Master’s Program

The Master of Arts Degree:

The Master of Arts in Mass Communication program is located within the School of Mass Communication (SMC) and emphasizes critical thinking about mass media and its journalistic and strategic communication practices, media content and its effects on the public. The program offers a Media Research option that prepares students to analyze and conduct scholarly research in mass communication, and how to write and present the results of such research to both scholarly and non-scholarly audiences.

The program also offers a Professional Mass Media option that provides students with advanced professional training in Multiplatform Journalism or Strategic Communication/Public Relations. Students will either write a Master’s Thesis or create a Professional Project as capstone experience.

The program is open to students with undergraduate majors or minors in Mass Communication, to working journalists, and to those without Mass Communication backgrounds. Most of the program’s graduate courses are offered during the evening and in the early morning for the convenience of the working professional. Generally, these courses meet once a week for approximately three hours. This program is also offered online. For details of the online program click here.

Degree Requirements

The Mass Communication graduate program offers two options: thesis and professional. A comprehensive project and at least 33 hours of study at UALR are required of all students. Each student’s program is subject to an adviser’s approval.

All courses usually are taken in the School of Mass Communication; however, up to nine approved cognate graduate hours may be taken in other graduate areas. In some instances, courses from another area can form a concentration area. Only six hours with grades of C can count toward the degree.
If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, that student may enroll for only three credits per semester until the GPA rises to 3.0 or higher. The Mass Communication graduate program coordinator may make exceptions to this rule if circumstances warrant them.

Students who have not studied Mass Communication at the undergraduate level or who do not have sufficient professional Mass Communication experience to master basic news writing, reporting, and editing skills will be required to complete any or all of the following courses:
MCOM 2350 Beginning Reporting
MCOM 3320 Advance Reporting
Two of the following courses may be required for graduate credit:
MCOM 5350 Design and Production
MCOM 5352 News Media and the First Amendment
MCOM 5388 Reporting of Public Affairs
Students without an undergraduate background in Mass Communication should take MCOM 5352, News Media and the First Amendment. This class should be completed, either at the graduate or undergraduate level, before taking MCOM 7330, Seminar in Mass Communication Law. Students without a solid knowledge of mass communication history should consult with the Mass Communication graduate program coordinator about how to overcome that weakness.

Mass Communication: Master of Arts Program Options:

>> Mass Media Research Option

  • 27or 30 hours of course work.
  • 3 or 6 hours of thesis-related hours.
    Required courses:
    MCOM 7300 Proseminar.
    MCOM 7305 Processes and Effects.
    MCOM 7340 Seminar in Journalism History OR MCOM 7337 Media Criticism OR MCOM 7335 Seminar in Journalism Quantitative Research OR a graduate coordinator approved Mass Communication theory-intensive course that supports a thesis projects, but is not already fulfilling a degree requirement.
    MCOM 8300 Thesis.

>> Professional Mass Media Option

  • 30 hours of course work.
  • 3 hours of project-related hours
    Required courses:
    MCOM 7300 Proseminar.
    MCOM 7398 Professional Project.

 1) Multi-platform Journalism track:
      Required courses:
MCOM 7365 New Media Writing and Producing.
MCOM 7370 New Media Publishing.

  2) Strategic Public Relations track:
Required courses:
MCOM 5381 Public Relations Cases.
MCOM 7350 Public Relations for 21st Century Nonprofits.

Transfer Credit
Up to six graduate hours with grades of B or greater may be transferred from an accredited institution if approved by the Mass Communication graduate program coordinator.