** See Addendum for update to this program.**
The mission of the Department of Applied Communication is to foster the co-creation of better social worlds through positive communication. Our Master of Arts in Applied Communication Studies provides graduate students with a solid theoretical and practical understanding of how communication practices operate in everyday life. Students learn to develop positive communicative skills that are necessary to function effectively in all areas of today’s business and professional world.
We achieve this mission by having students complete class and final projects primarily focused on six communication applications:(a) communication and organizational culture analysis; (b) communication and transformation/change; (c) positive interpersonal communication; (d) conflict management; (e) crisis and renewal communication; and (f) experiential learning in presentations and trainings
Our curriculum fosters a strong knowledge base grounded in communication theory and its various applications, such as management, consulting, human resources, training, organization development, relational communication, health care, education, and public relations. An undergraduate background in applied communication is helpful but is not required.
Individualized Focus Area
The above six applications launch students into their areas of focus or emphasis. Elective courses, projects within required classes, and the final M.A. project involve students in tailoring their program to fit their goals. Students are encouraged to identify focus areas relevant to their career goals.
To support your career development, we will aid you in connecting with our diverse alumni network. You will find support for an array of emphasis areas: internal and external communication, public health, conflict mediation, business leadership and management, consulting, human resources, training, organization development, intercultural/diversity initiatives, non-profit leadership, relational communication, health care, education, and public relations.
As students enter the program, we identify ways to maximize coursework, including electives and the final project to fit their career goals. Review this sample course sequence to understand the flow of our unique blended program designed for working professionals. This sequence of courses is then adapted based on student goals.
Our program has built bridges with UAMS for those interested in health communication. In addition, students may concurrently enroll in and complete a Conflict Mediation Certificate. Furthermore, the UA Little Rock MBA program has identified a set of courses for those interested in this focus area.
We also offer a unique, concurrent program with the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. This 60 hour program provides training for students with an interest in serving communication roles in public health arena. Students participating in the concurrent programs earn an MA in Applied Communication Studies and an MA in Public Health.
Students with an interest in doctoral work gain a solid foundation in applied communication research and theory. These students benefit from the personal attention of faculty devoted to preparing them for the next step in their education. Alumni from our master’s program now serve as professors at schools ranging from Purdue and Clemson to Kansas State and the Clinton School of Public Service.
Students interested in pursuing doctoral work may complete any of the above tracks toward an M.A. We encourage pre-doctoral students to take an additional research methods course and to revise and submit major course papers to professional conferences and journals. Students with interests in doctoral work thus gain the benefit of exposure to applied communication research and theory as well as the personal attention of faculty devoted to preparing them for the next step in their education.
Send directly to UA Little Rock Graduate School
- Official transcripts from ALL previously attended colleges and universities
- $40 application fee
- Copy of your government-issued photo ID
- Proof of 2 MMR vaccines. For more information on this requirement, visit Health Services’ website.
Send directly to Applied Communication graduate coordinator:
- 300-500 word professional statement indicating your goals and fit with the program
- 2 faculty-approved writing samples from previous coursework or approved professional writing samples showing potential for graduate work. If academic or professional writing samples are not available, the graduate coordinator will provide writing prompts to guide in developing samples.
- A list of 3 academic and/or professional references with contact information (do not have letters sent)
- Resume or curriculum vitae
Important facts about the application process
- International students should refer to the Graduate School International Student Admission Policy for additional required application materials.
- Applicants are reviewed and offered admission based on qualifications for admission in light of the number of available slots in the program. In some cases, admission may need to be deferred until slots are available.
- Admissions criteria are based on two categories: regular and special conditional admission, as outlined below.
Applicants seeking regular admission must meet one of the following requirements:
- A baccalaureate degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited domestic institution or an international institution recognized by the International Association of Universities with substantially the same undergraduate program as found at UA Little Rock
- A baccalaureate degree with GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 undergraduate hours (including post-baccalaureate hours)
- An advanced degree (master’s or doctoral) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited domestic institution or an international institution recognized by the International Association of Universities.
Applicants must also fulfill the following:
- Writing samples must receive a 2.5 on a 3.0 rating scale demonstrating readiness for graduate level work by the graduate faculty selection committee (see Appendix A).
- Be a good fit for the program based on professional statement, resume/curriculum vitae, and references.
Important facts about regular admission:
- An unofficial transcript for preliminary review should be sent to the graduate coordinator. This process will help identify if you need preparatory post-baccalaureate coursework and/or ACOM 7390 after admission, in addition to the 33 hours required for the program.
- A 3.0 GPA must be met to maintain regular admission status. A GPA dropping below 3.0 will result in academic probation for a semester to allow the GPA to be raised. Students not raising their GPA to a 3.0 will be suspended from the program.
Special Conditional Admission
Students who have supplied all admission materials and did not meet all requirements for regular admission may be admitted as special conditional students. Students seeking admission for special conditional admission must meet all of the following requirements:
- A baccalaureate degree with a cumulative GPA between 2.0 and 2.69 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited domestic institution or an international institution recognized by the International Association of Universities with substantially the same undergraduate program found at UA Little Rock.
- Writing samples receiving a 2.5 on a 3.0 rating scale demonstrating readiness for graduate level work by the graduate faculty selection committee (see Appendix A).
- Be a good fit for the program based on professional statement, resume/curriculum vitae, and references.
Important facts about special conditional admission:
- Special conditional admission applicants are reviewed and offered admission based on qualifications for admission in light of the number of special conditional admission slots available in the program. In some cases, special conditional admission may need to be deferred until slots are available.
- The student may be moved to regular admission status after completing 9 hours if he or she maintains a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The student will be dismissed after the first 9 hours if the GPA is not at least 3.0 or satisfactory progress is not being made toward meeting regular admission requirements.
- Graduate assistantships are not offered to special conditional applicants.
Early Entry Admission
Exceptional UA Little Rock undergraduate students working toward a major or minor in Applied Communication Studies may apply and be accepted to the MAACS program and begin working towards their graduate degree while completing their baccalaureate degree. The Early Entry program will allow participating students to combine their undergraduate studies with graduate level coursework. Additionally, it will enable them to complete their graduate degree in a shorter amount of time than the traditional path.
Early Entry Admission Requirements
- Undergraduate students who are majoring or minoring in one of the undergraduate programs in Applied Communication may apply and be accepted any time after completing 75 or more hours of undergraduate coursework. However, at least 90 hours of undergraduate coursework must have been completed by the time the first graduate course is taken.
- All applicants must have at least a 3.0 overall GPA in all their undergraduate coursework, and a 3.2 GPA in 12 or more hours in our program, to include ACOM 2310, 2311, 3320, and one additional ACOM or equivalent class.
- All applicants must complete an application and be accepted into the desired graduate program and the UA Little Rock Graduate School.
- All applicants must complete an Early-Entry program form and have it approved by the graduate coordinator and the Graduate School. This form must be approved before the student begins graduate coursework. Failure to obtain prior approval negates the ability to “double count” courses.
Alternative Pathways to Admission
If an applicant does not meet regular or special conditional admission requirements but can document a substantive career record that suggests the experience, maturity, and aptitude for graduate work, they may have the options of working with the graduate selection committee for an alternative pathway to admission. This path will vary depending on the factors that preventing the applicant from receiving regular or special conditional admission (e.g., low score on writing samples or GPA). Additional undergraduate coursework may be recommended before re-applying.
Special, non-degree-seeking students—students not seeking a degree at UA Little Rock—who have completed all admission forms and have an undergraduate GPA of at least a 2.7 (2.0 for special conditional admission) may be admitted as special, non-degree-seeking students. Enrollment in this category of special students involves consultation with the graduate coordinator and the Graduate School.
Transient students enrolled in another accredited graduate school and who secure a letter of good-standing from the dean of that graduate school may be admitted to UA Little Rock as transient students.
Appendix A: Applied Communication Studies Applicant Writing Assessment Rubric
The following rating scale will be used by the graduate faculty selection committee. The graduate faculty selection committee will meet to discuss scores and review the full application packet. This scale focuses on program learning outcomes related to writing and application of communication theory in an applied context. Some writing samples, from other programs for instance, may not have the required use of theory and/or the development of implications.
||Criteria is not addressed (e.g., wrong understanding of concept; a thesis is not present; no support for main claims, etc.)
||Criteria is addressed, but not developed (e.g., analysis is surface; limited support for a claim; examples are present, but not closely tied to concept; etc.)
||Criteria is addressed and developed
____1. Responds to each part of the question/writing prompt/assignment
____2. Clearly states a thesis/main claim that states a position on issues in case
____3. Support includes relevant examples, references, and/or theories
____4. Accurate use of concepts, terminology, and/or theory
____5. Suggestions for practical implications connected to main claim/argument
____6. Write in a manner that is clear (relatively free of grammar and spelling problems)
____7. Well-organized (intro, previews, clear main points, summary restates position)
- What was missing or not adequately developed?
- What possible patterns of learning strengths emerged?
- What possible patterns of learning needs emerged?
- Other comments.
A limited number of graduate assistantships for master’s-level students are available. Contact the program coordinator for information. Deadline for application is March 15 or until qualified students are found for available positions.
The program is offered in the evening and weekends in a synchronous online format. Course work can be completed in two calendar years. Students are required to complete 33 credit hours, which includes 24 core hours (8 courses) plus 6 elective hours (2 courses) and a final project (3 hours). The 24-hour core (8 courses) can begin either in the summer or at the start of the fall semester and must be completed in sequence. Students desiring to start the program in the spring semester can work with the program coordinator to identify electives to take. Two courses (6 hours) of electives are offered during summer semesters, but students seeking to take additional hours during the fall or spring may elect to take electives offered during the day, online, and/or during special weekend (5 week) courses. The final project (ACOM 8301 Master’s Research Paper ) grows from first year course work, and students are guided to complete this project during their second year. Students may also select a final project growing from an internship (ACOM 8300 Communication Skill Center Internship or ACOM 8304 /ACOM 8604 Cooperative Education).