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Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Engage, motivate, and positively impact your community.

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The Department of Communication Studies is committed to fostering an intellectually robust, empirically grounded, and socially engaged master's degree that will enrich students’ knowledge and skills for the unique challenges of our day. Our students join us at UNLV to improve public policy, defend justice, promote health, enhance mediation, and otherwise help the world to communicate more effectively and humanely.

Artful communication brings leadership opportunities. We teach the communicative arts, from interpersonal relationship development to public persuasion, applying them in a vibrant, unique, and exciting urban setting. In our MA program, students engage a wide spectrum of communities across a wide range of communicative themes, concluding their experience with a scholarly thesis or a professional paper/project.


Our program is a 32-credit degree. Students may complete either a thesis or a professional project for their culminating experience.

Our Advanced Communication Research track emphasizes the histories, theories, and methodologies of communication scholarship. It is designed as a pre-Ph.D. academic track that also prepares students for community college teaching, the legal profession, and careers in politics and public policy. Students in this track gain enhanced proficiency in the fundamental competencies for critical, informed, and ethically reflexive citizenship. Required courses focus on theory, history, and methodology, and students complete the track by producing either a thesis (30 credits plus 6 thesis writing credits) or a professional paper/project (36 credits). The skills students refine in this track include advanced scholarly research, advanced writing and analytic thinking skills, historical contextualization, and ethical attunement. Graduates of this track typically pursue further academic, legal, educational, or non-profit careers.

Our track in Community Engagement is designed for individuals aspiring to work closely with local constituencies by applying language and interaction-based competencies to address community-related issues. It is designed to offer a real world orientation to the practical communication-based challenges of our day. Students in this track develop the ability to put communication theory into practice by examining the ongoing political, cultural, socio-economic, and relational challenges that beset our communities every day. Required courses focus on translating communication theories into practical wisdom rooted in humanitarian values. Students complete the track by producing either a thesis (30 credits plus 6 thesis writing credits) or a professional paper/project (36 credits). The skills students hone in this track include empirical and contextual analysis, problem solving and analytical thinking, conducting topical research, and mapping networks of influence. Students who graduate from this track typically pursue careers in the private sector as well as non-government and community outreach organizations.


We are dedicated to helping our students succeed. Students who have obtained their undergraduate degree in Communication Studies have gone on to many great jobs. Recent graduates have also gone on to join our M.A. program, a great opportunity to extend your education.

Darrian Carroll headshot

People should pursue an MA in Communication Studies because they are flexible and versatile. As a practical discipline, Communication Studies teaches skills that can be useful in the business world and the American academy. My MA provided me a great foundation for my current occupation. As a graduate student at the University of Maryland, on a daily basis, I benefit from the knowledge I gained at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Darrian Carroll, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Maryland College Park
Ashlyn Gentry-Yue

Since obtaining my degree in Communication Studies at UNLV, I have had the opportunity to not only grow in my career field but utilize my skillset as a competent communicator in other ventures of my life. Working in the field of public relations and marketing means that I am constantly talking with different clients, members of the media and team members to tell stories and bring awareness to various community organizations. The knowledge I’ve gained from my professors at UNLV has given me a strong foundation since graduating and continues to impact the work I do today.

Ashlyn Gentry-Yue, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Attention Capital
Larissa Terán

Getting an M.A. in Communication Studies opens up so many doors for you. You're really able to gain a set of critical thinking skills, begin to ask questions you may not have thought of before, and get the experience of teaching a college course. It's a very exciting environment where you can learn from your professors, cohort, but also implement and refine your own knowledge. What I especially liked during my M.A. is that Communication Studies includes various different contexts of messages, whether that be interpersonal communication, mediated communication, or persuasion. By the end, you really are an expert of the way in which messages work, but you should also have a specific area within communication in which you are an expert.

Larissa Terán, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Arizona

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