Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies

Chairperson: Dr. John Caputo
Associate Professor: M. Hazel
Assistant Professors:  H. Crandall, C. Cunningham, N. Inagaki

The Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies is designed to provide graduate-level expertise for solving communication problems in modern organizations and social systems from a communication and leadership perspective. By their very nature, organizations depend upon complex communication functions for effective operation - formal and informal, and increasingly technologically-based, communication networks. What is likely to distinguish the 21st century from the 20th is the unprecedented degree to which communication and information technology enable creation of active networks linking individuals, functions and organizations that exchange messages and data on a regular basis. The program is grounded in both scientific and humanistic theory and methodology, global communication and ethics and is relevant for those seeking leadership in corporate communications, public relations, media management, media criticism, human resources, marketing, strategic planners, training and consulting, media literacy, community college teaching or Ph.D. work in communication.

The degree builds upon the historic tradition of rhetoric as the cornerstone of a Jesuit education and lays the groundwork for high leverage skills in communication and leadership that work in today’s complex world. This program combines classic theories with applied learning that is relevant in its depiction of the latest workplace developments.

The Communication and Leadership Studies master’s degree is designed to meet the needs and schedules of working adults as well as continuing students from undergraduate programs. Flexible scheduling, evening, and Internet courses are offered. The program consists of 36 credits. One residency course, COML 517, is required.

Distinctive features of the M.A. in Communication and Leadership Studies are: a unique blend of communication and leadership theory, the Center for Media Literacy Excellence, a range of visiting scholars and professionals who visit to discuss cutting-edge work in communication and leadership, intensive periods where workshops are held to develop practical communication skills in speaking, writing and multi-media design, internship and service-learning possibilities for students who need practical experience, and possible foreign study for students to gain global media and communication experience.


Each applicant must submit a complete packet containing the following materials to the Department of Communication and Leadership Studies:

  • 1) A completed application form (see appendix for inquiry form) and a non-refundable fee.
  • 2) A written statement from the applicant which:
    • a) describes the applicant’s own interest in the Communication and Leadership Studies degree.
    • b) assesses the applicant’s strengths and describes the applicant hopes to gain from a graduate degree.
  • 3) Two letters of recommendation from faculty in the undergraduate major, which evaluate the applicant’s ability and capacity to complete a graduate degree.
  • 4) Two official transcripts from each college and university attended (international applicants must submit foreign transcripts in the original language and an English copy).  Only degrees and courses from a regionally accredited institution will be accepted.
  • 5) The official score from the GRE general aptitude test or the Miller Analogies Test (must be less than five years old), a requirement which can be waived if the applicant has an advanced degree.
  • 6) Submission of an official TOEFL score of at least 550 by each international applicant who has graduated from a foreign college or university and whose native language is not English.
  • 7) Submission of a financial declaration and supporting documentation by each international applicant.


A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required.

Program Outline: 36 credits

21 credits in Theory and Practice Courses
6 credits in Research and Thesis/Project
6 credits in Communication Electives
3 credits in Leadership Electives 

Theory & Practice Courses (21 credits required)
COML 500 Organizational Leadership 3 credits
COML 503 Communication Ethics 3 credits
COML 504 Organizational Communication 3 credits
COML 506 International and Intercultural Communication 3 credits
COML 508
Theorizing Communication (co-requisite with COML 518) 3 credits
COML 509 Social Dynamics of Communication Technology 3 credits
COML 517 Communication Practicum: Speech, Writing, Multi-Media (this course is designated a residential course for online students) 3 credits
COML 518 Writing in the Discipline (no credit, co-requisite with COML 508, fee-based lab) 3 credits

Research & Thesis Project Courses (6 credits required)
COML 501
Applied Research 3 credits

COML 680*

Communication and Leadership Seminar/Thesis
(this is a capstone, semester long course and should be taken in the final semester) 

3 credits

Communication Electives (6 credits required)
COML 510 Communication Teaching and Pedagogy 3 credits
COML 511 Seminar in Communication Consulting and Training 3 credits
COML 512 Seminar in Strategic and Corporate Communication 3 credits
COML 513 Seminar in Advanced Topics in Communication 3 credits
COML 514 Seminar in Advanced Criticism 3 credits
COML 515 Seminar in Interpersonal and Small Group Communication 3 credits
COML 516 Seminar in Media Literacy 3 credits
COML 520 Internship 1-6 credits
COML 660/661 Directed Readings 3 credits

Leadership Electives (3 credits required)

Any ORGL course can be used to meet this leadership elective.  Talk with your academic advisor regarding which one would help in you degree goals.

*Newly admitted students should take COML 508 as their first course.