Graduate School - Communication

Contact Information

Paul Lakey, Advisor
ACU Box 28156
Abilene, Texas 79699-8156
Sherrod Building - Don Morris Center, Room 128

Phone: 325-674-2292
Fax: 325-674-6966


Joe Cardot, Professor
Carley Dodd, Professor
Paul Lakey, Professor
Cindy Roper, Associate Professor

Lynette Sharp Penya, Associate Professor

John Tyson, Assistant Professor

Dwayne VanRheenen, Professor



The Department of Communication at Abilene Christian University offers a Master of Arts (MA) degree in communication. Areas of concentration are organizational communication, interpersonal-intercultural communication, persuasion and public advocacy, and conflict resolution.

Recognizing the increasingly vital role of communication in modern society, the department is committed to a diverse but integrated study of communication, preparing graduates for human interaction by improving people skills and task productivity. It also prepares students for further graduate work, personal growth and various career opportunities. Students going from this program into doctoral work have a 97 percent acceptance rate into their first choice of Ph.D. programs. Career opportunities include leadership roles in ministry, administration, sales, corporate communication, consulting and training, intercultural relations and human resource development/training.

Admission Requirements
For admission criteria, please refer to the Graduate School Admission Requirements section of this catalog. In addition to the general graduate school requirements, applicants to the MA in communication program must submit:

     1. A satisfactory GRE score,

     2. An essay describing their purpose for pursuing a graduate degree in communication.



Major Code: COMS

The Master of Arts degree in communication requires 36 hours. The 36 hours includes two research tools courses and allows a thesis for 6 hours or a non-thesis option. An oral defense of the thesis and related course work is required with the thesis option while the non-thesis option requires an oral comprehensive examination. Students may retake the applicable exam only once more if they fail on the first attempt.

The communication degree requires a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants normally must have completed at least 18 hours in communication including 3 hours in communication theory. Consideration is given to hours earned in related areas.

Requirements for the MA in communication are:
     1. Communication core, 9 hours:
         COMS 620 Communication Research Methods
         COMS 636 Seminar in Communication Theory
         COMS 687 Principles of Rhetorical Criticism

     2. Selection, 27 hours:
         (Students may choose to select courses in one or two areas of concentration. 12-15 hours
         is required for each concentration. 6 hours of thesis may be taken as part of concentrations
         a-c. Courses from other departments must be approved by the graduate advisor.)

         a. Organizational communication emphasis:
             COMS 508 Corporate and Legal Advocacy
             COMS 521 Leadership and Communication
             COMS 543 Business and Professional Communication
             COMS 583 Communication in Multi-National Organizations
             COMS 585 Organizational Communication
             COMS 586 Human Resource Training and Development
             COMS 642 Seminar in Communication: Interviewing
             COMS 685 Seminar in Organizational Communication Research
             COMS 686 Communication Consulting and Assessment
             CONR 601 Conflict Theory and Communication
             CONR 610 Managing Conflict in the Workplace

         b. Interpersonal-intercultural communication emphasis:
             COMS 536 Nonverbal Communication
             COMS 545 Intercultural Communication
             COMS 550 Gender Communication
             COMS 576 Family Communication
             COMS 583 Communication in Multi-National Organizations
             COMS 641 Theories of Interpersonal Communication
             COMS 675 Seminar: Persuasion and Social Change
             COMS 683 Cultural Case Studies
             CONR 601 Conflict Theory and Communication

         c. Persuasion and public advocacy emphasis:
             COMS 508 Corporate and Legal Advocacy
             COMS 515 Political Communication
             COMS 521 Leadership and Communication
             COMS 575 Persuasion and Attitude Change
             COMS 591 Rhetorical Theory
             COMS 675 Seminar: Persuasion and Social Change

         d. The 15-hour Conflict Resolution Certificate program can be used as a concentration.
             Please contact the Center for Conflict Resolution to apply for the certificate.
             CONR 601 Conflict Theory and Communication
             CONR 603 Negotiation: Principles and Practice
             CONR 604 Mediation: Principles and Practice
             CONR 610 Managing Conflict in the Workplace
             CONR 630 Advanced Mediation: Marital Disputes or
                  CONR 600 Conflict Practicum

     3. Comprehensive exam or thesis defense.

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