University General Course Catalog 2022-2023 
    Jun 19, 2024  

Communication Studies, M.A.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs in the College of Liberal Arts

The M.A. Program in Communication Studies focuses on communication and social justice, and prepares students to create responsible communication to achieve greater equity and inclusion in interpersonal relationships, workplaces, and society. 

The curriculum prepares students for careers in academia or for careers as socially conscious workers in non- or for-profit organizations. Students will leave with expertise in Communication Studies, and also with expertise in social justice theories and techniques for effective advocacy, just policy development, and ethical interpersonal interactions.

Contact Information

Amy Pason, Graduate Program Director
(775) 682-8349

Department of Communication Studies 
(775) 784-3689

Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to identify theories, concepts, and figures in the communication studies discipline and how the study of communication is applied to academic and non-academic settings with emphasis on social justice.
  2. Students will be able to explain different communication contexts and situations as well as appropriate communication strategies to understand difference and analyze power.
  3. Students will be able to integrate and synthesize theory and research from across disciplines in order to make ethical social justice interventions.
  4. Students will be able to apply systematic inquiry and research methods specific to communication studies in developing and answering questions related to social justice and related communication topics.
  5. Students will be able to examine their own communication preferences and biases and demonstrate reflexivity in order to engage in ethically-based communication.

Admission Requirements

Students wishing to apply to the Master of Arts degree program should submit the following required materials:

  • Statement of Purpose for Graduate Study.
  • Within your statement of purpose, you should address your qualifications, goals, and expectations for graduate study. Address how earning an MA in our program fits with your career or educational goals. Include the specific area of communication studies research or communication issue you wish to explore more as part of your degree program, which could also include faculty you would like to work with while in the program. In order for us to best assess if our program is a good fit, the statement should be clear on both what you want to study and why, as well as how our specific program meets your objectives.
    • If you are interested in a graduate assistantship, please note any experience or how such an assistantship will fit with your educational or career goals.
  • Contact information for three references (at least one reference should address your aptitude for graduate study).
  • Additional documents as required by the Graduate School (including transcripts and CV/Resume).
Application deadlines:

For Fall, apply by January 15th.

I. Program Requirements

Students pursuing the Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies can opt for Plan A (thesis plan) or Plan B (non-thesis plan).

A. Required Courses

C. Outside Electives

Pre-approved electives:

  • Any 600/700 level course in CRJ, ENG, GRI, JM, JOUR, SOC, SRJS

Other electives as approved by Communication Studies Graduate Program Director or student’s advisor.


  • Students with teaching assistantships are required to take COM 705 .
  • 18 units must be COM courses.
  • A maximum of 12 units can be transferred into the degree program through Graduate Special Status or transfer credit.
  • A maximum of 18 graduate credits completed from a relevant University of Nevada, Reno graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s degree program of study.
  • For Plan A students, at least 9 units, exclusive of thesis, at the 700 level.  For Plan B students, at least 12 units at the 700 level.
  • All graduate courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better in order to satisfy graduate program requirements. Grades of a “C-” or below are considered failing grades in graduate school and will not count in a student’s program of study.

II. Total Units (30 units)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs in the College of Liberal Arts