The MA in Applied Communication Studies provides graduate students with a solid theoretical and practical understanding of how communication practices operate in everyday life. An undergraduate background in speech or communication is helpful, but not required. In line with our department’s mission, to foster the co-construction of better social worlds through positive communication, students develop communication skills that are necessary for ethical and effective leadership in all areas of today’s diverse organizational professional world. We achieve this mission by having students complete class and final projects primarily focused on six communication applications:
(a) communication and organizational culture analysis
(b) communication and transformation/change
(c) positive interpersonal communication
(d) conflict management
(e) crisis and renewal communication
(f) experiential learning in presentations and trainings
Courses based on these applications support students in employing communication research to co-create better social worlds by collecting and analyzing data to generate communication recommendations for organizations and communities; adapting messages to diverse audiences and contexts; modeling positive and ethical communication in professional and multi-cultural contexts, including dyadic, team, organizational, public, and mediated settings; and advocating for positive co-constructed communication practices, which use communication in ways that add value to organizations and communities.
Individualized Focus Area
The above six applications launch students into their areas of focus or emphasis. Elective courses, projects within required classes, and the final M.A. project involve students in tailoring their program to fit their goals. Students are encouraged to identify focus areas relevant to their career goals.
To support your career development, we will aid you in connecting with our diverse alumni network. You will find support for an array of emphasis areas: internal and external communication, public health, conflict mediation, business leadership and management, consulting, human resources, training, organization development, intercultural/diversity initiatives, non-profit leadership, relational communication, health care, education, and public relations.
As students enter the program, we identify ways to maximize coursework, including electives and the final project to fit their career goals. Review this sample course sequence to understand the flow of our unique blended program designed for working professionals. This sequence of courses is then adapted based on student goals.
Our program has built bridges with UAMS for those interested in health communication. In addition, students may concurrently enroll in and complete a Conflict Mediation Certificate. Furthermore, the UA Little Rock MBA program has identified a set of courses for those interested in this focus area.
We also offer a unique, concurrent program with the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. This 60 hour program provides training for students with an interest in serving communication roles in public health arena. Students participating in the concurrent programs earn an MA in Applied Communication Studies and an MA in Public Health.
Students with an interest in doctoral work gain a solid foundation in applied communication research and theory. These students benefit from the personal attention of faculty devoted to preparing them for the next step in their education. We encourage Ph.D. bound students to revise and submit major course papers to professional conferences and journals while they are in our master’s program. Alumni from our master’s program now serve as professors at schools ranging from Purdue and Clemson to Kansas State and the Clinton School of Public Service.
Graduation Requirements (for both tracks)
- Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on an approved program of study
- Successful completion and defense of master’s paper, internship paper, or thesis
- Successful completion of the comprehensive exam