Jun 20, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 [Archived Catalog]

Communication and Development Studies - MA

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Master of Arts in International Studies

Communication & Development – MA4218

Center for International Studies
Yamada International House
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio 45701

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Terms of Entry: Fall

Program Overview

The M.A. degree offered through the Communication & Development Studies (Comm Dev) program focuses on using communication to promote social change. The curriculum encompasses core courses that emphasize topics and proficiencies related to communication for development, strategic communications, and participatory research methods.

To suit their individual objectives, students then build upon this core by devising a curriculum that draws upon courses in graduate programs from across the university. The Comm Dev program is one of only a few master’s degree programs in the world that focuses on communication for development and social change.

Incoming cohorts average between 10-15 students, with approximately three-quarters of them coming from outside the United States. Communication & Development Studies students somewhat invariably include, among others, Fulbright Scholars, Ford Foundation Scholars, and Return Peace Corps Volunteers. The program offers financial assistance to competitive applicants.

Program Learning Outcomes

The CIS M.A. programs provide students with a strong grounding in core disciplines while giving them the opportunity to form their course of study around their professional and academic goals. Students can enroll in courses offered by a range of schools and departments across the university in disciplines of their interest. This flexible design of graduate curricula supports individualized learning experiences across disciplinary boundaries and allows student to take courses and capstone options that help them achieve and demonstrate the CIS M.A. learning outcomes below:

  1. Students will be able to synthesize core area or international studies concepts and theories within multiple disciplinary subfields, and acquire the skills to apply and evaluate these concepts to global opportunities and challenges.
  2. Students will be able to develop effective written and oral communication skills, characterized by the ability to write and present in the styles and forms that are acceptable in the professional world and/or for research in international studies.
  3. Students will be able to develop an effective research skill and demonstrate it in their capstone experience.

Opportunities for Graduates

Comm Dev graduates tend to seek professional careers working for international NGOs, non-profit organizations in the U.S., government agencies, and as consultants. Many also seek careers as teachers and in higher education. Each year at least a few graduates enroll in Ph.D. programs.

Further Information

Link to Program: https://www.ohio.edu/cis/commdev/about

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements, beyond the university minimum of a 4-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and a TOEFL of 80 or above for non-native English speakers, are

  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation. At least two should be from people who can judge your academic abilities.
  • Statement: Applicants must submit a two-page statement of purpose. This should be treated as one of the most important items in your application package. In the statement, you should discuss your educational and professional goals, and how the Communication and Development Studies program will help you meet those goals. Applicants should be specific in discussing aspects of their background that have led them to the program, and how the program can support their future professional and/or academic goals (in recent years, as much as 30-40 percent of any given graduating class has gone on to enroll in a PhD program).
  • Resume or Curriculum vita: This should also be treated as one of the most important items in your application package. It should list information about your academic background, professional and/or internship experience, academic and/or professional accomplishments (such as conference presentations, publications, internships, volunteer work, prizes, honors, awards, etc.).
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): The GRE is not required for admission. However, applicants are welcome to submit scores if they have taken the exam.

International Students

This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

Graduation Requirements

The M.A. in International Studies requires a minimum of 48 credit hours, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and two or fewer grades below B. Complete the following requirements:


Complete a minimum of 4 hours of Comm Dev Colloquium.


Complete a minimum of 18 hours from electives below. Complete additional electives as needed to fulfill degree hours requirements.

Area Studies Electives

Complete at least two courses (min. 6 hours) from among the following:

Professional Focus

Complete a minimum of 1 hour from among the following courses. A maximum of 10 hours may count toward degree requirements.

Culminating Experience

A capstone project will be due in the final semester of the program. The capstone can take the format of a comprehensive exam, professional project, or a thesis.

  • Comprehensive Exam: The examination permits a final synthesis, asking students to relate course work, research skills and literature. It is a final review of the student’s progress and an opportunity for students to draw together their disciplines. One of the major purposes of the comprehensive exam is, in fact, to cause the student to reflect upon the interdisciplinary dimensions of their program. Three possible overall results may emerge from the exam; Pass, Partial Pass where the student will have to follow-up with an oral exam; and Fail.
  • Professional Project: Students who are not planning to continue their education at the doctoral level may opt for a more practical educational experience. The professional project, typically in the form of a final paper intended for submission to an academic journal allows students to fulfill this requirement.  A committee of three faculty members must be chosen by the end of spring semester of the student’s first year of study.
  • Thesis: Students who wish to pursue this option should see the program director early in their first semester to discuss the possibilities and also consult the Thesis and Dissertation (TAD) guidelines on the Graduate College website.

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