.
  3. Engage in Communication scholarship using the research traditions of the discipline with results that contribute to scholarly and professional conversations.
  4. Create messages appropriate to the audience, purpose, and context, and reflect on the effectiveness of those messages.
  5. Articulate personal beliefs about abilities to accomplish communication goals and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in achieving those goals.
  6. Identify, explain, and apply ethical communication principles and practices.

Graduate Courses

CMST 5852    Conflict Management and Negotiation    3 s.h.

An in-depth analysis of the theories and variables influencing conflict management, resolution, and negotiation. Includes strategies and skills for meditation and arbitration.
Prereq.: Junior Standing.

CMST 5860    Persuasion and New Media    3 s.h.

Introduction to persuasion theory and application of theory to new communication media.
Prereq.: Junior standing.

CMST 5889    Theory of Sports and Communication    3 s.h.

CMST 5889. An overview of sports and communication, their symbiotic relationship and the social, cultural, and political impact of that relationship.
Prereq.: Junior Standing.

CMST 5898    Seminar    3 s.h.

A cooperative exploration of topics in communication studies. May be repeated up to 6 semester hours.
Prereq.: Junior standing.

CMST 5898W    Seminar: Media Analysis    3 s.h.

CMST 6900    Introduction to Graduate Study    3 s.h.

Orientation to teaching, learning, and research in the communication discipline for new graduate students.

CMST 6945    Communication for the Classroom Teacher    3 s.h.

The study of communication theory and practice appropriate for the prospective classroom teacher. Theories and application exercises focus on interpersonal communication, group communication, and classroom speaking.

CMST 6950    Computer Mediated Communication Research    3 s.h.

Theory, research, and application of CMC including examination of computer communication theories and relevant research methodologies, web design theory and critiques, blogging, podcasting, e-mailing, social media, multimedia storytelling. Design, implementation, and evaluation of CMC.

CMST 6953    Group Dynamics: Theory and Research    3 s.h.

Theory and research of group processes, critical thinking and creativity strategies, theory of group leadership and teamwork, conflict management and mediation, advanced group decision-making and problem solving, motivational strategies.

CMST 6957    Organizational Communication Research    3 s.h.

Applies theories of organizational communication to a chosen organization. Culminates with report and presentation.

CMST 6970    Internship    3 s.h.

Communication-related work in a professional setting.
Prereq.: Special approval required.

CMST 6980    Applied Research Methods    3 s.h.

Introduction to and application of qualitative research methods relevant to business communication settings.

CMST 6990    Measurement and Analysis    3 s.h.

Research processes using social scientific, quantitative methodologies and practical experience in conducting research. Essential skill development in research design, measurement, data collection and data analysis.

CMST 6991    Communication Problems: Independent Study    3 s.h.

Individual study and practical application of communication research principles to various organizational, group and mediated communication problems.

CMST 6994    Capstone    3 s.h.

Applied research paper on a communication topic. Oral presentation required. For non-thesis option students only. Thesis option students should take CMST 6995: Thesis.
Prereq.: Completion of the MA core courses.

CMST 6995    Thesis    1-6 s.h.

Research study on an applied communication topic. Oral presentation required. Total of 6 s.h. required for the MA thesis option. For thesis option students only. Non-thesis option students should take CMST 6994: Capstone.
Prereq.: Completion of the MA core courses.