Degree Paths and Coursework

Students in this program use media in production, theory, and research and pursue diverse academic and professional goals. As they learn alongside faculty experts throughout their time in the program, each student ultimately selects one path to completing the MA in Communication:


The production thesis path entails an original creative work (e.g., film). Successful completion of this requirement involves demonstrating (1) familiarity with the aesthetic tradition in which the project is based, (2) technical competence in the medium, and (3) creative use of the medium. An extensive written analysis of the original work is also required in addition to the original creative product itself. Students anticipating a career in film, television, interactive multimedia production, technological research and development, and/or a media management career in any of these areas should consider a production thesis.


The scholarly thesis  path entails an original research project based on the student’s interests and that demonstrates the student's ability to synthesize research literature, gather and analyze original data or texts, and make explanatory arguments for the findings and interpretations of that analysis. Students who write a scholarly thesis may aspire to doctoral studies or other research-oriented careers.


The professional project path entails a project and accompanying written work that is more narrow and smaller in scale than a thesis, and it does not require original data collection or textual analysis. This path is intended for students seeking careers outside of academia.


The internship path requires securing and successfully completing an approved professional communication or media-related internship and preparing an extensive final report. This path is intended for students seeking careers that are not academic or research-oriented in nature and is an opportunity for deep investigation into an industry or role of professional interest.


The credit-hour requirements for the degree vary based on the completion path:

Production/Scholarly Thesis Path: 

30 credit hours

Professional Project Path:  

36 credit hours

Internship Path:  

36 credit hours

15 hours required coursework

9 hours elective coursework 

6 hours thesis

15 hours required coursework

18 hours elective coursework 

3 hours prof. project/paper

15 hours required coursework

18 hours elective coursework 

3 hours internship



All students, regardless of completion path, must complete the following 15 hours of course credits:

  • FDM 5376 Contemporary Film Theory (3 hours)
  • Four 5000-level FDM seminars (12 hours)



·     Up to 9 hours of 4000-level FDM courses (approved for graduate credit, not previously taken for BA credit)

·     Up to 6 hours of FDM 5366 Graduate Production Workshop

·     Up to 3 hours of FDM 5303 Internship in Film & Digital Media (not eligible for students on the internship degree completion path)

·     Up to 6 hours of FDM 5V35 Problems in Film & Digital Media

·     Up to 3 hours of 5000-level coursework outside of FDM




According to the selected completion path, FDM MA students complete one of the following:

  • FDM 5V99 Thesis (6 hours)
  • FDM 5V90 Professional Project in Film and Digital Media (3 hours)
  • FDM 5303 Internship in Film and Digital Media (3 hours)