Program Overview

Our MA program is a 33-credit (11 courses) generalist degree designed to enhance students' intellectual and professional growth in communication research and practice. The Communication department is a community of learners, scholars, and teachers who are committed to our shared mission: “cultivating the ability to use communication to create a more equitable and humane world.” 

The two required introductory courses focus on communication theory and research methods, respectively. Students also take two seminars that cover specific topics of communication research and theory in faculty areas of expertise (for example: Critical Media Studies; Communication, Culture, and Technology). See MA Degree Requirements for more information.


The remaning 21 credits (7 courses) are electives, which can include a variety of courses, travel study, and/or internships.

Some students choose electives that enable them to complete certificates in Strategic Communication or Digital Studies. Some of the elective courses that have been offered recently related to strategic communication include: Advanced Strategic Communication; Organizational Communication; Intercultural Communication; Communication and Conflict; and Negotiations and Bargaining. It is also possible to just complete the Strategic Communication certificate on its own without earning the MA degree by enrolling as a "non-degree" student. CU Boulder, another campus in our CU system that is around 30 miles northwest of CU Denver, offers MAs in Corporate Communication and Strategic Communication Design. CU Denver students may be able to take some of the courses from those programs as electives.

Other students focus their electives in Health Communication. Some of the elective courses that have been offered recently in these areas include: Designing Health Messages; Rhetorics of Medicine & Health; and Health Communication. 

Other elective courses that have been offered recently include: Food as Communication; Communication, China, & the US; Queer Media Studies; Dynamics of Global Communication; Communication, Prisons, and Social Justice; and Communication and Sport.

See What courses should I take? for more information.

Program Format

We offer some courses online and others in-person, so the program cannot be completed solely online. Most seminars and required courses are offered in-person on weekday evenings, 5:00 pm - 7:50pm, while electives are typically offered during weekdays or as asynchronous online courses.

MA program learning outcomes

At the conclusion of our program, students will be able to:

  • Use Communication concepts and theories to solve problems in professional, personal, and community/civic life 
  • Select and use appropriate methods to collect, analyze, and interpret data to answer Communication research questions 
  • Communicate ethically and effectively; extemporaneously, in writing, and across digital platforms
  • Identify, critique, and evaluate research from across major fields of Communication


Our faculty members have expertise in: Media and Cultural studies; Environmental Communication; International and Intercultural Communication; qualitative methods in Communication; Rhetoric; and Organizational Communication, and on a range of specific topics including China-US communication; sport; law and American culture; sexuality, queer, and gender studies; national security; globalization; social justice; conflict, mediation, and negotiation; food studies; prisons; Latina/o/x studies; Islam and religion; and more.

    What can you do with an MA in Communication?

    Students who complete our program receive offers to PhD programs or accept positions related to communication management, health communication, public relations, human relations, and corporate and non-profit communication. Check out our alumni profiles and a flyer highlighting some of their accomplishments.

    Learn more and apply

    To learn more about the program, download an MA program flyer, read this interview about the program with Dr. Hamilton Bean, and check out the Graduate Handbook.

    To get general information about being a graduate student at CU Denver, including living in Denver, academic programs, and student resources, fill out this form to request information from the Graduate School.

    For specific Communication MA application instructions, deadlines, and requirements, click the button below:

    Communication MA application instructions