Jun 06, 2023  
2014-2015 General Catalog 

Master of Arts in Professional Communication (M.A.)

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Program Information

Director: Dr. Matthew H. Barton
Room: CN 213G Phone: 435-586-7970
Website: http://www.suu.edu/hss/comm/masters/

Faculty: Professors: Dr. Arthur T. Challis (Department Chair), Dr. Jon M. Smith;
Associate Professors: Dr. Matthew H. Barton, Dr. L. Paul Husselbee, Dr. Kevin A. Stein.
Assistant Professors: Dr. Jee-Young Chung, Dr. Lindsey Harvell 

Degrees Offered

Master of Arts in Professional Communication (M.A.)  

Overview of Program

The SUU Master of Arts in Professional Communication is designed to provide graduate education for people seeking careers, promotions or increased competence in communication industries - including those driven by new technologies.

As an applied professional degree, it is sufficiently broad-based to span a variety of occupational pursuits. It extends SUU’s top quality baccalaureate program in Communication to the managerial level by focusing on career competencies and applied research capabilities.

This is a practice-oriented, applied degree, intended for individuals already working or planning to work in communication fields. Required courses include seminars in communication and media theory, applied research, social media messaging, professional writing, training and consulting, communication ethics, and current issues in communication.

In addition to doctoral education, our faculty has decades of professional experience working as business/industry consultants, marketing professionals, sales directors and executives, talent for media outlets, media managers and media owners, event promotion specialists, and public relations practitioners.


Southern Utah University’s MA degree in Professional Communication prepares students for career paths and opportunities by focusing on message design, analysis, dissemination and evaluation. The program fosters ethical reasoning and action, critical thinking, research competencies and effective writing and oral communication abilities.

Department/Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will develop theoretical competence and an understanding of how to apply this knowledge to a variety of professional/personal relationships and career problem solving situations.
  2. Students will deepen methodological understanding and develop specific research competencies designed to inform, connect with and influence target audiences.
  3. Students will develop and refine skills to improve writing and speaking ability while learning to create compelling presentations based on research and critical thinking investigative exercises.
  4. Students will become more conversant with new technologies and systematically explore the limits and impact of their use in professional communication situations.
  5. Students will garner necessary ethical aptitudes and learn to reason through and act in various disconcerting professional communication situations.
  6. Students will understand the central issues related to message design, dissemination, analysis, and impact related to diverse audiences regardless of size, demographic composition or geographic location.  

Other Information

Degree Requirements

The prospective student must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The degree need not be in communication. The degree requires a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate coursework, and applied research competency. There are additional opportunities to teach undergraduate courses, participate in research projects and network with other graduate students. The program culminates in a graduate capstone experience.

Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Waivers

Please consult with the Program Director regarding qualifications and requirements to be considered for a graduate assistantship and/or tuition waiver. Tuition waivers are awarded based on GPA, GRE scores, writing ability, and the applicant’s skill and professional experience. Paid assistantship opportunities include teaching courses, conducting research, and/or working with community partners in university practicums. For more information about financial aid available to graduate students please refer to Tuition & Financial Aid  in the SUU General Catalog.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the SUU Master of Arts in Professional Communication program, candidates must provide a complete application file at http://www.suu.edu/hss/comm/masters/. See the MAPC website for updated information. A complete file must include the following:

  • A one-page cover letter with a statement of intent
  • Official transcript(s) reflecting an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (Students with lower GPAs may be considered for conditional admission only.)
  • Graduate Records Exam score (General Test - Students with combined scores lower than 290 on the verbal and math sections and a 4.0 on the analytical writing section may be considered for conditional admission only)
  • Completed application form: https://www.suu.edu/graduatestudies/
  • $60 processing fee (nonrefundable).
  • Writing sample (professional or academic)
  • Three letters of recommendation (Students with undergraduate degrees from SUU’s Communication Department do not need letters if their graduation date is 3 years or less from the time of application)

Send applications materials to:

SUU Graduate Programs
Admissions Office
P.O. Box 8008
Cedar City, Utah 84720

Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted for fall and spring semesters. Priority will be given to those applicants who meet the listed deadlines. An acceptance decision is made upon completion of an applicant’s file, and candidates are notified after the Department Graduate Council reviews applications. For additional information about admission requirements, assistantships, and deadlines, contact:

Dr. Matthew H. Barton, Graduate Director
Department of Communication, SUU
351 W. University Blvd., Cedar City, UT 84720
Ph: (435) 586-7970, bartonm@suu.edu

  Application dates for the Master of Arts in Professional Communication Program are as follows:
  March 15 (Assistantship Application deadline for Fall Semester)
  June 15 (Fall Semester)
  October 15 (Spring Semester)

Graduation Requirements

All graduate students must complete their program within 6 years of matriculation. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all graduate courses to graduate. Students who fail to maintain a 3.0 average GPA will be placed on probation and may be dropped from the program. No grade below a “C” will be counted toward graduation.

Graduate Student Policies

Students should be familiar with all SUU policies related to graduate education. Please refer to SUU policies page http://help.suu.edu/policies/. In addition, students should refer to the graduate handbook for current program policies http://suu.edu/hss/comm/masters/.


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