Department of Communication Studies

Main Departmental Office
Terrill Hall, 235
P.O. Box 305268
Denton, TX 76203-5268
(940) 565-2588

Web site:

John S. Gossett, Chair

Graduate Faculty: Allison, Bruner, Cawyer, DeLoach, Gossett, Rhea, Taylor, Wheeless.

The Department of Communication Studies offers the following degrees:

Theory and research in communication studies examine communication in human affairs and the symbolic processes through which humans interact. The curriculum is designed to facilitate student mastery of theory and research, to develop student research capabilities and to enhance student preparation for a variety of careers or for further graduate study.

The department offers course work in rhetorical, performance, and social science traditions. Students are afforded opportunities to explore communication from applied and theoretical perspectives using analytical, critical, quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Course work features the investigation of communication in interpersonal, organizational, aesthetic, health, cultural, legal, political and international contexts. Among the topics that students will encounter in their graduate program are gender and diversity issues, social influence, ethics, narrative and social change. The graduate experience often is enhanced by opportunities to engage in consulting; conducting research with faculty members; and participating in regional and national festivals and professional conferences, and/or internships with corporations, social service organizations, arts organizations, and government agencies.

Teaching assistantships are awarded competitively to prospective students with excellent academic backgrounds and potential as effective classroom teachers. Interested individuals should contact the department office for application materials.


Research interests of the faculty in the Department of Communication Studies include the areas of:

1. rhetorical analysis and criticism of persuasive public communication in historical, political and cultural contexts;

2. the role of communication in organizations, professions, and groups, including planned social change, superior-subordinate-coworker communication, training and consulting, conflict management, interpersonal and professional relationships, and small group communication and decision-making;

3. performance of texts, literary and performance theory and criticism, history of performance studies, intertextuality, phenomenology, and literary and rhetorical applications of narrative theory;

4. interpersonal communication, including receptivity and listening, informational reception apprehension, communication apprehension, intimate communication, gender and communication, communication style and assertiveness, health communication, mediation, interpersonal conflict, human information processing, and interpersonal influence;

5. legal communication, including investigation of theories and case law related to the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, as well as applied research related to expert testimony; and

6. critical and cultural studies of communication, cultural values, ideologies, and politics.

The instructional, research and outreach components of the department's mission are enhanced through the Office of Applied Communication and Research (OACR). The office serves as a clearinghouse for a variety of department activities including the graduate internship program, the public speaking lab and the communication apprehension reduction program. Through the OACR, as well as through participation in other campus projects and centers, such as the Corporate Academic Partners Project and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Work Teams, the department is involved actively in creating opportunities for interaction between academic and corporate communities.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must apply for admission to the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of much of the work done in the Department of Communication Studies, admission is open to many who did not major in communication as undergraduates. Applicants with fewer than 24 hours of undergraduate communication course work may request admission on the basis of communication-related courses.

All applicants must take the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and must have the scores reported to the department prior to being considered for admission. Undergraduate students anticipating graduate work in this department should take the GRE in the fall semester of the senior year. Successful applicants generally have GRE scores of at least 1000 (combined verbal and quantitative) and have undergraduate grade point averages of at least 3.0 in the last 60 hours.

Degree Programs

The department offers graduate programs leading to the following degrees:

The master's degree requires the completion of at least 36 hours of graduate course work.

There are three options for the degree:

1. 36 hours of course work in communication studies, including 6 hours of thesis and oral examination;

2. 36 hours of course work in communication studies, including 3 hours of Research Problem in Communication (COMM 5910), plus comprehensive examination; or

3. 36 hours of course work in communication studies, including 3 hours of Graduate Internship in Communication Studies (COMM 5481), plus a comprehensive examination.

The Graduate School has a foreign language requirement for the Master of Arts degree.

Courses of Instruction

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