College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2021-2022

School of Communication

Communication, Master of Arts

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The MA in Communication provides students with advanced skills in communication analysis, problem solving, critical thinking, research, theoretical application, argumentation, and written communication.  Students choose from either the MA in Communication (with no emphasis) or the MA in Communication with an emphasis in Documentary Studies.
 
The MA in Communication provides a foundation of the basic research methods, theories, and standards of argument in the academic study of communication.  Students explore theories and research in a variety of communicative contexts with an emphasis on the application of concepts, theories, and research to real-world issues.  Students will be able to access, understand, evaluate, and apply research, concepts, and theories.  Students will engage in original research and/or the application of existing research, concepts, and theories to specific situations for the purpose of problem-solving and/or evaluation, including effective message design.  Students will learn the expectations of academic argument in communication as well as how to effectively communicate their findings to diverse audiences.  The MA in Communication (with no emphasis) will be of relevance to working professionals in a variety of fields, educators, activists, and those preparing to pursue a PhD in Communication, Communication Studies, Rhetoric, or related disciplines.
 
The Documentary Studies emphasis provides a solid grounding in the theoretical, critical, and practical traditions that inform documentary work.  Students engage in intensive research and fieldwork, professional production skills in storytelling, and learn to critically analyze media in terms of both content and craft.   Particular attention is given to the role of documentary as social critique and bringing untold, under-reported, and under-represented issues and peoples into the public eye.  The program is ideally suited to prepare students for today's world of cutting-edge multimedia journalism, documentary work, as well as preparation for PhD programs in cinema and media studies.

The Strategic Communication emphasis will provide a rigorous understanding of media effects, public opinion, persuasion theories, audience measurement, and consumer behavior in the digital age. The diverse range of faculty experts will engage with students to explore theory, practice, and application of research applied to the merchandising, advertising, and public relations fields with a focus on quantitative methods. The emphasis is designed to lead to greater leadership opportunities that are needed to achieve business communication goals and manage company reputations and retail purchases.  Students will elevate their essential skills in marketing research, social media management, audience engagement, and public sector communication via project-based learning. The program is suited for students who enter the advertising, public relations, or merchandising industries and those students who plan to continue on to doctoral studies in communication, media, or strategic communication.

Student Learning Outcomes
 
 Core Student Learning Outcomes
  • Learn and apply basic research methods in Communication scholarship.
  • Demonstrate ability to plan, conduct, and disseminate a research project in human communication.
  • Understand, synthesize, and explain the historical development of Communication as an academic field of inquiry.
  • Integrate and apply knowledge of communication theories to multiple contexts of human communication.
  • Utilize communication constructs, theories and concepts to define, evaluate, and manage real-world problems, conflicts, and events.
  • Develop skills in constructing and presenting messages to diverse audiences.
    Communication Studies Emphasis Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrate ability to plan, conduct, and disseminate a research project in human communication.
  • Understand, synthesize, and explain major research methods in Communication Studies.
  • Integrate and apply knowledge of communication theories to multiple contexts of human communication.
  • Develop skills in constructing and presenting messages to diverse audiences.
Documentary Studies Emphasis Learning Outcomes
  • Engage a theoretical and historical understanding of documentary as rooted in the traditions of creative storytelling and social critique.
  • Apply heightened skills of observation, critical thinking, and creativity to the stories of untold, under-reported, and under-represented issues and peoples; bring these stories to the public eye.
  • Create and distribute a variety of documentary projects in different forms at an advanced level to diverse populations.
  • Realize that production tools and techniques are a means to author a unique point of view shaped by the documentarian's philosophical sensibilities and ways of seeing the world.
Strategic Communication Emphasis Learning Outcomes
  • Understand theories of media effects, public opinion, persuasion, and consumer behavior in a rapidly changing digital age
  • Explore the theory, practice, and application of research applied to the advertising, merchandising, and publication relations fields with a focus on quantitative methods
  • Expand theoretical understanding of social media use at the individual, organizational, and societal level
  • Deliver actionable insights for organizations with effective oral and written communication skills via project-based learning
  • Develop teaching/leadership experience for key topics related to strategic communication
  • Pivot brand messaging and marketing strategies using evidence-based approaches
  • Investigate the metrics, measurements, and evaluations for assessing the effectiveness of social and digital strategies
  • Examine the interrelationship of appearance and consumer behavior and the consumer decision making process
  • Appreciate the contributions of theoretical perspectives from various social sciences in understanding consumer behavior with respects to dress and apparel

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