The Communication Studies program offers a Masters of Arts at the Lawrence and Edwards campus. The degree requirements at both locations are the same. The program in Communication Studies at the University of Kansas is research intensive and primarily designed to train students for careers doing research and teaching in the field of human communication at institutions of higher education. More specifically, our graduate program expects students to focus on one of the department’s two primary areas of research, with a narrower focus on one or two of the research subareas:

  • Relationships & Social Interaction, with an emphasis on digital media, interpersonal, intercultural, and organizational communication.
  • Rhetoric & Political Communication, with an emphasis on argumentation, democratic inclusion, digital media, political institutions, and public memory.

Across both areas of research, our department collectively focuses on communication as it relates to gender, race, social class, national identity, and other cultural indices. Moreover, the department offers training in qualitative, quantitative, and rhetorical methods.

Almost all Communication Studies graduate students are funded through the department as either Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) or Graduate Research Assistants (GRA), which both include competitive stipends, tuition coverage, and health care benefits. In addition, all GTAs and GRAs are provided annual travel assistant to attend academic conferences, and the department awards approximately $25,000 a year in graduate awards for research, teaching, and service.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

Eligibility criteria for admission to the M.A. program follow Graduate Studies' admission policy. Non-native speakers of English must meet English proficiency requirements as described here

For all domestic or international M.A. applicants on the Lawrence or Edwards campuses, please check the application requirements through the MA COMS Admission page.

Potential students must submit a complete online graduate application. For additional questions regarding program requirements and application processes, please contact the chair of the department, Dr. Jay Childers. Applicants may also contact the department directly: 

The University of Kansas
Department of Communication Studies
Bailey Hall
1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 102
Lawrence, KS 66045

M.A. Degree Requirements

Concentration in Communication Studies

For course work areas, see Ph.D. requirements.

Communication Studies

Satisfactory completion of these required courses:

COMS 851Communication Research: Historical and Descriptive3
or COMS 852 Communication Research: Behavioral and Social Science
Select a second methodology course 13
COMS 859Proseminar in Communication Studies3
COMS 899Master's Thesis6
Select at least 6 hours in each of 2 areas of communication6
Select 3 additional credit hours from any communication studies courses or from outside the department3
Final oral examination6
Total Hours30

Nonthesis Option

A nonthesis option is available in communication studies. Requirements for this option include:

Communication Studies
COMS 859Proseminar in Communication Studies3
COMS 851Communication Research: Historical and Descriptive3
or COMS 852 Communication Research: Behavioral and Social Science
Select at least 9 hours in each of 2 areas of communication9
Select 6 hours of electives6
General examination structured as follows: 16
1 hour written over required courses
2 hours written over the first major area of communication
2 hours written over the second major area of communication
1 hour oral examination

KU Edwards Campus M.A. Program

The M.A. also is offered on the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. The requirements for the degree at the Edwards Campus are the same as for the program on the Lawrence campus. Edwards Campus classes are taught by the same faculty members who teach regularly in Lawrence. Courses are scheduled during the late afternoons and evenings to accommodate working professionals.