Graduate Studies


Admission | Courses | Program | Integrated |Requirements | Profile

Chairperson:  Peter F. Jorgensen
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Nathan Miczo
Office: Memorial 302
Telephone: (309) 298-1507
Location of Program Offering: Macomb, Quad Cities

Graduate Faculty


  • Josh Averbeck, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
  • Christopher Carpenter, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Peter F. Jorgensen, Ph.D., University of Arizona
  • Maceio Ilon Lauer, Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • Nathan Miczo, Ph.D., University of Arizona

Associate Professor

  • John Miller, Ph.D., Wayne State University

Assistant Professor

  • Danyang Zhao, Ph.D., Florida State University

Learning Outcomes

For student learning outcomes, please see

 Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Communication emphasizes both theoretical and applied knowledge. The general communication program offers students higher levels of knowledge, skills, theory, research, and practical experience in the communication discipline. Students often participate in seminars and one-to-one work with faculty members.

Graduates of the program pursue professional careers in a broad range of business and educational organizations or continue their graduate education beyond the master’s level.

 Integrated Baccalaureate and Master's Degree Program

Please visit Integrated Programs for details and program offerings.

 Admission Requirements

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 OR 3.0 or higher GPA for the last two years (60 s.h.) of undergraduate work
  • Written goals statement explaining their decision to pursue a graduate degree in Communication from Western Illinois University
  • Example of scholarly writing (minimum of 5 pages)
  • International students must have an overall TOEFL score of at least 92 or an overall IELTS score of 6.5.

Those not holding at least an undergraduate minor in communication or those deficient in undergraduate courses, skills, or advanced theoretical knowledge may be asked, upon evaluation of their transcripts, to make up deficiencies prior to full graduate standing. If and when deficiencies exist in the applicant's undergraduate curriculum, specific undergraduate courses will be assigned to such an individual until the candidate has demonstrated a sufficient level of competence in the designated areas of concern. Deficiency courses do not apply toward graduate credit. Possible deficiency courses include:


COMM 130 Introduction to Human Communication
COMM 247 Argumentation
COMM 311 Research Design in Communication
COMM 312 Rhetorical Theory
COMM 343 Organizational Communication
COMM 344 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 356 Introduction to Persuasion

Each applicant will be evaluated on an individual basis; hence the nature and the number of courses to be made up (if any) will vary from student to student. The suggested menu of deficiency courses, therefore, should not be construed as all-inclusive nor as specific.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for regular admission to the Communication graduate program.

Students entering the Communication program must enroll during either the fall or spring semester.

 Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts degree in Communication requires a minimum of 33 semester hours of course work, to be distributed as follows:

I. Core Courses: 9 s.h.

COMM 500 Communication Theory (3)
COMM 504 Empirical Research in Human Communication (3)
COMM 506 Message Production (3)

II. Directed Departmental Electives: 9 s.h.

Directed electives must be at the 500 level, excluding COMM 520, COMM 596, COMM 601, COMM 602, COMM 603, COMM 604, and COMM 679.

III. Exit Options (Select one): 15–16 s.h.

A. Thesis

COMM 601 Thesis (6)
Directed Electives (9)

B. Creative Project

COMM 602 Creative Projects (3)
Directed Electives (12)

C. Research Paper

COMM 603 Research Paper (1)
Directed Electives (15)

D. Internship

COMM 604 Internship Presentation (1)
COMM 596 Graduate Internship (3)
Directed Electives (12)

TOTAL PROGRAM: 33–34 s.h.

 Course Descriptions

Communication (COMM)

409G Communication and Conflict Management. (3) Study of the role of communication in conflict. Consideration of the major theories of conflict management. Prerequisite: COMM 130; ENG 180 and 280.

410G Advanced Interpersonal Communication. (3) Study of theory, concepts and methodology relevant to communication in close relationships. Examination of the dynamics and management of interaction within these contexts. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 344; ENG 180 and 280.

413G Advanced Organizational Communication. (3) This course develops an understanding of theoretical and practical communication frameworks in order to analyze problems and generate strategies to overcome personal, group, and organizational barriers to effective communication in the workplace. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 343; ENG 180 and 280.

425G Health Communication. (3) This course will survey a number of topics relevant to both the institutional settings of medicine (e.g., doctor-patient interaction; media campaigns) as well as the interpersonal ramifications of illness (e.g., social support). Prerequisite: COMM 130.

428G Family Communication. (3) This course will investigate communication processes in the context of the family environment. Specifically, it will examine communication’s role in and its influence on family relational processes. Prerequisite: COMM 130 or permission of the instructor.

430G Communication Training and Development. (3) This course explores the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in effective communication training and development in organizations and/or consulting in the field of communication. Prerequisite: COMM 311.

441G Rhetoric and Public Culture. (3) Study of the ways symbolic action shapes and energizes public culture. Practical case studies detail the powerful uses of rhetoric across a range of public, professional, and educational contexts. Prerequisites: COMM 312; ENG 180 and 280.

445G Social Media Analytics. (3) Study of message and relational processes in social media. Examination of theory and research exploring how individuals share, send, and receive messages via communication technologies. Prerequisite: COMM 345.

456G Communication Campaigns. (3) Principles and practical steps in designing campaigns targeted at the public using strategic message and channel choices. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 356; ENG 180 and 280.

457G Social Influence. (3) Study of powerful impact other people have to change people’s minds. Students will learn how to leverage and resist social influences in their everyday lives. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 356; ENG 180 and 280.

480G Special Topics in Communication. (1-3, repeatable to 6, for different topics, with permission of department chair) This course deals with selected topics of interest in communication, such as nonverbal communication, intercultural communication, and family communication. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; completion of at least 12 s.h. in communication.

500 Communication Theory. (3) A survey of the scope, purpose, and development of theoretical approaches to inquiry in the field of human communication focusing on the major concepts, theories, perspectives, and research fields in the discipline, and experience in scholarly writing. Prerequisite: Communication majors only.

501 Seminar in Interpersonal Communication. (3) Study of major theories, concepts, and methodologies relevant to interpersonal communication.

503 Seminar in Persuasion. (3) Examination of major theories and related research dealing with communication and attitude formation, change, and reinforcement processes.

504 Empirical Research in Human Communication. (3) Introduction to research design, statistics and empirical measurement as applied to the study of human communication. Prerequisite: Communication majors only.

506 Message Production. (3) Study of contemporary communication theories with a focus on message design and production. Prerequisite: Communication majors only.

507 Seminar in Computer Mediated Communication. (3) Examination of major theories and concepts related to current usage of computer mediated communication in a variety of communication contexts including the analysis of problematic CMC issues such as online relationship processes, virtual culture building, trust, privacy, and identity.

508 Seminar in Rhetorical Theory. (3) Studies of historical and contemporary rhetorical theories.

510 Seminar in Organizational Communication. (3) Examines theoretical and practical organizational communication frameworks with a focus on understanding current issues and challenges in modern organizations.

511 Health Communication. (3) Provides a broad overview of theoretical and applied approaches to health communication including doctor-patient communication, health information campaigns, mass media influences on health, role of culture in health and disease, health care organizations, and group influences on well-being. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

512 Risk and Crisis Communication. (3) Examines risk and crisis communication management, including how to place, implement, and measure communication initiatives for rebuilding or expanding public trust. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

520 Research in Communication. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Independent study or guided experience. Prerequisite: Completion of nine semester hours of core course requirements.

538 Teaching Speech in College. (3) Guidance in planning units of instruction, writing objectives, devising strategies, teaching units, and evaluating speech performance in a college classroom situation. Includes practical application of principles and methods.

539 Seminar in Communication. (3, repeatable to 9) Consideration of philosophies of communication and review of current literature in the field.

596 Graduate Internship. (1–3, repeatable to 3) Supervised applied experience at a work site outside the Department of Communication. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Completion of at least 18 semester hours of Communication course work and approval of the graduate advisor and departmental supervisor.

601 Thesis. (3, repeatable to 6) Prerequisite: Completion of 18 semester hours of course work.

602 Creative Project. (3) Prerequisite: Completion of 18 semester hours of course work.

603 Research Paper. (1) This exit option will require students to complete a major revision of a previously written graduate seminar paper. The graduate student will work with the professor of record for the seminar chosen with the goal of revising the seminar paper until it would meet general expectations for being accepted for presentation at a national conference. Prerequisites: Completion of 27 semester hours of coursework.

604 Internship Presentation. (1) Students in the internship degree option present a paper on their internship. The paper will be approved by a committee of two faculty members and the department graduate coordinator. Prerequisite: Completion of 18 semester hours of coursework.