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2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  Jun 02, 2020
2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

School of Journalism and Mass Communications

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Tom Reichert, Dean, College of Information and Communications
Andrea Tanner, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communications
David Lankes, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director, School of Library and Information Science


The School of Journalism and Mass Communications offers the Master of Mass Communication, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. It also offers the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication in cooperation with the School of Library and Information Science and the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior of the Arnold School of Public Health. There are no separate departments, as such, within the school, although course work is offered in electronic and print journalism, advertising, public relations, integrated communications, visual communications, and a wide range of other subjects dealing with the processes and effects of mass communications.

The general regulations of The Graduate School regarding admission, residency, theses and dissertations, admission to candidacy, and comprehensive examinations apply to all graduate work in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Beyond that, the school may request additional writing samples or other evidence of creative work.

Graduate study at the certificate, M.M.C, M.A., and Ph.D. levels in the school is designed to meet the needs of three categories of students:

  1. graduates of approved colleges and universities who have little or no undergraduate work in journalism and mass communications but desire to complete a program of intensive academic and professional preparation for work in the mass communications field;
  2. graduates in journalism and mass communications from accredited programs of journalism and mass communciations and graduates of approved colleges or universities who have received a bachelor’s degree in any field and who have one or more years of professional experience in journalism and mass communications;
  3. graduates of approved master’s degree programs who preferably have two or more years of professional experience in journalism and mass communciations and who wish to obtain a doctoral degree.

Proficiency examinations may be required of applicants. Any deficiencies in an applicant’s academic or professional background for the study of journalism and mass communications may require remedial course work that may not count toward the graduate degree.

Applicants for a graduate degree in journalism and mass communications who do not have professional experience or educational background for the field may be required to complete up to 15 semester hours of undergraduate work in journalism and mass communications.  Camp Carolina, an intensive summer experience, can be used to satisfy many of these requirements. Each applicant’s case will be evaluated individually to determine the amount, if any, of remedial work required. These remedial courses are usually designated as prerequisites for more advanced courses, numbered 500 or above, which will become part of the student’s plan of graduate study. Graduate students may, with approval of the associate director for graduate studies, enroll for some of these undergraduate courses at the same time they are enrolled in graduate courses. For example, a student enrolled in a 700-level seminar in media law may also be enrolled in an undergraduate skills course in basic news reporting; the student would earn graduate credit for the 700-level seminar but not for the 300-level news reporting class.

Applicants who cannot demonstrate a basic knowledge of statistics (e.g. successful completion of undergraduate basic statistics course) must complete a course from an approved list before registering for JOUR 701  or JOUR 801 . Such a course should be completed early in the student’s program and may count toward the graduate degree only if it is 500-level or above.


An applicant for admission to the M.M.C. or M.A. degree programs, or the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication, will be evaluated on a combination of factors: undergraduate grades; performance on the GRE; previous professional experience, especially if that experience is in mass media-related positions; recommendations and the written statement of objectives, in which the applicant outlines reasons for seeking a graduate degree in mass communications.

Successful applicants usually present an undergraduate grade average of at least 3.00 and a combined GRE score (verbal and quantitative) of 1000 and a 4.5 or higher on the analytical portion. The typical graduate student in the program exceeds these standards. However, applicants who are unusually promising in other ways—e.g., they have compiled solid professional experience or have overcome formidable obstacles along the way—have been accepted and have done well. International students, in addition to the above, must present a score of at least 600 (250 computer-based score) or 95, depending on the exam taken, on the TOEFL exam. Potential applicants who have questions about their qualifications for admission are encouraged to contact the school’s manager of graduate student services.

Applicants to the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication must have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree and meet the general requirements of The Graduate School. Applicants may request that significant professional experience be substituted for standardized test scores.

Admission to the doctoral program is voted on individually by the school’s graduate council after consideration of a number of factors. These include the applicant’s academic record (especially work done at the master’s level), performance on the GRE, professional experience, recommendations, and the applicant’s personal statement outlining reasons for applying for doctoral study and career hopes and expectations. Preference is given to applicants with at least two years of experience as journalism and mass communications professionals. A GRE combined score (verbal and quantitative) of 1200 and a 5.0 or higher on the analytical portion is expected, though exceptions occasionally have been made for applicants with unusually strong professional backgrounds or other evidence of outstanding professional and intellectual promise. International applicants are expected to present a TOEFL score of at least 600 (250 computer-based score) or 75, depending on the exam taken.

Doctoral students normally must have completed, or be in the final stages of, a master’s degree. In exceptional circumstances, a student with a baccalaureate degree may be admitted directly into the doctoral program, with the understanding that the student will first complete the usual requirements for the master’s degree while studying for the doctorate. In such cases, the usual doctoral requirements of 36 hours of course work beyond the master’s plus a dissertation will apply. A prior master’s degree need not be in journalism/mass communications, although a student whose master’s degree is in another field may need additional course work.

More information is available on the school’s graduate Web site at, which each student should consult as an unofficial supplement to the University’s Graduate Studies Bulletin.

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