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General Program Requirements

The graduate program in Communication Studies is designed to permit graduate students to plan a program of study to fit their unique needs. The department offers over fifty courses and six areas of specialization.

A student may seek a General Communication program or specialize in Communication Education, Mass Communication, Organizational Communication, Performance Studies, or Public Relations. The major is available on the thesis and non-thesis options. A minimum of 30 semester hours for the thesis option and 33 hours for the non-thesis option are required. A minimum of 18 semester hours of 6000-level course work is required for the thesis option, including 6 hours of thesis credit. A minimum of 12 semester hours of 6000-level course work is required for the non-thesis option.

Successful completion of a final written comprehensive examination is required for both the thesis and non-thesis options.

Of the 30 or 33 hours required:
20 hours of course work in Communication Studies (no more than 10 hours outside the department and/or by transfer).
No more than 6 hours of independent work: readings, projects, or specialized individual instruction.
No more than 3 hours of workshop credit.
Successful completion of comprehensive examinations after completion of 22 hours of course work.
Successful completion of a research paper or thesis.

Department-Wide Core Requirements

  • Introduction to Graduate Study and Research COMMGRAD 6001(48C:201), 3 hours, to be taken the first semester it is offered during residency).
  • Communication Research Methodology COMMGRAD 6022 (48C:236), 3 hours). Prerequisite – COMMGRAD 6001 (48C:201) or consent of instructor.
  • Communication/Mass Communication Theory COMMGRAD 6011/6016 (48C/E/P:224, 3 hours).
  • A 6000-level seminar in specialty emphasis area COMMGRAD 6027, 6041, 6042, 6044, 6045, 6046 or 6048 (48C/E/P).
  • All teaching assistants are required to take COMMGRAD 6045 (48C:282) Seminar in Communication Education during their first semester of teaching.
  • Comprehensive Exams

Additional requirements for each of the program specialties are listed on pages 12-18 of this guidebook.

Community College Licensure 

The state of Iowa no longer offers licensure for community college teachers. The minimum standard for full-time positions in the Arts and Sciences is considered to be a Masters Degree with a minimum of 12 graduate hours in the discipline to be taught. The following courses were required in the previous license and may make you more marketable. They can be part of your 30 or 33 hour program of study.
            COMMGRAD 6045 (48C:282)  Seminar in Communication Education: Teaching in College
            POSTSEC 6256 (170:256)  The Two-Year College

Students are strongly advised to take 200-level courses whenever possible. For additional information, consult the UNI Graduate College website at