Effective Spring 2022, the Rhetorical Leadership concentration has suspended admission. 

Interested students may complete a concentration in rhetorical leadership that will be designated on their transcripts.

Admission Requirements 

Effective Spring 2022, the Rhetorical Leadership concentration has suspended admission. 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  1. Possess the equivalent of an undergraduate major in speech, speech communication, or related areas.
  2. Possess an undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 in the major.
  3. Submit a reason statement describing your qualifications and reasons for applying to this program, as well as the fit between your interests and department offerings. 
  4. Submit your curriculum vitae outlining relevant qualifications, employment, and experiences. 
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation from persons capable of judging the applicant’s capacity for success in a graduate program of study.
  6. Submit a sample of written work from an academic and/or professional assignment.

Applicants may be admitted with specific program-defined course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses.

The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.

Applicants without the requisite grade point average may be considered for admission on a probationary basis.

Credits and Courses

The minimum degree requirement is 30 credits, including 24 credits taken in the Department of Communication; that is, a maximum of 6 credits taken outside the department may count toward the total credits required. Students must take 24 of the 30 required credits in courses numbered 700 or above.

Students must complete either a professional project or a thesis. 

COMMUN 800Proseminar: The Discipline of Communication3
Select one of the following:3
Quantitative Research in Communication
Critical Analysis of Communication
Qualitative Research in Communication
Total Credits30


Students complete 24 credits in elective courses, most of them selected from courses in the Department of Communication, with the following caveats. A maximum of 6 credits below the 700 level may be counted toward the degree. A maximum of 6 credits in courses outside the department may count toward the degree. No more than 9 credits selected from the combination of COMMUN 998, COMMUN 999, and courses outside the department may count toward the degree. In addition, the following restrictions on the number of credits that may count toward the degree are placed on these courses:

COMMUN 860Seminar: Issues in Communication: (Subtitled) (6 credit maximum)3
COMMUN 990Research and Thesis1-6
COMMUN 998Communication Internship (3 credits maximum)1-3
COMMUN 999Independent Study (3 credits maximum)1-3

MA Portfolio Project

At the master’s level, the MA Portfolio Project (MAPP) is designed to allow students to synthesize their accomplishments during the MA program and identify their strengths and needs as they pursue objectives beyond graduate school. In conjunction with the completion of 30-credit hours (per Department of Communication MA guidelines), students who successfully complete a MAPP will meet the requirements for the MA in Communication.

The MA Portfolio Project will provide students with an opportunity to:

  • Compile documentation of academic accomplishments during the pursuit of an MA.
  • Synthesize the primary contributions of MA coursework.
  • Critically reflect upon accomplishments in written work.
  • Reflect upon the accomplishment of their initial goals and objectives for the MA, and articulate future career goals and objectives that will utilize the skills/knowledge gained.
  • Establish a connection with a field expert (e.g., an individual who works in the student’s desired employment sector or a member of a community group with whom the student hopes to work) and gain additional information about activities the student may wish to pursue after graduation.
  • Reflect upon one’s understanding of future pursuits and draw connections between the MA experience and the nature of this type of work/service.

Rhetorical Leadership Concentration

The concentration requires the following courses, which students may select to meet the MA degree’s course requirements:

COMMUN 772Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics3
COMMUN 762Argumentation in Theory and Practice3
or COMMUN 872 Rhetorics of Constituting Community and Social Controversy
Select three of the following:9
Introduction to Mediation
Great American Speakers and Issues
Communication and Social Order
Critical Analysis of Communication
Rhetorical Theory
Argumentation in Theory and Practice (if not selected above)
Seminar in Contemporary Public Address
Seminar: Issues in Communication: (Subtitle, with a rhetorical topic)
Public Deliberation
Rhetorics of Constituting Community and Social Controversy (if not selected above)
The Digital Mirror
Rhetoric of Women's Rights in the US
Rhetoric of/and the Internet
Topics in Rhetorical Research:
Communication Internship (with rhetorical leadership topic directed by a member of the Rhetorical Leadership Committee)
Total Credits15

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. The major professor should be designated no later than the end of the student’s first year of enrollment. The incoming student is assigned the Graduate Coordinator or other program faculty member as an initial advisor until a major professor is selected.

Thesis Option

A thesis involves applied or basic research and is a proven method for developing specialized knowledge and skills that can enhance an individual’s expertise within a substantive area of study. A thesis is recommended for students who intend to continue study toward the PhD degree or plan research-related employment. If the thesis option is elected, the student must initiate and write an original research project under the guidance of his/her major professor; the student also must pass an oral defense of the finished project conducted by his/her thesis committee.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.