The Master of Arts degree serves as a foundation for the
Ph.D. in Communication and Culture. Students work with one or more members of
the Graduate Affairs Committee to construct a curriculum that addresses
individual needs and interests while benefiting from the broad expertise of
Candidates for the Master of
Arts (M.A.) degree must complete a minimum of thirty credit hours of
approved graduate coursework as designated below:
- Two of the following three introductory courses: C501 - Introduction to Rhetoric and Public Culture, C502 - Introduction to Performance and Ethnography in Communication and Culture, or C503 - Introduction to Media Aesthetics.
- One of the following
three methods courses: C505 - Productive Criticism of Political Rhetoric, C506
- Methods of Ethnography, or C507 - Media research Methods. The
course should be in the same area (Rhetoric and Public Culture, Film and Media
Studies, or Performance and Ethnography) as one of the introductory courses
from Requirement 1.
- C700 –
Independent Readings in Communication and Culture. Students choose to be
examined on two reading lists drawn from the three departmental areas of research (rhetoric and public
culture, film and media, and performance and ethnography), most of which they
will study in the framework of the introductory and methodological courses
mentioned in (1) above. In C700, students also
work independently with the reading lists in preparation for the M.A.
Comprehensive Examination. Much of the work for C700 is normally taken during
the summer following the first full year of coursework but it is also spread
across the whole period preceding the MA exams. Students will be graded in
C700 on the basis of the outcome of their examination, with a high pass being
recorded as an A+, a pass on the first attempt as an A, a pass after
rewriting one question as A-, and a pass after retaking the exam as B+, and a
fail as F.
additional eighteen hours of graduate coursework, of which no more than six
hours will be at the 400-level, and no more than three hours of
C710. Students may take a maximum of eight hours of coursework outside of the
Department of Communication and Culture. Courses taken at the 400-level
must be specifically approved for graduate credit.
- Students may
transfer a maximum of eight hours of graduate coursework with grades of B+ or
better with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of
the University Graduate School.
- Nine thousand
word, take-home, written comprehensive examination to be administered in
January or May of the second year of coursework.
taken towards the M.A. must be completed no more than five years prior to the
awarding of the degree. Coursework that does not meet this criterion may be
revalidated. For the rules governing revalidation, see the University
Graduate School Bulletin.
must achieve a GPA of 3.5 in order to be awarded an M.A.
M.A. Comprehensive Examination
The M.A. Comprehensive Examination
asks students to draw synthetically on reading lists in two of the
department’s three focal areas (rhetoric and public culture, film and media, and
performance/ethnography). In that sense, it both fulfills the
interdisciplinary mission of the department and provides students with a
vehicle through which to integrate three semesters of course material. The
purpose of the MA examination is for students to demonstrate (a) their
knowledge and understanding of key concepts, theories and critical issues in
their chosen two topoi; (b) their ability to synthesize the scholarly
literature of their chosen topoi by bringing it to bear on critical issues
within the topoi; (c) their ability to think productively across their chosen
topoi by relating the scholarly literature of two topoi to issues of concern
to both; (d) capacities for critical thinking, analysis and effective written
communication appropriate for students at the Masters level.
Students prepare for the exam, via
an independent study readings course (C700). In addition, throughout their
coursework and reading, students should draw together and synthesize readings
from the two topoi they have selected, in preparation for writing the exam. The
exam is posted on the CMCL website and is administered electronically.
The M.A. reading list in Communication and Culture consists of three separate
lists, each calibrated to one of the department's three areas of research. Students are expected to complete the readings from any
two of the three lists, in the topoi for which they have taken the
introductory and methods classes, in order to prepare for the 9,000 word M.A. Exam.
Current reading lists are posted on the CMCL website.
The examination consists of a 3,000
word response to a question in one topos or research area, a second 3,000 word
response to a question in a different topos, and a 3,000 word response to a
question that asks the student to articulate relationships between those two
areas of research. Each student determines which two areas of research s/he
will select for the examination. If, for example, a given student chooses to
prepare for exams on rhetoric and media, s/he will write a 3,000 word
response in rhetoric and another 3,000 word response in media, followed by a 3,000
word response that relates rhetoric and media.
The exam questions will be drafted
by the most recent instructors of C501, C502 and C503 (including the
questions that cross topoi) and revised by the M.A. Examination Committee in
consultation with the instructors. The M.A.
Examination Committee will consist of one faculty member from each topos. All
students will answer the same question in a given topos. Thus, for example,
one question in performance and ethnographic studies will be prepared for all
students who have selected this topos as one of the two areas of research in
which they wish to be examined. Similarly, one question will be prepared in
rhetoric and one in media for students who wish to write in either or both of
The M.A. exam is regularly
scheduled two times each year – in January and May, (with an opportunity for
those who took but failed the exam in May to retake it in August). Students applying for the PhD in CMCL should consult the DGS about the best time to take the exam. A student who does not plan to pursue the PhD may elect to take the M.A. exam during a regularly scheduled exam period in May.
M.A. exam is evaluated by the M.A. Examination Committee plus one faculty
member of the student’s choosing. The identity of the student will be masked
to all evaluators except for the faculty member of the candidate’s choosing.
Once the student determines which areas the examination will cover, and no
later than one month prior to when the examination will be taken, the student
needs to file the Application for the M.A. Examination with the Graduate
Secretary. Note that members of the Graduate Affairs Committee are ineligible
to serve as graders for the MA exam.
The results of the exam will be
graded pass, high pass, or fail. Passing the exam requires that each of the three
examination answers has been passed by the examiners. A high pass requires
that all three examination answers have been graded as a high pass by the
examiners. If two or more of the examination answers are graded as fails by
the examiners, the student is deemed to have failed the exam. If only one of
the examination answers is deemed to have failed, the student is deemed to
have failed the exam in part.
exams with fewer than three passes will be reviewed by the Graduate Affairs
Committee, which may uphold or overturn the M.A. Committee’s assessment. The
evaluation of the Graduate Affairs Committee is final within the department.
results will be reported to the student by the Director of Graduate Studies.
In the case of a failing exam, the Director of Graduate Studies will hold a
face-to-face meeting with the student and will provide a written evaluation
of the exam.
Students who fail the M.A. Exam in
whole will be placed immediately on academic probation. Such students will
have the opportunity to retake the exam questions that they failed during a
subsequent regularly scheduled examination period. Any student who fails the
examination a second time will be formally dismissed from the program.