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Department of Communication Studies

About our graduate program

Kansas State's graduate program is focused almost exclusively on preparing MA students for high-quality PhD programs, teaching positions, and forensics/debate coaching. Because we view our program as an apprenticeship for promising young scholars, we admit only 6-8 new students every year and offer individual attention to each student. Our students come to us from across the United States, and find a place where their growth is our priority.

Our success is best measured through our alumni, who can be found all over the country. Most are in (or are graduates of) top PhD programs, including Illinois, Ohio, Purdue, Northwestern, Texas, Pitt, Kansas, Maryland, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan State, and Oklahoma. Others are teaching and/or coaching at small colleges such as Hastings College and Moorpark College, or at large universities such as Nebraska and James Madison. Many have transitioned successfully into professional careers in jury consulting, corporate training and development, and political/public policy consulting, or are attending law schools like Boston College and Creighton.

As a student at K-State, you'll be involved in an active scholarly community that is committed to excellence in teaching and research. Not only have our faculty been recognized numerous times for their teaching excellence, they have literally traveled the world to teach, consult, and present award-winning research. Their classes are small and lively, drawn from a wide variety of areas within the discipline, including rhetoric and persuasion, interpersonal and intercultural communication, democracy and political communication, and instructional communication. We are also developing new areas in organizational communication and legal communication. Though K-State offers a comprehensive exam option, most of our students complete a master's thesis in a specialized area of interest. Faculty work closely with advisees to craft innovative, high-quality projects that have potential for conference presentation or publication.

Many of our graduate students also hold Graduate Teaching Assistantships, which provide a tuition waiver (students only pay fees) and a stipend that is very competitive with other schools in the region. While many programs do not offer assistantships to master's students, or restrict them to grading for a professor, our GTAs actually teach (with training and supervision) their own sections of K-State's public speaking classes. In addition, some of our best GTAs are offered special teaching opportunities – summer teaching, Honors sections, PILOTS (at-risk) sections, and the Assistant Director of Public Speaking position – often with larger stipends or course releases. We are committed to developing novice teachers into confident professionals, and require all GTAs to participate in fall workshops, weekly training, and mentoring/supervision to ensure that our GTAs and their students have the best possible experience. You'll have a great support system at K-State, because our goal is to prepare you for teaching, not just teaching public speaking.

K-State also offers outstanding opportunities outside the required program. Students are often invited to join faculty research projects, and many faculty and graduate students work closely with K-State's Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, which promotes public engagement around the block and around the world through ongoing research and community projects. In addition, you can also enhance your program with a graduate certificate from areas such as Women's Studies, Cultural Studies, and Conflict Resolution. We encourage our students to prepare and present their own work at conferences, and in recent years K-State students have won several student research awards, including the Auer Award in Political Communication (Central States), the Top Student Paper Award (Student Section, National Communication Association), and several top presentation awards in K-State's Graduate Research Forum. These and other opportunities will enrich your experience at K-State and prepare you for the road ahead.

K-State is an excellent place to live and work. Located in the heart of northeast Kansas' scenic Flint Hills, the main University campus extends over 315 acres within the city of Manhattan. The population of the University is approximately 23,000 and the Manhattan community has a current population near 50,000. Both the University and the community offer a wide selection of educational, recreational, cultural and athletic attractions. Whether your interest is hiking and fishing, poetry reading, or Big 12 basketball, you'll find plenty to see and do in Manhattan.