• Home
  • Academics
  • Degrees
  • Communication Studies Graduate Program
  • MA
  • Examinations

Communication Studies Graduate Program


Master's students are examined by a committee comprised of their departemtanl faculty advisor and two additional members. The committee is determined through consultation among the student, the student's advisor, and the COMS Director of Graduate Studies. A graduate faculty member from outside the department may be substituted for the third member of the committee, or a fourth member, either from inside or outside the department, if approved by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

To be eligible for the examination, the candidate must have finished or currently be enrilled in their final coursework with a minimum 3.0 GPA. If applicable, the thesis should be complete, with input from the graduate committee. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour in the semester in which they graduate. 

MA - Thesis

As a requirement of the thesis option M.A. degree, students must defend orally defend their thesis. The examination usually lasts 1 to 1.5 hours and includes content from the thesis as well as relevant coursework. See the department's thesis guidelines and procedures. 

Exam outcomes must be reported per the following: 

  1. Pass with honors
  2. Satisfactory pass
  3. Fail, has not met degree requirements, not recommended for further graduate study

MA - Non Thesis

In their final semester, a degree candidate must satisfactorily complete both a written and oral examination. The examination is administered by the student's graduate committee. Each student must successfully complete an exam over their 2 focus areas of course work concentration. The examination is structured as follows:

  • 1 hour written over content from basic communication theries & methods (COMS 859 and COMS 850)
  • 2 hours written over the first major area of communication
  • 2 hours written over the second major area of communication
  • 1 hour oral examination

Obtain specific instructions about the written Master's examination from the Director of Graduate Study. Once the candidate has passed all sections of the written examination, they are eligible for the oral comprehensive examination. The results of the examination will be reported either as "pass" or "fail." 

Request Procedures for all Oral Examinations

At least two weeks prior to any oral examination, the candidate must formally contact the Director of Graduate Studies, and submit a written request to their COGA advisor in order to request and schedule any thesis or non-thesis examination through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Director of Graduate Studies will inform the chair of the committee whether or not the student is eligible to take the written and oral examinations. Students must consult the Master's Degree Checklist prior to scheduling any exam. All final exams require approval by the DGS and COGA advisor prior to taking place. 

KU Today
Departmental Awards

Communication Studies Department Awarded Inaugural Chancellor's Doctoral Fellowship!
More Info

In "Dance with Death," a Polish resistance fighter/@KUPoliticalSci scholar shares the history of combating fascism… https://t.co/5KKZbGgl7K

Home to 50+ departments, centers, and programs, the School of the Arts, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration
KU offers courses in 40 languages
No. 1 ranking in city management and urban policy —U.S. News and World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times