Jun 18, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 
Graduate Catalog

Mass Communication, M.A.

The Master of Arts in Mass Communication program is located within the School of Mass Communication (SMC) and emphasizes critical thinking about media content and its effects on the public. It also teaches students how to analyze and conduct scholarly research in Mass Communication and how to write up and present the results of such research to both scholarly and non- scholarly audiences. Although the program does not emphasize the teaching of journalistic writing skills, it does offer limited opportunities to earn graduate credit in advanced skills course work in Mass Communication and Public Relations.

The program is open to students with undergraduate majors or minors in Mass Communication, to working journalists, and to those without Mass Communication backgrounds who are willing to complete several undergraduate Mass Communication skills courses, as determined by the program coordinator upon admission.

Students can complete this program in the traditional face-to-face setting or online. We offer courses online, in the evening and morning for the convenience of working professionals. Generally, these courses meet once a week for approximately three hours.

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) on the last 60 hours of undergraduate credit
  • Letter of 250-500 words outlining professional goals and purpose for desiring the degree
  • A résumé of professional and academic experience and accomplishments
  • Two letters of recommendation from former professors who can evaluate the applicant’s academic abilities

All of these materials, including official transcript(s) from the institution(s) awarding the last 60 undergraduate semester hours, all graduate hours, and all degrees must be submitted to the UA Little Rock Graduate School. In evaluating each applicant, the graduate program admissions committee weighs the transcript(s) and evidence of professional competence or potential. Students whose application materials do not satisfy regular admission requirements may submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as supplemental information to be considered by the admissions committee.

Early Entry Program

Undergraduate students may apply and be accepted provisionally into the MA program any time after completing 75 or more hours of undergraduate course work. However, at least 90 hours of undergraduate coursework must have been completed by the time the first graduate mass communication course is taken. 

All applicants must have a least a 3.2 overall GPA to be considered. 

All applicants must complete an Early-Entry Application, be interviewed and approved for admission by the SMC graduate coordinator. The graduate coordinator’s decision is final and cannot be appealed. 

The Early-Entry Application must be approved by the graduate coordinator before the student begins graduate coursework. Failure to obtain prior approval negates the ability to “double count” courses. 

Graduate Credit: 

Once accepted into the MA program, students can take up to 12 hours of graduate cousework, which will count towards both the bachelor’s and master’s degree. 

Students must complete their bachelor’s degree before they complete 15 hours of graduate coursework. 

Program Restrictions: 

Students must meet with the SMC graduate coordinator after acceptance into the early entry program to plan and approve the graduate courses they will take. 

Accepted students will have provisional status in the graduate program, pending the award of their baccalaureate degree.  If, at the end of his/her baccalaureate degree, an early entry student has failed to meet the Graduate School admission requirement of a 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA with no grades below a B, she/he will be dismissed from the SMC MA program. 

Students accepted into the early entry program will be subject to the same policies as traditional graduate students. 

The early entry program may not be used in conjunction with the credit reservation program; therefore, no graduate courses take before admission to the early entry program may be applied to the MA degree. 

Program Requirements

The Mass Communication graduate program offers two options: thesis and professional. A comprehensive project and at least 33 hours of study at UA Little Rock are required of all students. Each student’s program is subject to an adviser’s approval.

All MA students must complete:

Three (3) hours of Law/ Policy Requirement

Three (3) hours of Law/ Policy Requirement by choosing one of these course:

Three (3) hours of Ethics/Diversity Requirement

Three (3) hours of Ethics/Diversity Requirement by choosing one of:

All courses usually are taken in the School of Mass Communication

All courses usually are taken in the School of Mass Communication; however, up to 9 approved cognate graduate hours may be taken in other graduate areas. In some instances, courses from another area can form a concentration area. Only six hours with grades of C can count toward the degree.

If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, that student may enroll for only three credits per semester until the GPA rises to 3.0 or higher. The Mass Communication graduate program coordinator may make exceptions to this rule, if circumstances warrant them. Students who have not studied Mass Communication at the undergraduate level or who do not have sufficient professional Mass Communication experience to master basic news writing, reporting, and editing skills will be required to complete any or all of the following courses:

  • MCOM 2350 Beginning Reporting
  • MCOM 3320 Advanced Reporting

Two of the following courses may be required for graduate credit:

Students without an undergraduate background in Mass Communication should take MCOM 5352 News Media and the First Amendment . This class should be completed, either at the graduate or undergraduate level, before taking MCOM 7330 Seminar in Mass Communication Law . Students without a solid knowledge of mass communications history should consult with the Mass Communication graduate program coordinator about how to overcome that weakness.

Program Options

Thesis Option

Requires 33 graduate credit hours, including MCOM 7300 MCOM 7305  and MCOM 7335 , or MCOM 7340 , or MCOM 7337 , and a six-hour thesis with oral defense (MCOM 8300  or MCOM 8600 ).

Professional Option

Requires 33 graduate credit hours, including MCOM 7300 , MCOM 7305  and an approved professional project MCOM 7398 .

Transfer Credit

Up to six graduate hours with grades of B or greater may be transferred from an accredited institution, if approved by the Mass Communication graduate program coordinator.

Use of Materials

All materials submitted by students as assignments in writing, reporting, editing, photography, and electronic news gathering classes are subject to broadcast or publication. The School of Mass Communication uses a variety of electronic and print media outlets.

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships may be available. Contact the graduate program coordinator for information.

Graduation Requirements

  • Earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on an approved course of study as outlined above.
  • Complete the professional project or thesis, if applicable.