Portland-State-University 2022-2023 Bulletin

Communication M.S.

All students must meet both University and Department requirements to successfully complete the graduate program in communication.  Successful students earn a Master’s of Science degree with a major in Communication.  

All students must complete a total of 46 graduate credits, of which 40 are taken in coursework, plus an additional 6 credits toward the student’s Thesis or Project (exam).  Every student completes the three core courses (12 credits) in addition to elective courses (28 credits).  All students complete 6 credits toward their culminating thesis or project.  Research Track students complete a thesis.  Professional Track students may complete either a thesis or the project (exam) with the approval of the graduate faculty.  

Communication graduate students are expected to develop an understanding and appreciation of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological breadth of the discipline and to develop expertise in the pursuit of particular interests in the study of communication.


Each student’s program must be based on the following:

Core theory courses:

Each student is required to take one core theory course:

Comm 511Introduction to Communication Theory


Core methods courses:

Each student is required to take two core methods courses as follows:

Comm 521Quantitative Methods in Communication Research


Comm 531Qualitative Methods in Communication Research


Total required core course credits:

Total Credit Hours:12

Minimum elective course credits:

Total Credit Hours:28

Minimum Thesis or Project credits:

Total Credit Hours:6

Total Credit Hours: 46

Students are encouraged to choose electives from within the Department, and courses taken outside the Department must be approved by the student’s program advisor in order to count toward the requirements of the degree.

Every student is encouraged to take one credit of Comm 507 (Communication Research Apprenticeship) per quarter (a maximum of 6 credits may be counted toward the requirements of the degree). Comm 507 involves working closely with a faculty member in order to gain hands-on experience in how to conduct communication research.

All students need at least 40 credits in graduate coursework, including the core requirements, electives and apprenticeship courses. In addition, all students need at least 6 credits of Thesis or Project, bringing the total number of credits to 46.

Program options

All students complete one of the following with close supervision of their advisor.  We strongly encourage students to pursue the thesis option.

a. Thesis

The thesis entails a systematic study of a significant problem and contributes to the body of knowledge relevant to the study.  A thesis is a research report completed in close consultation with the student’s academic advisor and may be either quantitative or qualitative.  Each student who elects the thesis option will complete a written thesis and pass a final oral examination.  Prior to beginning work on the thesis, students must demonstrate proficiency in relevant theories and research methods. Students must complete at least 6 thesis credits (Comm 503).

b. Project

Students who choose the Project Option work closely with their faculty advisor on planning a course of study grounded in relevant theories, concepts and practices.  All students who choose this option must demonstrate appropriate research and methodological competency by successfully completing 3 exams as the culminating project.  Students must complete at least 6 project credits (Comm 506).