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The Graduate Program in Communication

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The Graduate Program in Communication

THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

    The Graduate

    Program

    in

    Communication

    Student Handbook

    2008-2009

Table of Contents

    Programs 3

    Program prerequisites and admission 4

    Student Program Checklist 7

    Plans of Study Examples 12

    GA Responsibilities 27

    Graduate Teaching Assistantships 29

    Course Descriptions 31

    Graduate Faculty 38

    Useful contacts 40

    Financial Aid Checklist 43

    FAQ 45

    NCA Code of Ethics 51

    Forms 61

For more information:

Sheree Smith-Hudgins, Graduate ssmith@memphis.edu

    Secretary (901) 678-2127

    Sandra Sarkela, Ph.D., Coordinator of ssarkela@memphis.edu

    Graduate Studies (901) 678-3173

    Theatre and Communication Building https://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-

    (room 125) communication/www

    The University of Memphis

    Memphis, TN 38152-3290

The Communication Department is housed in the Theatre & Communication Building, 3745 Central Avenue, on

    the campus of The University of Memphis. The Communication office is room 143.

    Note: The Department of Communication reserves the right to alter any part of this handbook and/or the policies

    and procedures involved without notice.

    2 Updated: June 1, 2008 - ii -ii

Welcome

    This handbook is for incoming masters or doctoral degree in Communication at the University of Memphis. The MA and PhD programs at the University of Memphis offer a hospitable environment to work within and across different sub-fields of communication and to engage in interdisciplinary scholarship. Graduate students develop a plan of study tailored to their interests, receive individual attention from the faculty, and have the opportunity to work with the university’s unique interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Rhetoric and Applied Communication (CSRAC).

    We hope you will find the handbook useful as you learn more about our program and the procedures that guide us.

    The communication faculty are committed to developing specialists who can take leadership roles in their organizations and in the community. Our curriculum is designed to help you acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for competent professional practice.

    We can help you most effectively when you take time to read, understand and follow the guidance provided in this handbook. The full graduate catalog is at: http://academics.memphis.edu/gradcatalog/catcomm.html

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Masters Programs

The MA program offers two concentrations:

Communication

    The concentration in communication provides students with fundamental grounding in communication theory and rhetorical theory. The program is then tailored to meet the needs and interests of individual students, preparing students for communication positions in industry, government, or non-profit sectors, or for entry into a PhD program.

Film and Video Production

    The concentration in film and video production combines technical instruction with courses in both motion picture and traditional communication studies to provide students with the knowledge and tools necessary to function in the multifaceted world of audiovisual production. The approach to media practice is broad enough to address the needs of the independent artist, as well as those who seek to enter the industry.

Doctoral Programs

The PhD program offers two concentrations:

Rhetoric

    Students in rhetoric typically choose focus areas in public address, argumentation, rhetoric and cultural studies, and rhetorical theory. We have a formal relationship with the Memphis Theological Seminary that is designed to promote the study of rhetoric and religion, as well as African-American rhetoric.

Applied Communication

    Students in applied communication typically choose focus areas in health, interpersonal, intercultural, persuasion and social influence, and organizational communication. Students are currently working on projects in bioethics, risk communication, online communities, and international expatriate communication.

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    Program Prerequisites and Admission The Graduate School collects your application, test scores, and transcripts, and when complete, forwards them to the communication department to consider for admission to the communication program. The Graduate School information and applications can be found online:

    http://academics.memphis.edu/gradschool/.

    The specific requirements are as follows:

MA Program

    In addition to the aforementioned Graduate School application, a student must send the following items to the Department of Communication:

    1. a completed application form specific to the Communication Department

    (https://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-communication/www/ma.pdf);

    2. a statement of purpose that explains the applicant’s reasons for seeking a

    masters degree from the Department of Communication at The University

    of Memphis;

    3. Two letters of recommendation submitted by persons competent to judge

    the applicant’s academic record and potential for advanced graduate work.

    All of these items are to be sent to:

    Communication Graduate Secretary

    Department of Communication

    The University of Memphis

    143 Theatre/Communication Building

    Memphis, TN 38152-3150.

    All students applying for admission are also required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing scores. In addition to meeting university admission requirements, the department uses the following criteria in consideration of applications:

    1. in general, a verbal score of 500 and a quantitative score of 450 or more on

    the GRE;

    2. an undergraduate GPA of 3.0, a GPA of 3.2 for the last 60 credit hours, or a

    GPA in the major of 3.25;

    3. if English is a second language, a TOEFL score of 600 (or 250 on the

    computer-based TOEFL) and a TSE score of 280.

    If the candidate does not meet the above criteria, but has an undergraduate GPA for the last 60 hours of at least 2.7 and a combined GRE of at least 900 (TOEFL and TSE scores remain the same), the application will be referred to the departmental graduate studies committee for consideration. In such cases, additional materials may be sought from the applicant. Candidates with a combined GRE below 900 or a GPA for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work

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    below 2.7, or, if English is a second language, a TOEFL score below 600 or a TSE score below 280, will not be admitted.

PhD Program

    For the PhD program, the following items need to be sent to the Communication Department:

    1. a completed application specific to the Communication Department

    (https://umdrive.memphis.edu/g-communication/www/phd.pdf);

    2. a statement of purpose that explains the applicant’s reasons for seeking the

    doctoral degree from the Department of Communication at The University

    of Memphis;

    3. three letters of recommendation submitted by persons competent to judge

    the applicant’s academic record and potential for advanced graduate work.

    4. two samples of scholarly writing (e.g. publications and/or papers)

    5. Transcript of prior academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    Individual copies should be sent to the Graduate School and to the

    department’s coordinator of graduate studies. A minimum graduate GPA of

    3.5 for the MA (on a 4-point scale) is expected.

    6. A vitae/resume.

    These items should be sent to:

    Communication Graduate Secretary

    Department of Communication

    The University of Memphis

    143 Theatre/Communication Building

    Memphis, TN 38152-3150.

    All students applying for admission are also required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) verbal and quantitative scores. In addition to meeting university admission requirements, the student must have a verbal score of 500 and a quantitative score of 450 or more on the GRE. If English is a second language, a TOEFL score of 600 (or 250 on the computer-based TOEFL) and a TSE of 280 are required.

Deadlines

    The Department awards a number of graduate teaching/research assistantships to those outstanding applicants who have demonstrated interest and ability in teaching and research. These assistantships include a stipend and a remission of tuition fees. To determine eligibility for the assistantships, refer to the requirements for admission to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs.

    The department typically admits students in the fall semester. Review of applications and awarding of graduate assistantships begins on February 1 and continues until all positions are filled. The department cannot guarantee

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    consideration of applications received after June 1. Prospective students should note that the departmental deadlines may differ from those of the Graduate School.

Note: Your current e-mail and postal addresses and telephone number

    MUST be on file at all times in the Communication Department. Changes

    in address or telephone number should be reported to the department

    secretary at 901-678-2127 and to the University Registrar. Students, who

    fail to comply, will risk forfeiting opportunities for assistantships and for

    part- and full-time employment.

    Student Program Checklists

    Note: Please remember that in addition to the requirements listed here, all graduate students should read the Graduate School Catalog, the information in each semester’s schedule of classes, announcements posted on the Graduate Program Website and notices posted on the Graduate notices board outside the Main Office, Room 143. All students must be aware of and meet all requirements of the Graduate School.

    It is the student’s responsibility to see that all required forms are filed with the proper offices

    by the required deadlines. The student’s Advisory Committee will assist the student, but the ultimate responsibility remains with the student.

    The student’s advisory committee will meet periodically to assess the student’s progress. Satisfactory academic progress is required for continuation in the program. At the end of

    the spring semester the student’s advisor will review progress and inform the student of steps necessary to sustain or improve academic achievement.

    Masters of Arts

    By the end of the first semester, or before completing nine hours in a part-time program

    each MA candidate should:

    1. Select an advisor who is a member of the Graduate Faculty. The advisor will chair

    the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee.

    2. Select two additional faculty members for the Graduate Advisory Committee.

    3. Complete the Graduate Committee Membership and the Graduate School

    Committee Appointment and submit them to the administrative assistant.

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    4. Develop a Plan of Study following the format on the examples that follow. The

    Plan of Study should specify if the student will complete written comprehensives

    exams, thesis, or a special project.

    5. Meet with the advisory committee to discuss and approve the Plan of Study. The

    final approved Plan of Study should be given to the graduate program administrative

    assistant. Make five copies of the approved Plan of Study: one for yourself, one for

    each committee member, and one for the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

     During the second semester or before registering for courses beyond 18 hours of study: 1. Develop Thesis or Special Project Proposal

    Final Semester

    1. Submit Application for Admission to Master’s Degree Candidacy and Intent to

    Graduate Card. The exact deadline due is specified in each semester’s Schedule of Classes.

    2. Completion of the degree requires one of the following options, however students in

    Film and Video Production must complete option c, A Special Project:

    a. A written and oral comprehensive examination. Students must pass

    both a written and oral comprehensive exam during or after their last

    semester of course-work. The student’s MA advisory committee must

    approve the option and is responsible for evaluating the comprehensive

    examination. A pass on the written examination is necessary for

    admission to the oral examination. The quality of the comprehensive

    examination as a whole is determined at completion of the oral

    examination.

    b. A thesis and oral comprehensive examination. On completion of the

    thesis, the student must successfully complete an oral defense

    administered by the student’s MA thesis committee. The thesis must be

    acceptable to all members of the committee and recommended to the

    Graduate School after a successful defense.

    c. A special project and oral comprehensive examination. On its

    completion the special project must be presented to the student’s MA

    committee. The student must also successfully complete an oral defense

    administered by the student’s MA committee. The special project and oral

    examination must be acceptable to all members of the student’s MA

    committee.

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    Doctorate

    1. Before registering for course beyond 9 hours of study each doctoral candidate

    should select a temporary Ph.D. program advisory committee of at least 3 members. That committee will assist the student in registering for the second semester.

    2. Before registering for course beyond 18 hours of study each student must form a

    Ph.D. advisory committee consisting of a chair and at least three other members, of which one must be from outside the Communication Department. Three of the four members must be members of the graduate faculty and the chair must be a full member. Sometimes a student cannot identify an outside member after only one term of study. The outside member may be added to the committee after the second full semester of study (after 18 hours) and this person must agree to the program of study. See the Graduate Catalog for graduate faculty listings.

    a. When your advisory committee has been established complete the Graduate

    Committee Membership and Graduate School Committee Appointment

    forms and give them to the graduate program administrative assistant.

    3. Develop a Plan of Study. This is the main business of the first meeting of the advisory committee. Once completed and approved, turn in the Plan of Study to the

    administrative assistant. In addition make six copies: one for yourself, one for each committee member, and one for the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. Use the examples that follow as a guide.

    4. The semester prior to comprehensive examinations enroll in COMM 8992-Pro-

    Seminar: Preparation of a prospectus for the doctoral dissertation. The topic will be

    approved by the student’s advisory committee. Specific course requirements will vary

    depending on the nature of the topic, research methodology, and progress toward completion. Student must complete at least 3 credits of this course in order to be eligible to take comprehensive examinations.

    5. Comprehensive Examination for the PhD Degree: Students must complete at

    least 3 credits of COMM 8992- Proseminar in order to be eligible to take comprehensive examinations. Comprehensive Examinations for PhD candidates will be scheduled by the candidate’s advisory committee in the last semester of coursework or as soon as possible thereafter, but no later than one calendar year from the completion of coursework. There are two major components to these examinations, a written examination and an oral examination.

a. Written Comprehensive Examinations. The student’s advisory committee

    will determine the distribution of hours, the administrative procedures and format for each student’s comprehensive examinations. Administration of the

    examination may take one of three formats or a combination thereof :

    1. A closed book examination, ten hours in length, ordinarily scheduled

    over three days. This is the standard procedure for written

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    comprehensive examinations. The number of hours of closed book

    examination may be reduced if this format is used in combination with

    other formats;

    2. A take-home essay with a time limit of 12-24 hours for completion;

    3. An essay of pre-determined length due within a specified time period.

     Students should meet with their advisory committee no later than three months prior to their anticipated comprehensive examination date. The committee will develop written guidelines specifying what content will be covered, who will develop questions, along with format and administrative procedures. Each member of the advisory committee, the student, and the graduate studies coordinator will sign the written agreement. After the examinations have been evaluated, the student will be notified of the outcome.

b. Oral Comprehensive Examinations. Upon successful completion of the

    written examination, the Committee Chair in consultation with the student’s

    Graduate Advisory Committee will schedule an oral examination with his/her Graduate Advisory Committee. In addition to the Advisory Committee, any interested faculty may attend.

c. Please see the University graduate catalog for regarding failed

    examinations and appeals.

    6. Selection of Dissertation Committee: No later than the student’s last semester of

    coursework, the student shall select a dissertation director, and in consultation with the director, invite three additional faculty members to serve as the student’s dissertation

    committee. It is recommended that one member of the committee be from outside the discipline. The dissertation director serves as the chair of the dissertation committee.

    7. Dissertation Prospectus Defense: The student shall submit a proposal for the

    dissertation to the dissertation committee and defend the proposal before the committee. To be considered as “making satisfactory progress,” a candidate must have

    his/her prospectus approved within two semesters of completion of the comprehensive examination.

    8. Dissertation Defense: The dissertation director will circulate a complete draft of the dissertation to all committee members, who will be given the opportunity to provide feedback. If need be, the student will then write a revised dissertation, approved by the dissertation director, and circulated to all the committee members. The process will continue until the majority of the dissertation committee formally agrees that the dissertation is ready to be defended. At that time the dissertation director will schedule an oral defense of the dissertation. On approval of all the members of the dissertation committee, the dissertation will be submitted to the Graduate School for final approval and the degree awarded.

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