Portland State University

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Graduate Program in Communication


PO Box 751


Portland, OR 97207

United States





Program Information

Degrees Offered:


Format: Campus

Program Description:

The Department of Communication offers a Master’s degree designed to be completed in 2 years (assuming full-time student status). We train students how to thoughtfully and critically identify, collect and analyze data in order to answer meaningful communication questions and solve important communication problems. Our program emphasizes theory and research, including data analysis and data interpretation. These advanced skills are highly sought after by private and governmental organizations, and successfully prepare students (if they desire) to pursue a Ph.D. in Communication. Each year, we admit a cohort of approximately 15 graduate students, who bond together as friends and serve as a support network. Our graduate faculty provide a generous amount of personalized attention to all students. Two or more of our graduate faculty specialize in Mass Communication, Health Communication, Political Communication, and Language and Social Interaction; Thus, these are the areas that faculty support. Individual faculty also specialize in Cultural Studies, Interpersonal Communication and Organizational Communication. Just to be clear, none of our graduate faculty specializes in the professional practice of Public Relations, Advertising, Film, Broadcasting or Journalism, and thus our graduate program does not prepare students for pursuing these professional career options. (However, our graduate faculty do specialize in the analysis of media messages and their effects on audiences). Additionally, none of our graduate faculty specializes in Rhetoric. Finally, our graduate program is not specifically designed to train students how to become more effective public speakers or managers. The Thesis The Master’s degree requires completion of a thesis, which involves conducting research to answer some Communication-related research question or hypothesis. Master’s theses generally range between 60-100 pages in length, and typically include a review of relevant literature (including a theoretical or conceptual framework), data analysis and the presentation and discussion of results. Optimally, Master’s theses will generate at least one conference presentation and one publication. Research Areas Mass Communication examines the production, distribution and consumption of mediated messages and their effects on audience judgments, values, beliefs and behaviors. Broadcast, newspaper, internet and social media are among the channels examined. Faculty: Cynthia Coleman, Lauren Frank, Priya Kapoor, Leslie Rill, Lee Shaker Health Communication examines how and why face-to-face and mediated communication affects, and is affected by, all aspects of healthcare and health promotion, including individuals’ physical, emotional, mental and/or spiritual health. Faculty: Cynthia Coleman, Lauren Frank, Jeffrey D. Robinson, Anne Stone Language and Social Interaction examines the rules that guide our use and interpretation of language, and the role of talk-in-interaction in the construction and negotiation of social meanings, identities and relationships. Faculty: David Ritchie, Jeffrey D. Robinson Political Communication examines the formation, shaping, diffusion, processing and effects of information within political systems, whether by governments, other institutions, groups, or individuals.


Northwest Association of Schools and of Colleges and Universities, Commission on Colleges and Universities

Facts & Figures

Classification: Doctoral/Research University—Intensive

Locale: Large City

Find Schools