The Department of Communication offers a thesis option and a non-thesis option for
students who complete the Masters degree. The completed thesis can carries six hours
of credit; non-thesis students will take an equal number of hours in regular classroom
courses. We recommend that early in the Masters program all students begin to consider
the possibility of developing a thesis direction.
The Masters thesis offers a student the opportunity to develop an individual research
project which focuses on answering a specialized question(s) in communication research.
Typically, this question is unique in that the answer does not currently exist in
the literature. Students may begin to identify areas of interest early in their coursework
and then describe the specific question after searching to find whether or not another
researcher has already provided the answer. Some students choose to replicate existing
research in an effort to determine the validity of an earlier researcher’s work.
The Department of Communication provides standardized timelines for developing a thesis.
However, in order to begin the process of considering the thesis-option, students
should follow these steps.
Talk with your advisor early in the graduate program about how one chooses a research
question and what the thesis process involves as to time required and the nature of
When you decide on a general topic, you should talk with the Graduate Director or
Advisor and complete a form that indicates the thesis topic, the full-time faculty
member who will direct the thesis, other committee members, and the anticipated date
The Graduate Director will contact the faculty members named on the Form and ask them
to verify that they have agreed to serve in those capacities. The Form becomes a document
that provides validation to you and to the faculty that the process is underway. Once
you have the form complete, the Graduate Director will enter an override in TopNet
allowing you to register from COMM 599: Thesis and Research Writing.
Completion of the Thesis Declaration Form does not obligate you to complete the thesis,
but it provides the Department with information about your intentions.
If you change your plan and decide to complete six class hours instead of doing the
thesis, you should inform the Graduate Director or your Advisor of your decision.
The Graduate Director will notify the faculty members listed as the Thesis Committee.