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Mass Communication M.S.

The dynamic Mass Communication master’s program has a slogan: A time to reflect, a time to advance. Whether the goal is to become a professor, conduct research, or enhance a media career, graduate studies can be tailored to suit each student’s needs. Master’s candidates can choose either a thesis or a professional project track whether for a traditional approach to scholarship or for working professionals seeking to further their careers. Within the thesis track, MTSU is one of the few universities that offers either a qualitative or quantitative focus. Members of the nationally and internationally recognized faculty have a wide range of professional and academic experience. Offerings include specializations in journalism, management, public relations, advertising, health communication, international communication, traditional/new media, and media law. Students are encouraged to think critically and develop creatively with support from peers, guidance from faculty, and resources for research and production. The relatively small size of graduate classes allows for individualized attention to students. Assistantships are available, as well as awards, fellowships, and other financial support.

Journalism professor explores gender roles via ‘Mad Men’

Journalism professor explores gender roles via ‘Mad Men’

Dr. Jane Marcellus, professor in the MTSU School of Journalism, is author of two books on gender and labor. Her latest book (co-authored with Erika Engstrom, Tracy Lucht, and Kimberly Wilmot Voss) is entitled Mad Men and Working Women: Feminist Perspectives on Historical Power, Resistance, and Otherness (Peter Lang, 2014). The authors explore gender and women’s labor in the 1960s through the lens of AMC-TV's Mad Men. Marcellus wrote  Business Girls and Two-Job Wives: Emerging Media Stereotypes of Employed Women (Hampton Press, 2011) and has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, American Journalism, Feminist Media Studies, and Women’s Studies—An Interdisciplinary Journal. Awards include the David Sloan Award for top faculty paper and the Maurine Beasley Award for outstanding women's history paper, both from the American Journalism Historians Association. She is faculty adviser for the MTSU School of Journalism's chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha.

EMC’s Quarles studies media abroad in Australia, Cambodia

EMC’s Quarles studies media abroad in Australia, Cambodia

Dr. Jan Quarles, professor in MTSU’s Electronic Media Communication Department, has been a postdoctoral collaborative research Fulbright scholar to Australia, where she spent a year in the newsrooms of The Age, The Sun, and The Herald in Melbourne. She completed a Senior Specialist Fulbright to the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. She is a Salzburg Seminar Fellow, an AEJMC Journalism Leadership in Diversity Fellow, and an RTNDA Excellence in the Newsroom Fellow. Prior to her work at MTSU, Quarles directed the public relations program at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Victoria, Australia, and worked with the Public Relations Institute of Australia to develop accreditation of university programs. She is the co-author (with Bill Rowlings) of Practising Public Relations: A Case Study Approach (Melbourne: Longman Cheshire, 1993). She currently teaches and conducts research in the area of international communication.

The Mass Communication M.S. program has a successful placement record for students. The MTSU master’s degree also has a national reputation for preparing students for doctoral study at prestigious programs throughout the nation. Some potential professional careers include

  • Advertising executive
  • Content manager
  • Designer account executive
  • Director of communication
  • Director of marketing
  • Director of management
  • Editor
  • Health care communication
  • Media expert
  • Professor
  • Public relations executive
  • Reporter
  • Researcher
  • Writer (professional/technical)

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Apple
  • Bohan Advertising
  • Bone McAllester Norton
  • Courthouse News Service
  • Dupuch Publications
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Emeril's Homebase
  • Jarrard, Phillips, Cate, & Hancock
  • Sherwin-Williams Paints
  • The Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union
  • The Tennessean
  • TNA Impact Wrestling
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • University of Illinois
  • Washington State University
  • WESTMARC

Graduate

The College of Mass Communication offers the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Mass Communication, designed for students seeking an advanced degree in mass media theory and methods of research or for those wishing to advance in their professional field. The degree is appropriate for students who wish to become researchers or pursue a doctoral degree or for media professionals already in the field who seek a broader understanding of the field of mass communication and to develop research and management skills for decision-making in media-related businesses.

A graduate minor in Mass Communication is also available.

Applicants to the M.S. in Mass Communication program must have

  • an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college with official transcripts;
  • an acceptable grade point average (GPA) in all coursework completed;
  • acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)—a  combined score of 291 (current scale) or 900 (former scale) on the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE is usually required.
  • a 500-word Statement of Purpose outlining academic interests and professional goals;
  • three letters of reference

All students in the Mass Communication graduate program must take MC 6000 and 6010 among their first year of coursework.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS  tab above.

Apply Now!

Mass Communication, M.S.

Robert Kalwinsky, Program Director
(615) 904-8366
Robert.Kalwinsky@mtsu.edu

The College of Mass Communication offers the Master of Science degree in Mass Communication. A graduate minor in Mass Communication is also offered.

The degree is designed for students seeking an advanced degree in mass media theory and methods of research. The degree is appropriate for students who may wish to become researchers or as a prerequisite for pursuing a doctoral degree. The degree is also relevant to media professionals in fields such as advertising, electronic media, journalism, public relations, publishing, or recording industries seeking to broaden their understanding of the field of mass communication and to develop research and management skills relevant to decision making in media-related organizations.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Science in Mass Communication requires

  1. an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college;
  2. an acceptable grade point average (GPA) in all coursework completed;
  3. acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)-a score of 291 (current scale) or 900 (former scale) combined on the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE is usually required for admission to the degree program.

NOTE: Students may take up to 6 credit hours (two courses) before being admitted to the program. However, one of the courses MUST be MC 6000 or MC 6010. Enrollment in all other courses in the program requires permission of the graduate director.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  3. submit a 500-word essay;
  4. submit three letters of recommendation;
  5. submit acceptable GRE scores.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Mass Communication requires completion of a minimum of 36 hours.

Candidate must

  1. complete 36 hours (see Curriculum below for specifics);
  2. submit and defend either a written thesis or a professional project concentrating on an area of particular interest by exhibiting in-depth independent research (if admitted for or after Fall 2010 semester). The thesis results in the production of traditional academic research; the professional project results in the application of research knowledge to a professional production or other project;
  3. pass a written comprehensive examination.

Curriculum: Mass Communication

Candidate must complete 36 semester hours in the following course of study:

Required courses (21 hours)

  • MC 6000 - The Science of Communication

    3 credit hours

    Quantitative and qualitative research dealing with the uses and effects of mass communication.

  • MC 6010 - Cultural Studies in Communication

    3 credit hours

    Relationship of communication to culture with particular emphasis on the everyday life contexts of media audiences.

  • MC 6110 - Quantitative Research Methods  3 credit hours  (required research tool)

    MC 6110 - Quantitative Research Methods

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MC 6000. Techniques of communication research emphasizing survey and experimental methods. Sampling, questionnaire construction, data gathering, and statistical methods.

  • MC 6120 - Qualitative Research Methods  3 credit hours  (required research tool)

    MC 6120 - Qualitative Research Methods

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MC 6010. Techniques of communication research emphasizing participant observation, ethnography, and focus groups. Interviewing, observation, problems of generalization, ethics of fieldwork.

  • MC 6300 - Media Law and Ethics  3 credit hours  

    MC 6300 - Media Law and Ethics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of graduate director. An overview of the laws relating to the media. Ethical and social dimensions of law. Emphasis on case studies.

  • MC 6640 - Thesis Research  1 to 6 credit hours  (6 credit hours required) OR

    MC 6640 - Thesis Research

    1 to 6 credit hours

    Under the direction of a faculty advisor and graduate committee, the student will plan and execute an original research or creative project. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion. S/U grading.

  • MC 6650 - Professional Project  1 to 6 credit hours  (6 credit hours required)

    MC 6650 - Professional Project

    1 to 6 credit hours

    Completion and execution of a professional project under the direction of a faculty advisor and graduate committee. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's project each semester until graduation. S/U grading.

Mass Communication Electives (9 hours)

  • MC 6200 - Media Management  3 credit hours  

    MC 6200 - Media Management

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of graduate director. Application of the case study method to understanding the role of management and managers in the delivery of media to the marketplace. Application of management and organization theory to the problems of the mass media.

  • MC 6230 - Media in the Marketplace

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of graduate director. The use of various forms of audience research in media organizations. Social and ethical conflicts related to marketing.

  • MC 6250 - Media Organizations  3 credit hours  

    MC 6250 - Media Organizations

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of graduate director. Examines the structure of media organizations. Roles of creators, producers, distributors, publics, institutional frameworks.

  • MC 6260 - Health Care Communication

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of graduate director. Introduces the practice and study of communication as it relates to health care, including mastery of sociocultural considerations and the intersection of the health care industry with government, public, corporate, and private entities.

  • MC 6320 - Mass Media and Public Opinion

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MC 6000. Theories of democracy, the nature of a "public" and of "public opinion." Readings in the classics on mass media and democracy and in public opinion research.

  • MC 6350 - Cultural Studies in Popular Music

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MC 6010. Relationship of popular music to society with attention to institutional, textual, and audience studies.

  • MC 6380 - News, Culture, and Democracy

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MC 6010. Critical examination of the news process with attention to the relationship of economic, cultural, and political constraints.

  • MC 6400 - Communication and Technology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of graduate director. Readings in the cultural history of media technology explore technological change and social development as a system of interrelated social relations and practices.

  • MC 6430 - Special Topics in Communication

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of graduate director. An in-depth analysis of one or more current issues or subdisciplines. Topics will vary from semester to semester.

Approved Electives (6 hours)

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to the completion of 21 credit hours;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which candidate intends to graduate.

Dr. Sanjay Asthana
Professor
Sanjay.Asthana@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Kenneth Blake
Associate Professor
ken.blake@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Clare Bratten
Associate Professor
clare.bratten@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Dwight Brooks
Professor | Director
d.brooks@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Larry Burriss
Professor
larry.burriss@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Tricia Farwell
Assistant Professor
tricia.farwell@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Katherine Foss
Assistant Professor
katie.foss@mtsu.edu

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Bob Gordon
Assistant Professor
robert.gordon@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Cary Ann Greenwood
Assistant Professor
cary.greenwood@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Roger Heinrich
Professor
roger.heinrich@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Robert Kalwinsky
Professor
robert.kalwinsky@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Joongwha Lee
Assistant Professor
joonghwa.lee@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jane Marcellus
Associate Professor
jane.marcellus@mtsu.edu

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Zeny Panol
Associate Dean
zeny.panol@mtsu.edu

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Kenneth A. Paulson
Dean
Ken.Paulson@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jan Quarles
Professor
jan.quarles@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jason Reineke
Assistant Professor
jason.reineke@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jennifer Bailey Woodard
Assistant Professor
jennifer.woodard@mtsu.edu

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Thesis and Professional Project Information

Thesis 
The thesis option is designed for the student seeking to concentrate studies in a particular area and to experience in-depth independent research. The thesis results in the production of traditional academic research.

Professional Project 
A professional project is an opportunity for a graduate student to produce work that is both researched and theorized but that also has a professional component.

FAQs

Q: How long does it take to complete the M.S. degree?

A: The program requires completion of 12 courses (designated for the option or concentration the student is seeking) and is designed to be completed in two years for full time students taking three courses for each fall and spring semester. Students taking two courses in the fall, spring and summer semesters, can potentially complete the degree in two years (12 courses). You can have up to six years to complete the degree.

Q: Where do I send my application materials?

A: Admission forms can be found in the Graduate Catalog or online at the College of Graduate Studies. Send admission forms and fees, transcripts, and three letters of reference and statement of purpose to the MTSU College of Graduate Studies, 121A Sam Ingram Building, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.

Q: May I enroll in classes before being formally admitted into the program?

A: Yes. MTSU is an open enrollment university, which means that you may enroll in one course in the Mass Communication program before being formally admitted into our program. However, only certain classes are permitted for students not formally admitted and require a permission of department to enroll. You must be admitted to the program in the semester after you apply for admission into the Mass Communication program in order to continue taking courses in the program.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Yes. Limited numbers of graduate teaching assistantships and scholarships are available in addition to other forms of aid. Applications may be obtained from the College of Graduate Studies or from the academic department. Those seeking an assistantship must meet requirements for admission to graduate school and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher. A student who is conditionally admitted cannot be considered for a Graduate Assistantship until the student has met the requirements of the conditional admission. The Student Financial Aid Office in Student Services & Admissions Center, Room 150 has information on various kinds of financial aid.