Communication Studies



Faculty: Professor McClure, chair; Professor Mundorf, director of graduate studies. Professors Brownell, Chen, Ketrow, Logan, Salazar, Swift, and Wood; Associate Professors Dicioccio, Leatham, McClure, Quainoo, and Torrens; Assistant Professors Healey Jamiel, Reyes, Roth, and Ye; Professors Emeritae Anderson, Devlin, and Doody.


Specializations offered in interpersonal communication, media studies, organizational communication, and public discourse. In consultation with advisors, students prepare for careers in public and private industry, government, or academic areas. Students are encouraged to develop their course plans to foster their evolving academic and career needs. Thus, one might advance specific interests and competencies in areas such as college teaching, communication technology, conflict management, political media, organizational communication training and development, or public relations. Individual specialties can be developed within each of the specialization areas.

For students’ convenience, most courses are offered in late afternoon or evening in Providence and Kingston. Full- and part-time programs of study are available.

Master of Arts

Admission requirements: Generally, GRE General Test (current GRE test format with analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative sections is requested), not older than five years, and bachelor’s degree with undergraduate credit in communication studies. Applicants should submit a paper with a research focus written for an undergraduate course. Students from other academic backgrounds may be admitted with the permission of the director of graduate studies, although some basic courses may have to be taken for no program credit. Nonnative speakers of English are expected to demonstrate proficiency in written and oral English communication (TOEFL score of 230 CBT or 88 iBT for admission; minimum of 250 CBT or 100 iBT, including 23 speaking score, for consideration for teaching assistantships. In all cases, the University minimum must be met on each of the four sections of the TOEFL exam; see Applications should be completed online (; completed application packets with support materials should be sent directly to Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication Studies, 60 Upper College Road, Suite 1, URI, Kingston, RI 02881. Completed applications, including support materials, must be received by February 1 for applicants who wish to be considered for financial aid. Applications received after that deadline but before July 15 will be reviewed on a space-available basis until the program is filled.

Program requirements: an approved program will include a minimum of 30 credits for both the thesis and nonthesis options. COM 501 and 502 are required for all students, and must to be completed prior to seminar or other course work. All students must complete one seminar in each of the four focus areas (12 credits): COM 510-interpersonal communication; COM 520-media studies; COM 530-organizational communication; and COM 540-public discourse. An additional course in research methods, statistics (e.g. STA 409 or PSY/STA 532), or data analysis is strongly recommended.

For the thesis option, the requirements are 24 course credits plus thesis (6 credits) and its oral defense. For the nonthesis option (admission with approval of the director of graduate studies), requirements are 30 credits of course work that includes a course requiring a substantial paper based on significant independent study, plus a comprehensive examination. The comprehensive consists of two sections: the written section, which examines the students proficiency and knowledge in each of the four focus areas; and the oral section, which allows for the student to strengthen written answers, and to address material related to the written questions.

For thesis students, six elective credits beyond their 18 specified credits may be taken. For nonthesis students, up to 12 credits of free electives may be taken. A limited number of 500- and 600-level courses in other departments and programs may be used for program credit if approved by the graduate program director as part of the students program of study before the courses are taken.

Students who take six credits per semester, plus one summer, may complete their studies in two years.

Financial Aid

All requests for assistantships must be sent to the director of graduate studies with the application packet. A limited number of teaching assistantships and an occasional research assistantship are available. In addition, some graduate assistantships outside the department may be available, such as in student life or residential housing. Priority will be given to applications received by February 1; therefore, assistantships will be awarded on a space-available basis.