The Master of Arts in Professional Communication prepares students to work in communication intensive jobs, including social media management, user experience, advertising, public relations, professional writing, human resources, fundraising, event management, general management, training, and consulting, among other things. It fosters basic understanding of communication processes, including:

•    Understanding of the major theoretical concepts and practical applications associated with the study of human communication

•    The ability to conduct scientific research ethically and effectively, to interpret statistical information, and to assess its practical import for understanding communication in the world.

•    Understanding of variables in communication situations, including the number (especially as it impacts interaction), background, interests, and values of participants; language, communication purposes, and contextual factors.

•    Understanding of the implications of a multicultural world on appropriate and effective forms of communication.

•    Understanding of how to adapt to variable communication situations for informative and persuasive purposes.

•    Understanding of special forms of communication such as that related to advertising, public relations, social media, technical writing, and communication technology, among others.

•    The ability to effectively produce and critically analyze persuasive messages.

Students in the MA in Professional Communication must complete 33 total hours, including the core requirements and either Plan I (non-thesis) or Plan II (thesis). They may select electives freely or follow one of the suggested emphases below. All students must complete 33 hours, including 18 hours of 600-level coursework (excluding CM 699).

Core (required of all students)
CM 555
CM 631ADVANCED COMMUNICATION THEORY3
CM 633
CM 670ADVANCED COMMUNICATION METHODS3
CM 675RHETORICAL CRITICISM3

Plan I: MA without Thesis

Choose 18 hours of electives from the list below (including at least 3 hours of 600-level course work, excluding CM 699), which may be freely chosen or may follow one of the suggested emphases identified below

Plan II: MA with Thesis

  • Choose 12 hours of electives from the list below (including at least 3 hours of 600-level course work excluding CM 699), which may follow one of the suggested emphases identified below
  • Six (6) hours of CM 699 Master’s Thesis
Suggested Emphases for Selecting Electives
Social Media
CM 505
CM 635
CM 540
NEW MEDIA WRITING & RHETORIC
User Experience
USER-CENTERED DESIGN
USABILITY STUDIES
INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
Approved Elective
Advertising/Public Relations
CM 505
ADVERTISING
PUBLIC RELATIONS WRITING
CM 640
Professional Writing
NEW MEDIA WRITING & RHETORIC
ACTION RESCH WRITING STUDIES
Six hours selected from one of the following areas:
Technical Writing
THRY & PRACTICE TECHNICAL COMM
PROBS TECHNICAL EDITING
Media Writing
CM 505
NEW MEDIA WRITING & RHETORIC
Communication Studies
CM 521
CONTEMPORARY RHETORICAL THEORY
BURKEIAN THEORY & CRITICISM
COMMUNICATION PEDAGOGY
Human Resources Management
ORGAN THRY, BEHAV & ENVIRONMEN
EMPLOYEE STAFFING & DEVELOP
EMPLOYMENT LAW FOR MANAGERS
STRATEGIC COMPENSATION MGMT
HRM & ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR

Other Areas of Emphasis

Students in the MA in Professional Communication program may request to take up to four courses from other graduate programs that cover areas not included here. For example, Alabama A&M University has graduate emphases in Counseling and in Telecommunications that would be suitable. The Graduate Adviser must approve such courses.

Electives
CM 505
CM 508CLASSICAL RHETORIAL THEORY3
CM 509CONTEMPORARY RHETORICAL THEORY3
CM 518LEGAL ARGUMENT3
CM 520PUBLIC RELATIONS WRITING3
CM 521
CM 526BURKEIAN THEORY & CRITICISM3
CM 530MASS MEDIA IN AMERICA3
CM 533DARK SIDE INTERPERSONAL COMM3
CM 540
CM 544ADVERTISING3
CM 551ORGANIZATIONAL TRAIN & DEVELOP3
CM 610COMMUNICATION PEDAGOGY3
CM 620
CM 640
CM 660
CM 670ADVANCED COMMUNICATION METHODS3
EH 500COMPOSITION STUDIES TCHRS3
EH 501THRY & PRACTICE TECHNICAL COMM3
EH 502PROBS TECHNICAL EDITING3
EH 512SP STUDIES IN CREATIVE WRITING3
EH 554NEW MEDIA WRITING & RHETORIC3
EH 601ACTION RESCH WRITING STUDIES3
EH 602PRACTICUM/TECHNICAL COMM3
EH 603EDITING FOR PUBLICATION3
MGT 560EMPLOYEE STAFFING & DEVELOP3
MGT 561STRATEGIC COMPENSATION MGMT3
MGT 562EMPLOYMENT LAW FOR MANAGERS3
MGT 600ORGAN THRY, BEHAV & ENVIRONMEN3
MGT 631HRM & ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR3