Graduate Catalog

2008-09 Academic Year

Department of Communication Studies

Main Departmental Office
General Academic Building, Room 309
1155 Union Circle #305268
Denton, TX 76203-5268
Fax: 940-565-3630

Web site:

John M. Allison, Chair

Graduate Faculty: Allison, Anderson, Gossett, Lain, Richardson, Taylor, Treat, Trudeau, Wang, Wittenberg-Lyles.

The Department of Communication Studies offers the following degrees:

Theory and research in communication studies examine communication in human affairs and the symbolic processes through which humans interact. The curriculum is designed to facilitate student mastery of theory and research, to develop student research capabilities and to enhance student preparation for a variety of careers or for further graduate study.

The department offers course work in rhetorical, performance and social science traditions. Students are afforded opportunities to explore communication from applied and theoretical perspectives using analytical, critical, quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Course work features the investigation of communication in interpersonal, organizational, aesthetic, health, cultural, intercultural, legal, political and international contexts. Students will encounter topics such as gender and diversity issues, social change, conflict and narrative. The graduate experience often is enhanced by opportunities to engage in consulting; conducting research with faculty members; and participating in regional and national festivals and professional conferences, and/or internships with corporations, social service organizations, arts organizations and government agencies.

Teaching assistantships are awarded competitively to prospective students with excellent academic backgrounds and potential as effective classroom teachers. Interested individuals should contact the department office for application materials.

Graduates of this program should be able to demonstrate competence in making a public oral presentation or performance; demonstrate advanced knowledge of the field of communication studies by designing and conducting an original research project and presenting the findings and implications of that research in appropriate form; interpret, explain, present, and/or illustrate knowledge of theoretical concepts in communication studies; present an effective oral defense of arguments; explain the dynamic interrelationship among communicators, contexts and culture in the generation and processing of instances of communication; and demonstrate competence in written communication in terms of content as well as form.

The department also supports an interdisciplinary doctorate with a major in information science. See the School of Library and Information Sciences section of this catalog for more information.


Research interests of the faculty in the Department of Communication Studies include the areas of:

1. rhetorical analysis and criticism of persuasive public communication in historical, political and cultural contexts;

2. the role of communication in organizations, professions and groups, including planned social change, superior-subordinate-coworker communication, training and consulting, conflict management, interpersonal and professional relationships, and small group communication and decision-making;

3. performance of texts, literary and performance theory and criticism, history of performance studies, intertextuality, phenomenology, and literary and rhetorical applications of narrative theory;

4. interpersonal communication, including listening, communication apprehension, intimate communication, gender and communication, communication in the family, communication and aging, communication style and assertiveness, health communication, mediation, interpersonal conflict, human information processing and interpersonal influence;

5. legal communication, including investigation of theories and case law related to the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, as well as applied research related to expert testimony;

6. critical and cultural studies of communication, cultural values, ideologies and politics;

7. intercultural communication; and

8. narrative studies.

Admission Requirements

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of much of the work done in the Department of Communication Studies, admission is open to many who did not major in communication as undergraduates. Applicants with fewer than 24 hours of undergraduate communication course work may request admission on the basis of communication-related courses.

Application to the master's program in communication studies involves completion of two separate applications. The prospective student files the application with the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies (available at the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies web site). A second application, submitted to the Graduate Standards Committee in the Department of Communication Studies, should include the following:

1. A signed letter of application that includes a statement addressing the applicant's purpose in undertaking graduate study in the UNT communication studies department. In addition to indicating the semester and year he or she would like to enter the program, the applicant should include professional plans, career goals and areas of research interest.

2. Academic transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate course work.

3. A current curriculum vitae or resume that addresses each of the following areas:

a. educational background;

b. previous work experience;

c. publications, performances, exhibitions or other scholarly activities;

d. previous research experience; and/or

e. involvement in community activities.

4. Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional abilities. At least one letter must be from an individual at the last academic institution attended; one letter may be from a current or past employer.

5. Verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing scores on the GRE. All students must take the GRE and report scores to the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies prior to being admitted to graduate study in the department. The Department of Communication Studies does not have a provisional admission status for applicants who have not taken the GRE.

6. A research-based essay or writing sample from a junior- or senior-level undergraduate course or an honors thesis.

The department utilizes a holistic approach in evaluating candidates for admission to the graduate program in communication studies. In examining the materials submitted by applicants for admission, we seek a positive indication of potential success in the program. In addition to the materials above, the department may consider the applicant's potential to enhance the intellectual diversity of the department and program, potential to enhance the diversity of the university, and other factors that might provide evidence of potential success in the completion of a master's degree with a major in communication studies.

Degree Programs

The department offers graduate programs leading to the following degrees:

The master's degree requires the completion of at least 36 hours of graduate course work.

There are three options for the degree:

1. 36 hours: 30 hours of course work in communication studies, 6 hours of thesis and oral examination;

2. 36 hours: 33 hours of course work in communication studies, 3 hours of COMM 5930 (Research Problems in Lieu of a Thesis) and written and oral comprehensive examinations; or

3. 36 hours: 33 hours of course work in communication studies, 3 hours of COMM 5481 (Graduate Internship in communication studies) and written and oral comprehensive examinations.

The Graduate School has a foreign language requirement for the Master of Arts degree.

Courses of Instruction

All Courses of Instruction are located in one section at the back of this catalog.

Course and Subject Guide

The “Course and Subject Guide,” found in the Courses of Instruction section of this book, serves as a table of contents and provides quick access to subject areas and prefixes.

Graduate Admissions

(888) UNT-GRAD
(868-4723) (toll-free)

UNT Switchboard

(940) 565-2000