Applied Communication Studies (MA)

The Master of Arts in Applied Communication Studies

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 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 communicative skills that are necessary to function effectively in all areas of today’s business and professional world. The primary objective of the program is to guide students in the application of communication theory to a variety of interpersonal, institutional, public and organizational contexts. We achieve this objective by focusing on five major application models:

(a) communication and cultureMApic

(b) communication and transformation/change

(c) positive communication

(d) crisis and renewal communication

(e) experiential learning.

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Our curriculum fosters a strong knowledge base grounded in communication theory and its various applications, such as management, consulting, human resources, training, organization development, relational communication, health care, education, and public relations.


The program is divided into two tracks with classes offered in the evenings and in a unique weekend format. These tracks are designed to provide options for students with differing goals. Each track maintains an applied focus and students are expected to complete their course work, comprehensive exams, and a final project in two years. Opportunities for students interested in preparation for a doctorate after completing their master’s are available as well.

Professional Communication: geared toward students seeking to enhance their communication skills and improve their ability to positively influence internal and external communication in organizations. First year core course in theory and research lay a foundation for understanding and improving communication processes in a variety of settings.

Health Communication: includes the same first year core courses as the Professional Communication track, but in the second year, students venture into electives offered jointly by UALR and UAMS to prepare health professionals to meet the needs of current jobs in health related fields.

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 interested in pursuing doctoral work may complete either of the above tracks. We encourage these students to revise and submit major course papers to professional conferences and journals. Students with an interest in doctorate 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.

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