Graduate Opportunities

The graduate program in Communication Studies at the University of North Texas examines communication and the processes through which humans interact.

In doing so, we facilitate your command of theory and research, development of research capabilities and preparation for a variety of careers or further graduate study.

The Department of Communication Studies offers course work leading to a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in Communication Studies. You can pursue concentrations in interpersonal/organizational communication, performance studies or rhetorical studies.

As you progress through the program, you'll use analytical, critical, qualitative and quantitative methodologies to explore communication from applied and theoretical perspectives. The necessary course work examines gender and diversity issues, narrative and social change, and political and social influence.

Gain new perspectives

Our faculty members are outstanding scholars with diverse approaches to studying communication. Our professors have won awards and research grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the North Texas chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. They also coach intercollegiate debate; consult for organizations in the community, region and various parts of the nation; direct performances; and hold professional leadership positions. Their research interests include:

  • Argumentation studies
  • Critical and cultural studies of communication, cultural values, ideologies and politics
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Narrative studies
  • Performance studies
  • Rhetorical analysis and criticism of persuasive public communication in historical, political and cultural contexts
  • The role of communication in organizations, professions and groups

You'll have opportunities to conduct research with faculty members using the Black Box Theatre and Performance Space, Communication and Social Influence Research Office, Communication Studies Library and Computer Mediated Communication Lab. Opportunities to participate in regional and national festivals, professional conferences and internships may also be available.

A number of other resources are also available exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office offers writing help, and the Toulouse Graduate School® offers a wide variety of professional development workshops each semester. Among the workshops is a Thesis Boot Camp. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

Areas of emphasis

Interpersonal/Digital/Organizational Communication

Through examination of the impact of communication theory in multiple interpersonal and organizational contexts, you explore how human communication influences cultures, groups and individuals. The concentration blends theory, research and practical application while fostering development of analytical and applied skills in multiple contexts related to human communication.

Performance studies

As a primary mode of human experience, knowledge and action, performance often provides a strong sense of self and relation to others. This leads to self-expansion and an enriched sense of cultural diversity. This area promotes an understanding of human beings and human cultures through critical, historical and empirical investigations; experiential learning in the classroom; and sharing discoveries with public audiences.

Communication, Culture, and Public Discourse

Through historical, critical and qualitative research, this concentration promotes understanding of communication phenomena. You examine how communication influences the formation and growth of every culture, which allows you to understand and contribute to a culture's development.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

The Department of Communication Studies conducts holistic reviews in making admissions decisions. In examining application materials, we seek a positive indication of potential success in the program. As such, we have no mandatory minimum GPA or GRE requirements to be considered for admission. You'll need to meet the admission requirements for the graduate school, and our department's specific requirements.

Degree requirements

Master of Arts or Master of Science degree

Thesis option
  • 30 credit hours of communication studies courses
  • 6 credit hours of thesis
  • Oral exam
Project option
  • 33 credit hours of communication studies courses
  • 3 credit hours of research in lieu of thesis
  • Written and oral comprehensive exams
Internship option
  • 33 credit hours of communication studies courses
  • 3 credit hours of a graduate internship
  • Written and oral comprehensive exams

If you're pursuing the M.A., you'll need to meet a foreign language requirement.

Financial assistance

We offer teaching assistantships that provide valuable experience as a classroom teacher, debate assistant or performance assistant. Stipends for teaching assistants are competitive and presently include tuition support.

In addition, out-of-state and international students who receive assistantships are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates. Information about other financial assistance opportunities is available at the financial aid website.


Iftekhar Ahmed, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Texas A&M University. Team, task and technology; human-computer interaction; information system design; technologically mediated communication; cyberinfrastructure; virtual groups and collaboration; social media and virtual worlds.

Jay Allison, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Louisiana State University. Literary and performance theory and criticism; narrative theory and the narrative structure of everyday life; southern culture and fiction.

Karen Anderson-Lain, Principal Lecturer and Director of the Basic Course; Ph.D., University of Kansas. Critical communication pedagogy; family and intergenerational communication; communication theory and methods.

Suzanne Enck, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies; Ph.D., Indiana University. Rhetorical criticism; feminist theory and critique; gender studies; rhetoric of social movements and resistance; critical rhetoric; media and film theory; service-learning; critical pedagogy; visual rhetoric/culture; American studies; cultural studies; democratic theory.

Mark Hlavacik, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University. Rhetorical criticism and theory; rhetoric and educational policy; deliberation and the democratic process; rhetorics of accountability.

Brian Lain, Associate Professor and Debate Director; Ph.D., University of Iowa. Rhetorical criticism and theory; visual rhetoric; materialism and poststructuralism; Japanese American rhetorics.

Joseph McGlynn II, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin. Health communication; persuasion; risk and decision making, message design; uncertainty.

Megan Morrissey, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder. Critical rhetoric; rhetoric and popular culture, critical/cultural studies; queer theory; whiteness studies; critical race studies; rhetoric of social movements; rhetoric of belonging.

Brian Richardson, Professor and Department Chair; Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin. Whistle-blowing; peer reporting of unethical behavior; sexual harassment; disaster/crisis communication.

Justin Trudeau, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Louisiana State University. Performance historiography; performance theory and criticism; performance methods; performance composition; performance art.

Holley Vaughn, Senior Lecturer; Ph.D., Louisiana State University. Performance and culture; performance as critical praxis; tourism; historiography; hauntology; performance art; ethnography; gender and queer studies.

Zuoming Wang, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Cornell University. Computer-mediated communication; social computing; decision making in virtual groups; the effect of new technology on social interactions and interpersonal relationships.