Department of Communication Studies

Mission Statement

The Graduate Program in the Department of Communication Studies has two primary goals: to provide students with strong backgrounds in selected aspects of the discipline of communication, and to help them further prepare for specific career choices.

The program is diverse and flexible, and serves three basic student interests: preparation for study at the Ph.D. level, teaching, and other professional applications. We offer opportunities for graduate education to full-time and part-time students from Iowa, other areas of the United States, and around the world.

The diversity and flexibility of our degree programs comes from the six areas of specialization that we offer, along with the fact that students may incorporate portions of other areas into their programs to meet their unique career/educational objectives. The six areas of specialization in our graduate program are:  Communication Education, General Communication, Mass Communication, Organizational Communication, Performance Studies, and Public Relations.

The expected student outcomes of the Graduate Program in Communication Studies are the following:

  1. Understanding the historical development of theory and scholarship within the communication discipline/profession.
  2. Understanding appropriate methodologies to develop knowledge and to ethically examine questions within the communication discipline/profession.
  3. Understanding and applying oral and written communication skills in relevant contexts.
  4. Integrating communication theory with practice/action that enhances engagement with civic or professional communities.

We expect to cultivate “practicing scholars,” who can critically apply the theories and research methods they learn through their graduate programs within the public and professional arenas they serve. We seek to provide our students with opportunities to enhance practice with theory, and theory with practice, recognizing that a balanced relationship between the two is necessary to create thoughtful, effective scholarship, and creative work.

In general, by the end of a bachelor’s degree, persons should be able to meaningfully engage in conversations about the important theories and findings of their selected field. On finishing a master’s degree, persons should be able to begin contributing to the theories and findings of their selected field. On completing a Ph.D. degree, or on entering the professional/business arena, persons should be able to begin “shifting” the thinking and findings of their selected field in new and needed directions. We see our graduate program as a stepping-stone in students’ paths to being able to make a difference in the field of communication and in related industries.