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Graduate Programs

The College of Communication and Information consists of four schools whose missions share complementary concerns and emphasize different aspects of communication and information theory, research and practice. They all focus on scholarly investigations regarding the elements and means of creating, managing, using and evaluating messages, and on information components and processes that underpin communication.

The college includes graduate programs in each of the four schools as well as housing the interdisciplinary M.S. program in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management and the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Communication and Information.

Master's Degree Programs

Master’s degree programs are available in each of the following disciplines:

  • Communication Studies (M.A.)
  • Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (M.S.)
  • Journalism and Mass Communication (M.A.)
  • Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.)
  • Visual Communication Design (M.A., M.F.A.)

Information regarding individual graduate programs is provided on subsequent pages. Prospective students may obtain more information by visiting http://www.kent.edu/cci or by contacting the individual schools.

Doctor of Philosophy

This degree program is designed to prepare individuals for traditional and emerging careers in teaching, research, and administration in the rapidly converging fields of communication and information through a prescribed core of interdisciplinary courses and supervised selection of elective coursework within and across disciplines.

Admission

The doctoral program in communication and information is strongly research oriented. Applicants for the Ph.D. program normally are expected to have completed a thesis in their Master's program. Admission is restricted to the most promising applicants. Applications are viewed holistically to evaluate the student's likelihood of success in the CCI Ph.D. program. Applicants normally are accepted for admission only for the fall semester, and the deadline for all application materials is February 1.

In addition to regular application requirements of the university, admission to the CCI Doctor of Philosophy program normally requires the following:

  • Completion of the academic requirements of a Master's degree in one of the disciplines represented in the College of Communication and Information or a discipline related to the applicant's proposed course of study. Applicants with academic preparation in other fields may be required to enroll in preparatory coursework at the Master's level that will not count toward the Ph.D. degree.
  • A minimum 3.3 (where A=4.0) graduate GPA (GPA above 3.5 recommended).
  • A verbal score of 600 and quantitative score of 600 on the Graduate Record Examination.
  • Superior letters of recommendation from those in a position to evaluate graduate academic performance and potential.
  • A statement of academic goals and intended topics of study that are compatible with the focus of the college's doctoral program.
  • A sample of superior scholarly writing (published paper, major term paper, thesis chapter, etc.).

International applicants normally are expected to achieve a minimum score of 590 on the paper-based TOEFL examination or the equivalent in another testing format.

Applicants who do not meet all of the requirements listed above but who have otherwise exceptional credentials may apply and may be admitted conditionally.

Communication Studies

The School of Communication Studies offers programs of graduate study leading to the Master of Arts degree. The M.A. degree program is intended to provide a broad spectrum of knowledge about human communication in various social contexts and ways in which information is produced and processed.

With this solid training in theory, research and teaching, many graduates go on to pursue a doctorate degree at prestigious universities, teach at the secondary, community college or small-college level, work in areas such as marketing, fundraising, event planning, non-profit organizations, sales, media stations, campaign teams and community relations. The Master of Arts in communication studies program also prepares individuals for non-academic careers in which a broad understanding of communication theory and research is desirable.

The M.A. program focuses on the social and behavioral study of communication theory and research. Students may specialize in one or a combination of two of these areas of study:

  • Health Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Mediated/Mass Communication

Students are able to choose one of four degree completion options that best fits their career needs:

  • Thesis
  • Coursework only
  • Project
  • Internship

Review of assistantship applications begins January 15th for fall semester and November 15th for spring semester. For more information, visit the school's Web site at www.kent.edu/comm.

For additional studies beyond the M.A. degree, refer to the CCI Ph.D.  program description.

Information Architecture and Knowledge Management

The Master of Science degree in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM) is an interdisciplinary degree that provides opportunities for students interested in graduate studies and research in the broad range of information-related disciplines and professions. The program rests on a set of core courses that provide a broad and solid foundation for specialized work in these three concentrations:

  • Health Informatics
  • Knowledge Management
  • User Experience Design

Through these concentrations the program offers focus and flexibility for students to fashion a course of study that suits their interests and career objectives. This flexibility is essential to the nature of the program because of the transdisciplinary character of information, the emerging and evolving roles for information professionals, and the rapid and dynamic growth of information technologies, products, systems, services and networks. The major faculties contributing to the degree are the:

  • School of Communication Studies
  • Department of Computer Science
  • School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • School of Library and Information Science
  • Graduate School of Management
  • School of Visual Communication Design

While information architecture and knowledge management have emerged as fields of study and career concentrations, their use in the degree title is intended to designate significant points on a spectrum of current and emerging information and knowledge professions and to draw upon and balance the strengths of the participating disciplines.

As a new career path surfaces, IAKM works to develop curriculum to meet its demands. The current options for study in IAKM reflect the current needs in the professional landscape with concentrations in Health Informatics (HI), Knowledge Management (KM), and User Experience Design (UXD). Health informatics sets standards for electronic health records, facilitates the rapid evolution from paper-based to electronic records and the integration of hospital, patient, and physician systems. Knowledge management is a discipline that turns an organization’s intellectual assets, including its recorded information, its memory, and the expertise of its employees into greater productivity and increased competitiveness. User experience \design involves the use of information architecture and interaction design to create a user experience that helps information seekers solve their information needs efficiently and effectively, primarily in web-based environments, but also through emerging technologies. For more detailed information on health informatics, knowledge management, and user experience design in IAKM, visit the Web site at http://iakm.kent.edu.

Journalism and Mass Communication

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers professionally oriented graduate study in Journalism and Mass Communication and public relations leading to the Master of Arts degree. This program prepares students for careers in a multi-platform media marketplace characterized by free enterprise and freedom of expression.

The Reporting/Editing concentration allows students to select from these options:

  • Convergence
  • Journalism Educators
  • Broadcast
  • Magazine
  • Newspaper

The public relations and media management concentrations are designed primarily for students with professional media experience who desire to move into PR or management positions. For those with strong professional backgrounds, an individualized program of study also is available. The degree program is designed to provide professional preparation and enhancement both for students who have undergraduate degrees and/or professional experience in journalism and mass communication and those without such background and experience. While the emphasis of the program is professional, students who wish to structure their M.A. program to provide a foundation for future study of journalism and mass communication at the doctoral level may do so by completing a thesis as the capstone requirement.

Information on the program and on application procedures is available from the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, School of Journalism and Mass Communication or by visiting the School’s Web site at http://.jmc.kent.edu.

Library and Information Science

The school offers a graduate program, accredited by the American Library Association, which leads to a Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) degree. An American Library Association-accredited master’s degree is the basic requirement for professional employment in most libraries and information centers.

The School of Library and Information Science (S.L.I.S) prepares students for positions of leadership in librarianship and the information professions. The master’s and advanced certificate programs emphasize the preparation of students for professional service in academic, public, special and school libraries and other types of information agencies.

For more information about the School of Library and Information Science, prospective students may request an information packet by contacting the School of Library and Information Science or by visiting the school’s web site at http://www.kent.edu/slis.

Admission

Prospective students should complete the application process no later than September 15 for spring admission, January 15 for summer admission and March 15 for the fall semester. For further details on admission procedures and deadlines, prospective students should consult the school’s web site at http://www.kent.edu/slis.

Visual Communication Design

The School of Visual Communication Design offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. The programs are 32 semester hours and 60 semester hours respectively. The School of Visual Communication Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Admission

In addition to regular application requirements of the university, admission to Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts programs require the following:

  • An undergraduate degree in graphic design or illustration (3.0 major GPA on a 4.0 scale).
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons who are themselves in the applicant's proposed field of study or a closely related area.
  • A portfolio that shows an emphasis in the proposed area of studio interest. The portfolio is typically 15-20 samples of personal professional work, clearly identified with appropriate background information, presented in a Macintosh compatible digital format.
  • A 250-word autobiographical statement.

Visits to the School of Visual Communication Design preceding the application are recommended.

Review of applications will begin February 15. special consideration will be given to applicants who successfully submit all application materials by March 1.

Advising
After a person is admitted to the program and notifies the graduate coordinator of his or her intention to enroll, a graduate advisor is assigned to help plan a course of study and to familiarize the student with the procedures of the school. To help in the planning of the student’s program of study, the newly admitted student should share examples of his or her work with the graduate advisor.

Multiple Degrees Option

Students can concurrently pursue the Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication and Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management or a Master of Library and Information Science and a Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management. Students apply to both the master’s program in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management and to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or to the School of Library and Information Science. Each program or school makes an independent admission decision. If approved for admission by both the program and the school, students may doubly count up to 28 credits for each degree, although, based on the combination of the concentrations taken in each degree, the actual number will range from 12 to 28.

Many job opportunities in Library and Information Science require a Master of Library and Information Science degree from an accredited school of library and information science.  The Master of Library and Information Science enjoys such accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA). However, students may find that their IAKM skills could be applied in a library or information center. For them to secure jobs more easily in such settings, an ALA-accredited degree is almost always demanded. In addition, courses in the IAKM program will provide enhanced employment options and a more diverse education that will allow them to pursue jobs beyond the traditional settings for students in Library and Information Science.

Similarly, students working on a master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication may also wish to seek traditional careers for majors in Journalism and Mass Communication, such as newspaper reporters, editors or media managers. Having a master’s degree in this area would provide clear credentials for these jobs. Having the multiple degrees will provide additional and enhanced skills and additional employment opportunities.

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