Research M.A.

The Research M.A. focuses on developing tools in mass communication research and typically leads to enrollment in a doctoral program. Coursework should provide background and training in an appropriate mixture of communication theory and analytical tools; solid grasp of theory and methods should be evident in the student’s M.A. thesis. The student defends the thesis before a three-person certification committee in an oral examination at the end of the program.

Degree Requirements

  • Minimum of 30 graduate credits (courses numbered 300 and above). Students must earn at least 16 credits at UW–Madison.
  • Students must maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA in all graduate work and successfully defend a master’s thesis.

The program must include:

  • Two 800- or 900-level courses in journalism and mass communication
  • Twelve graduate credits (minimum) in journalism and mass communication
  • Six graduate credits (minimum) outside of journalism and mass communication

Suggested Timeline

  • Thesis proposal at end of second semester of coursework
  • Proposal meeting with committee before research begins
  • Defense of thesis at end of fourth semester after admission

Criteria for Satisfactory Progress

  • Master’s students must earn a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point average by the end of the second semester in residence and must maintain that GPA for the duration of the degree program. Grades in courses numbered 300 and above count toward the GPA.
  • Master’s students who earn grades of “incomplete” must remove those grades in the semester following their occurrence. A request for a waiver of this rule may be granted in rare cases. Waiver requests should be submitted to the Journalism and Mass Communication Graduate Committee.
  • Master’s students must maintain steady progress toward completion of the degree. Full-time master’s students can expect to spend 1.5 to 2 years earning the degree. The time to degree completion varies for part-time students.
  • Master’s students must satisfy all Graduate School degree requirements.

The Review Board

The Journalism and Mass Communication Graduate Committee constitutes the review board for the M.A. degree. The review board is charged with all final decisions as to satisfactory progress. A review of each student’s progress is made at the end of each semester and, in cases where student performance has not met satisfactory progress criteria, a letter is sent to the student and faculty advisor. Students who receive such a letter have a maximum of four weeks to provide a written response concerning any special reasons or circumstances relevant to their failure to meet the satisfactory progress criteria. The Review Board will examine all cases involving lack of satisfactory progress to determine appropriate action. A finding of “unsatisfactory progress” by the Review Board may be grounds for a one-semester probation, suspension of funding (if applicable) or dismissal from the graduate program, at the Review Board’s discretion.

Please review the M.A. Handbook for specific policies and procedures.