May 29, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Communication (M.A.)

Program Overview

Explore interpersonal identities and relationships, culture and organizational life, in addition to traditional and new forms of media at USD. After completing foundational courses in research and theory, you will develop your own academic goals by selecting courses from communication studies, media & journalism or other related departments. Prepare for doctoral study, teaching at the secondary and post-secondary levels, and leadership positions in business, education, law, politics, social and human services, health care management, human resource development, public relations, advertising, marketing, media management, technology, media research, public administration and more. Learn more at

There are two tracks available for this program.  Plan A (thesis) requires the 12 hour core plus 18 hours of elective credit and 6 hours of thesis credit.  Plan B (non-thesis) requires the 12-hour core plus 24 hours of elective credit, and a comprehensive exam during or after the final semester of coursework.

DELIVERY: On campus

Master of Arts in Communication, Thesis

Major Area Coursework - 30 Credit Hours

Master of Arts in Communication, Non-Thesis

Major Area Coursework - 30 Credit Hours

Degree requirements for areas of study:

Communication MA






Core courses
Communication Elective Courses
Thesis or Project Research


12 credit hours
12 credit hours
  6 credit hours


12 credit hours
18 credit hours


Comprehensive Written Exam

Oral Defense








General Application Requirements

  1. Completed application
  2. $35 application fee
  3. Official transcripts*
  4. Letters of recommendation*
  5. Statement of purpose
  6. Resume/CV*

*Requirements for admission vary by program and may require different documentation and have different deadlines. This list is not all-inclusive, to view specific program requirements and submission deadlines, follow the “Admissions Information” hyperlink at the top of this page OR visit the specific program/dept. page found here:

State Authorization- It Matters Where You Live

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage. 

State Authorization


Department of Communication Studies
605-658-3755 |

Department of Media & Journalism;
605-658-6811 | | 

Graduate Admissions 
605-658-6140 |  |