Jul 17, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Mass Communication Studies, MA

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences  > Jack J. Valenti School of Communication  > Mass Communication Studies, MA


The Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston offers three  Master’s degrees directed toward professional success in both academic and non-academic careers.  The goal of the program is to produce graduate students who are able to move effectively into professional media positions, advance their current careers, teach in junior colleges or high schools, or enter into top doctoral programs.

To date, our school has placed graduates into top-ranked Ph.D. programs as well as into non-academic positions in both public and private institutions.  Regardless of the career goal, the graduate program broadens each student’s communication expertise through courses that improve conceptual, applied, and research skills - all of which are critical for successful careers in today’s information-oriented and changing global society.

The Master in Mass Communication Studies focuses on the development of modern media systems and their impact on society, and examines ways in which the media contribute and respond to political, social and economic issues.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, Director of Graduate Studies, at jvardeman@uh.edu

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the college graduate admission requirements, applicants to the communication program must have achieved  an undergraduate degree in the are of specialization or have completed at least 18 college-level hours in the field. Students who do not meet this requirement may be required to take remedial course work, which will be specified at the time of admission.

 For details on the application process and required documentation, please visit: http://uh.edu/class/communication/graduate/prospective-students/

 Admission Information

  • To be considered eligible for unconditional admittance, the student must :
  • Have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate field from an accredited institution,
  • Have a minimum 3.0/4.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) in the last 60 undergraduate hours attempted, and
  •  Have competitive scores on the GRE which are historically 153 or higher for the verbal portion and 153 or higher for math/quantitative portion in the current scoring system. (Scores are typically in the range of 500 on both the verbal and math-quantitative portions of the exam for the older scoring system.)

Students who have earned several grades of C or below in undergraduate communication courses will not be deemed eligible for this level of admission.

Applicants not meeting the criteria for unconditional admission might be considered for conditional admission

Any student admitted conditionally must:

  • Have a GPA of at least 2.7/4.0 in the last 60 undergraduate hours attempted,
  • Have a GPA of at least 3.00 in undergraduate communication course hours
  • Have acceptable GRE scores, and
  • Have other application materials that suggest the student can succeed in the graduate program.

All materials in the application packet (letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, transcripts and GRE scores) are considered in admission decisions.

Students may have to complete required leveling courses if they do not have adequate background in the degree they are pursuing.  There are typically few exceptions to who can be exempt from the leveling courses.  Please be aware that these leveling courses will likely extend how long it takes to complete the program.

Conditional admittance requires that the student maintain at least a “B” average in the first 12 hours attempted in graduate school.  Conditional students must submit a course adjustment form (available from the director of graduate studies advisor) requesting that their status be changed after those 12 hours have been completed satisfactorily. Students cannot embark on the next stage of the MA program – the thesis option or the comprehensive exam option – until they are granted unconditional status.  This is normally conferred (1) if the student has completed all undergraduate deficiencies noted at the time conditional status was granted, (2) if the student has fulfilled all graduate degree prerequisites, (3) if the student has terminated all incompletes on her/his graduate record, and (4) if the student has maintained a minimum (3.0) GPA in the graduate program.

Policies on Courses

  1.  NO course at the 3000 level or below are accepted for graduate credit. NO academic credit may be granted for internships at graduate level
  2. Only courses in which a grade  A through F is awarded can be applied to the number of hours required for a degree. Courses with grades of U or S do not meet degree requirements, except for comprehensive examination credit, which does not count as hours required for graduation.
  3.  All students admitted to graduate status must choose on of two options - the Thesis Option or the Comprehensive Exam Option - by the end of 12 hours, of graduate study. The requirements for each option are outlined below.
  4. Only one 4000 level course, with an additional research component, may be petitioned for consideration as graduate credit. Undergraduate courses taken to fulfill undergraduate deficiencies will not count as undergraduate courses credited to the graduate program. A petition must be submitted two weeks prior to enrollment and to allow for the multiple signatures required. The completion of a petition does not guarantee acceptance.
  5. For courses taken outside of Valenti School of Communication, a petition must be submitted two weeks prior to enrollment and to allow for the multiple signatures required. These hours should supplement the students area of concentration
  6. Special Problems Course:

Students may enroll in one special problems course with an individual professor. A special problems course is 3 credit hours. The appropriate section number is available each term from the professor who will direct the study or from the graduate assistant. The student must complete a general petition form outlining the nature of the independent study, the product to be produced and evaluated, and how often student and professor will meet throughout the term. After the professor signs the general petition form, the student needs to submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies. The director of Graduate Studies must, before the last day of enrollment, have approved this petition. A student who fails to comply with this provision will be dropped from the state audit roll if the petition is not on file and approved by the twelfth class day. In no case may unapproved special problems hours be counted toward a degree.

Thesis Option

All course work should be selected in conjunction with the graduate director, members of the thesis/comprehensive exam communities, and other professors in their ares of concentration.

  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • One major area theory course. Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Five other graduate courses. Credit Hours: 15.0
  • Note:

       Six hours of thesis credits (6399 and 7399) are the minimum requirement of hours to complete a thesis. In order to fulfill the requirements of finishing a thesis that is approved by the student’s thesis committee, the student may be required to enroll for more than the required number of hours.

    • No more than two pre-approved graduate courses may be taken outside of Valenti School of Communication.
    • At least five graduate courses need to be in the student’s area of concentration
    • Three hours of pre-approved 4000-level coursework may be taken.

    Program Total: 30.0 Credit Hours


Non-Thesis Option

Students must complete 33 hours of course work plus three hours earned by taking the comprehensive examination. The student must complete at least 15 hours of approved graduate-level course work in an area of concentration within the School of Communication. The student may take six hours of pre-approved graduate course work in a field outside the School of Communication and may take three hours of 4000-level course work with the pre-approval of the graduate advisor. The student must take at least nine hours of approved course work in another graduate area of concentration inside the School of Communication. The student must pass a comprehensive examination in the final term of the degree program.