The master’s degree provides students with knowledge of communication scholarship and develops their ability to analyze complex communication situations. The program is intended to serve two groups of students: (a) those planning to pursue the PhD degree, either at CU-Boulder or at another institution; and (b) those interested in finding employment in other sectors (e.g., for-profit businesses, government, nonprofit organizations and other types of community groups). Students wishing to continue in the department’s PhD program following completion of the master’s degree must reapply at that time and be accepted into the program.

Administration of the master’s degree program conforms to all CU-Boulder graduate school rules regarding matters such as residency requirements, time for completion of degree and maximum number of transfer credit hours. The master’s program has two options for the completion of requirements: thesis or comprehensive examination.

In the first semester of the master’s program, students should consult their temporary advisor (the associate chair of graduate studies) about these two program options, appropriate coursework and faculty members who might best serve as a permanent advisor and as committee members for the program options, with students subsequently meeting with those faculty members to discuss common interests. By the second semester (before the completion of 12 credit hours), students should select a permanent advisor and decide whether they will choose the thesis or comprehensive examination option.

In the beginning of their second year (assuming a course load of 9 hours per semester), students should submit to the associate chair of graduate studies a completed MA Program of Study Form (which indicates all coursework to be completed). Students selecting the thesis option should hold a committee meeting early in that second year to approve the thesis proposal. Toward the end of their second year, a final committee meeting is held for students to orally defend the thesis or the comprehensive examination. Students must be registered on the CU-Boulder campus as regular degree-seeking students during the semester that the thesis or final comprehensive examination is passed.

For both the thesis option and the comprehensive examination option, coursework may include a maximum of 6 hours of independent study and/or internship combined. A maximum of 9 hours may be transferred from graduate work completed in/at other programs and/or institutions (including other University of Colorado campuses, such as the University of Colorado Denver). A maximum of 9 credit hours of courses may be taken outside the departmentTransfer and outside department courses combined may not exceed 12 credit hours. Courses in which a grade of C- or below is received are not counted toward the master’s degree.

Degree Plans

  • MA Program Requirements: Thesis Option
  • MA Program Requirements: Comprehensive Examination Option

View program requirements »