No later than during the third semester of registration, each student must complete and file the Graduate Degree Plan. Students who do not file their program on time may not be allowed to register until they comply. On this form the student should list in chronological order, all the courses taken and planned for the degree. Relevant graduate course work taken elsewhere may able be listed as part of the credit, but transfer work may be no more than 40% of the M.A. program.
One of the first things the student should do with the permanent adviser is negotiate, fill out, and file this official program. The student should discuss informally with the adviser the contents of their program, the probable topic and title of their thesis (if Plan A), and the membership of their graduate committee with their adviser. The committee usually includes their adviser, one other faculty member from the Department, and one from another department. The completed program form must be signed by their adviser. The signed form is given to the DGS for approval. As part of this process, you will submit via the workflow process the names of your committee members and your primary adviser. The "outside" faculty member should be one from whom students took course work, or who has the expertise to assist them on their thesis. If the student has a designated minor, then the third member must be from that field. Students should be sure to list full names and correct departmental affiliations of all faculty on their note. Be sure to include with the program form transcripts of all graduate courses taken at the University of Minnesota up to that time, and which are included in the program.
The student will be sent electronic confirmation after the Degree Plan and committee are approved by the Graduate School. This may take a few weeks.
Once approved, an official program must be fulfilled in every detail to meet graduate requirements. Some students find it necessary to change courses originally listed on the program. To do this, get a Petition Form and list brief, but clear reasons for the change. The forms must be approved by the adviser in the designated minor (if applicable), the adviser, and DGS, who will send it to the Graduate School. If changes are substantial, a new revised program should be submitted.
We offer the Master's degree under two plans: Plan A, including a thesis, and Plan B, which substitutes additional course work and a special project for the thesis. Students may change their plan, with the consent of their adviser, if program revisions conflict with the original plan.
While the requirements for the Masters degree can be completed in one year, very few students do so, unless fellowships relieve them of all other work or teaching duties. Most students take at least two academic years to finish. Three semesters of residence are required for the M.A. degree, meaning that the student must have paid the equivalent of full tuition for three semesters. The graduate school does allow seven years for completion of the M.A., beginning with the oldest work listed on the official program, and including listed transfer work, but the Department discourages taking this long.
At least 60% of the credits listed on the student's program must be taken in the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota. Up to 40% of the credits listed on the program may be taken as an Adult Special, or CEE student (Continuing Education and Extension) at the University of Minnesota, or as a graduate student at another approved graduate institution. Such transfer credits must be graduate-level work, approved by the student';s adviser, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), and the Graduate School, and must be in Communication Studies or the student's approved minor or related fields.
A student seeking an M.A. may not, after completing it, automatically enter the Ph.D. program. Application for a "Change of Status" may be made only after you have been admitted to the PhD program (a process the DGS will explain to you). The application will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee competitively with other applications. Applicants must have shown the capability for excellent academic work, and have a recommendation from their M.A. adviser.
Earn 31 credits, including 15 credits in Communication Studies 6 credits in one or more related fields, and 10 thesis credits. Sixty percent of this course work (thesis credit excluded) must be completed in the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota. Students are required to take one survey-type course from one of the two areas other than the student's own (Critical Media Studies, Interpersonal Communication, or Rhetorical Studies). With their advisor, students will choose the most appropriate survey course to take, including (but not limited to) COMM 5211, COMM 5402, COMM 5406, COMM 5421, and COMM 5615. In addition, students are required to take at least one 8-xxx seminar.
There are no language requirements.
A formal report of the candidate's independent research must be prepared and approved by a faculty examining committee.
Pass an oral examination in defense of the Master's Thesis, and demonstrate competency in the chosen fields of study.
After consulting with their adviser and two other thesis examining committee members, students must write a 7-12 page thesis proposal which includes:
The student should discuss the thesis idea, and the proposal continually with the adviser, until a semi-final draft is agreed upon. Then the student should meet with each committee member (individually, if the student and adviser agree), to get tentative approval for the research proposal. In final consultation with the adviser, the student should make such revisions as the committee members suggest. The student may then execute the research, and write the thesis. Drafts of chapters should be submitted to the adviser, and revised as necessary..
When ready, the student should register a complete, clean, typed copy of the thesis title page as it will appear in the final thesis. At that time request a graduation packet, which will contain the forms you need to finish and graduate
A copy of the completed thesis must be submitted to each of the examining faculty for their evaluation. This copy need not be a "final" copy, but must be typed, with all sections, tables, and footnotes included, and pages numbered. When faculty have read the thesis, and have agreed to approve it, bring them the "Master's Thesis Readers Report" form, and have them sign it, certifying the thesis is ready for defense. After returning this signed form to 160 Williamson Hall, the student will get the final oral exam signature form. At this time students must schedule the final oral examination with the full M.A. committee.
All examining faculty must be present at the exam, which usually lasts one hour. It is the student's responsibility to schedule the exam, but the exact time and place must be determined in consultation with the examining committee. The student would be wise to schedule the exam several weeks in advance, and then remind committee members a day or so before the exam. The student must also bring to the exam the "Report of Committee on Examination for the Master's Degree" and give it to the adviser to get the signatures of the committee members. It must be signed by all members of the committee and returned to 160 Williamson Hal.
The exam itself may cover both the major and related fields of study, as well as the M.A. thesis. Normally it focuses on the thesis. The committee usually meets for a few minutes privately both prior to and after the exam. As a result of the exam, it is not unusual that the student is asked to make revisions in the text of the thesis. This exam may not be retaken, though the committee may adjourn and then reconvene if it decides that the deficiencies can be remedied.
In order to graduate, students must submit all required forms, pay graduation fees, and submit the M.A. thesis to the Graduate School using the process explained here: http://www.grad.umn.edu/students/ThesisSubmission/index.html.
Plan B may be appropriate for students who may wish to tailor a program to interests in nonacademic professions. Some graduate students already work in organizational settings and are seeking a graduate degree to more fully qualify themselves.
Earn a minimum of 33 credits. Take 21 credits in Communication Studies, and 6 credits in one or more related fields, and an additional 6 credits in either communication studies or the related fields. Sixty percent of this course work must be completed in the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota. Students are required to take one survey-type course from one of the two areas other than the student's own (Critical Media Studies, Interpersonal Communication, or Rhetorical Studies). With their adviser, students will choose the most appropriate survey course to take, including (but not limited to) COMM 5211, COMM 5402, COMM 5406, COMM 5421, and COMM 5615. In addition, students are required to take at least one 8-xxx seminar.
There are no language requirements.
Within the first year of residency choose an adviser and advisory committee. This committee will advise on the content of the M.A. program in light of the student';s goals and interests; and monitor the preparation of the Plan B Project. The member with primary responsibility for the process in the adviser. The Director of Graduate Studies serves as interim adviser until the regular adviser is chosen.
Demonstrate familiarity with the tools of scholarship, and the ability to work independently. Plan B Projects take varied forms (e.g., a creative program in broadcasting, write up of an inservice communication workshop, the development of a measure of some communication variable, or essay of rhetorical criticism). The write up of the project must take at least three "nominal" work weeks, or 120 hours, as specified by the Graduate School.
The M.A., Plan B, is the plan of choice for students who want a broad foundation in Communication Studies for their graduate work or for general intellectual growth. For anyone without much background in the field it is a very useful device for exploring the range of subfields which are characteristic of the discipline.
The student's adviser may require an oral exam on the M.A. Plan B Project. This exam also meets Graduate School requirements for a Plan A thesis oral exam.
Plan B Projects may be of varied forms (e.g., exploratory research, creative programs in electronic media, development of a measure for evaluating a communication variable in the field, an essay in rhetorical criticism, in-service communication workshop). The project must take at least three "nominal" work weeks, that is, 120 hours not including write up. On continuous consultation with their adviser the student should complete the following:
Submit a written report on the project including:
If the student's adviser requires a Plan B oral exam, then it is similar to the Plan A thesis oral exam. Specifically, all examining faculty must be present at the exam, which usually lasts one hour. It is the student's responsibility to schedule the exam, but the exact time and place must be determined in consultation with the examining committee. The student would be wise to schedule the exam several weeks in advance, then remind committee members about the event a day or so before the exam. The student should provide each member of the committee with a copy of the project at least a week before the exam is scheduled. Members of the committee may wish to indicate improvements in the report of the project before the exam is given. The student must also bring to the exam the "Report of Committee on Examination for the Master's Degree," and give it to the adviser to get the signatures of the committee members. It must be signed by all members of the committee and returned to the Graduate School. The examination itself may include questions from any member of the student's committee about course work as well as questions about the Plan B project. The committee usually meets for a few minutes privately both prior to and after the exam. As a result of the exam, it is not unusual that the student is asked to make revisions in the text of the thesis. This exam may not be retaken, though the committee may adjourn and then reconvene, if it decides that the deficiencies can be remedied.