Ron Warren
Chair of the Department
417 Kimpel Hall

Ryan Neville-Shepard
Graduate Coordinator
515 Kimpel Hall

Department of Communication Website

Degree Conferred:

Program Description: Communication with specific emphasis in civic engagement. We define civic engagement broadly, but seek to study and use communication to create more inclusive organizations, more resilient communities, and more informed and engaged citizens.

Primary Areas of Faculty Research:  Film; media; rhetoric; organizational, environmental, health, interpersonal, intercultural and political issues using interpretive, quantitative, rhetorical and critical lenses.

M.A. in Communication

Prerequisites to Degree Program: A student entering graduate studies should have a minimum of 24 semester hours in undergraduate credit within the area of communication or closely related studies. Prospective students must supply: 1) three letters of recommendation (preferably from professors who can comment on their ability to do graduate-level work) and 2) their GRE examination scores through the Graduate School application portal. They must send 3) an essay-length writing sample (preferably an essay or research paper written for a class) and 4) a statement of their goals for graduate study in Communication at the University of Arkansas.

Requirements for a Master of Arts Degree: A minimum of 33 graduate credit hours, selected from one of the following options:

  • Completion of 33 credit hours plus a comprehensive exam in the final semester; or
  • Completion of 30 credit hours plus COMM 5923 Capstone Course in Communication; or
  • Completion of 27 credit hours plus six credit hours in COMM 600V Master's Thesis.

The following departmental requirements must be met by students pursuing the M.A. in Communication:

  1. Completion of COMM 5163 Introduction to Communication Paradigms during the first semester of resident graduate study in which it is offered.
  2. Two graduate courses in communication research methods taken in the first year of graduate study, selected from the following:  COMM 5173 Qualitative Methods in Communication, COMM 5123 Quantitative Research Methods in Communication, or COMM 5183 Interpretive Research Methods in Communication.  
  3. In addition to the course requirements listed above, at least 12 credit hours numbered at the 5000-level must be completed in the Department of Communication. Within these, nine credit hours should be in one focal area of civic engagement.
  4. The remaining graduate credit hours must be selected from the following options:
    1. Additional COMM seminar courses numbered at the 5000-level;
    2. Up to six credit hours numbered at the 5000-level or higher outside the department that directly relate to the student’s plan of study;
    3. Three credit hours of internship in COMM 5913 Internship in Communication;
    4. Up to six credit hours in COMM 590V Special Problems.

Students should also be aware of Graduate School requirements with regard to master's degrees.

Graduate Faculty

Aloia, Lindsey S., Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University), M.A. (University of Delaware), B.A. (College of New Jersey), Associate Professor, 2015.
Amason, Trish, Ph.D. (Purdue University), M.A. (University of Kentucky), B.S.E. (University of Arkansas), Associate Professor, 1994, 2000.
Brady, Robert M., Ph.D. (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor), M.A. (Western Kentucky University), B.S. (Murray State University), Associate Professor, 1979.
Butcher, Margaret, Ph.D. (University of Missouri), M.A., B.S. (Arkansas State University), Teaching Assistant Professor, 2016.
Catron-Ping, Peggy Lee, Ed.D. (University of Arkansas), M.T.S. (Phillips Theological Seminary), M.A. (Missouri State University), B.A. (Central Bible College), Instructor, 2004.
Corrigan, Lisa, Ph.D., M.A. (University of Maryland-College Park), B.A. (University of Pittsburgh), Professor, 2007, 2019.
Hatfield, Joe, Ph.D. (University of Colorado), M.A. (Syracuse University), B.A. University of North Texas), Assistant Professor, 2020.
Jennings, Freddie, Ph.D. (University of Missouri), M.A., B.A. University of Arkansas), Teaching Assistant Professor, 2018.
Jones, Ringo, M.F.A. (Miami University), B.A. (Northern Kentucky University), Assistant Professor, 2020.
Neville-Shepard, Meredith D., Ph.D. (University of Kansas), M.A. (University of Kansas), B.A. (Furman University), Assistant Professor, 2016.
Neville-Shepard, Ryan M., Ph.D. (University of Kansas), M.A. (University of Kansas), B.A. (Bates College), Associate Professor, 2016.
Scheide, Frank Milo, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison), M.A. (New York University), B.S. (University of Wisconsin-River Falls), Professor, 1977, 2008.
Schulte, Stephanie Ricker, Ph.D., M.A. (George Washington University), B.A. (University of Arkansas), Professor, 2008.
Spialek, Matthew L., Ph.D. (University of Missouri), M.S., B.S. (Illinois State University), Associate Professor, 2016.
Walker, Kasey, Ph.D., M.A. (Purdue University), B.S. (Trinity University), Teaching Assistant Professor, 2006.
Warren, Ron, Ph.D. (Indiana University), M.A. (Colorado State University), B.A. (Michigan State University), Associate Professor, 1997, 2003.
Wicks, Robert Howard, Ph.D. (Michigan State University), M.A. (University of Missouri-Columbia), B.A. (American University), Professor, 1994, 2006.


COMM 5111. Colloquium in Communication Research. 1 Hour.

Presentation, evaluation, and discussion of research proposals or on-going research projects. Graduate students are required to register for this course each semester of residence. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring) May be repeated for degree credit.

COMM 5123. Quantitative Research Methods in Communication. 3 Hours.

Emphasizes the assumptions and procedures of social scientific research methods in communication. (Typically offered: Fall)

COMM 5133. Media Processes & Effects. 3 Hours.

Introduction to scholarly research and theory in media processes and effects. Particular attention will be devoted to the impact of media messages on individuals and societies. Emphasis will be placed on the construction and development of theory. (Typically offered: Fall)

COMM 5163. Introduction to Communication Paradigms. 3 Hours.

Introduces the variety of modes of inquiry used in communication. Reviews the field's history and boundaries. Explores contemporary communication research. (Typically offered: Fall)

COMM 5173. Qualitative Methods in Communication. 3 Hours.

Emphasizes the assumptions and procedures of qualitative research methods in the examination of human communication behavior. (Typically offered: Spring)

COMM 5183. Interpretive Research Methods in Communication. 3 Hours.

Examines various perspectives used to analyze and critique various texts (e.g., media programming, speeches). (Typically offered: Spring)

COMM 5193. Seminar in Communication. 3 Hours.

Research, discussion, and papers focus on one of a variety of communication topics including symbolic processes in communication, philosophy of rhetoric, communication education, criticism of contemporary communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and contemporary applications of rhetoric. Maximum credit is 9 semester hours. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer) May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

COMM 5323. Seminar in Persuasion. 3 Hours.

Focus is on comparing theoretical accounts of persuasion and research evidence concerning the effects of various factors on persuasion. (Typically offered: Fall)

COMM 5333. Interpersonal Communication Theory. 3 Hours.

Survey of the theoretical orientations in interpersonal communication with primary focus on conceptual, philosophical and research issues. (Typically offered: Fall Even Years)

COMM 5343. Interpersonal Communication. 3 Hours.

Theory and research concerning the exchange of information and the mutual influencing of behavior among people. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Fall)

COMM 5373. Content Analysis. 3 Hours.

Techniques for observing and analyzing the overt communication behavior of selected communicators. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5383. Seminar in Political Communication. 3 Hours.

Research seminar focusing on selected topics such as candidate imagery, diffusion of political information, or political symbolism. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5403. Organizational Communication Theory. 3 Hours.

A seminar on the historical development of theory and research into communication processes occurring within an organizational setting. Lecture, discussion, oral and written reports. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5473. Treatment of Native Americans in Film. 3 Hours.

Compares the treatment of Native Americans in film with how representatives of this group identify themselves. Will also focus on motion pictures relating to Native Americans produced by indigenous filmmakers. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5503. Communication and Cultural Studies. 3 Hours.

Examinations of the role of communication in modern culture. Emphasis is upon the production and circulation of meanings with society, and special attention is given to the role of popular and mass media in this process. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Fall)

COMM 5653. Feminist Texts and Theories. 3 Hours.

Explores concepts and ideologies that articulate and define principles of feminism. Attention given to critical and creative works that challenge the centrality of gender in feminist analyses through intersections of race, class, nationality, and sexuality. (Typically offered: Fall Odd Years)
This course is cross-listed with GNST 5653.

COMM 5763. Health Communication. 3 Hours.

Examines the difficulties of effective communication between health care providers and recipients including the following: issues of social support, conveying bad news, cultural issues, and identifying relevant communication skills associated with effective health care provision. Explores medical education models for training in effective patient-provider communication. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5823. Political Communication. 3 Hours.

Covers contemporary political communication theory and applies them to understand modern political campaigns. Topics covered include the rhetoric of politics, political advertising, the role of the media and public opinion, the impact of new technology, campaign speech genres, political debates, and the role of social identity in presidential campaigns. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5833. The Rhetoric of the Modern American Presidency. 3 Hours.

Study contemporary presidents' reliance on public persuasion, especially in efforts to bypass Congress and accomplish complicated political goals. Explore the origins of the concept of the "rhetorical presidency," specifically how it developed and changed the nature of the executive branch of government. Examine major genres of modern presidential rhetoric illustrating that trend. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5843. Legal Communication. 3 Hours.

Examines communication processes in the legal environment and focuses on communication skills and behaviors among judges, attorneys, litigants, and jurors. Particular attention will be given to verbal strategies and nonverbal messages related to interviews, negotiation, mediation, and litigation and to the rhetorical functions of legal pleadings and judicial opinions. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5853. American Film Survey. 3 Hours.

A survey of major American film genres, major directors and films that have influenced the development of motion pictures. (Typically offered: Fall and Summer)

COMM 5863. History and Development of International Film I. 3 Hours.

A critical survey of international film as a distinctive art form and as a medium of expression and communication with attention given to films and cinema from its origins to 1975. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 5873. History and Development of International Film II. 3 Hours.

A critical survey of international film as a distinctive art form and as a medium of expression and communication with attention given to films and cinema from 1975 to the present. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 590V. Special Problems. 1-6 Hour.

Credit by arrangement. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer) May be repeated for degree credit.

COMM 5913. Internship in Communication. 3 Hours.

Internship in applied communication within public and private organizations. Prerequisite: 15 hours graduate level communication in residence. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer)

COMM 5923. Capstone Course in Communication. 3 Hours.

Students organize and synthesize knowledge developed throughout their graduate coursework into a tangible capstone product which becomes part of their professional portfolio. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer)

COMM 5993. Readings In Cultural Studies. 3 Hours.

Classic and current theoretical approaches to cultural studies. Subject matter changes depending on student interest and faculty expertise. (Typically offered: Irregular)

COMM 600V. Master's Thesis. 1-6 Hour.

Master's Thesis. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring) May be repeated for degree credit.