The Master of Arts in Communication has been offered at Missouri State for 52 years, with the first group of graduates completing the program in 1969. The graduate program continues to grow with the addition of the graduate certificate in conflict and dispute resolution in the fall of 2002 and the graduate certificate in applied communication in the fall of 2019.
Dr. Carrisa Hoelscher became the director of graduate studies in 2019. She says her passion for teaching and mentoring graduate students led her to apply for the position initially. Hoelscher strives to bring the mantra of “people over perfection” to the program in her role as director. She hopes to highlight the humanity of studying communication through inclusion and antiracism initiatives, as well as seeking to recruit students who didn’t believe graduate school was possible for them.
“Communication is all about meaningful, life-giving interactions with those around us and I hope to never lose sight of that” — Dr. Carissa Hoelscher.
The Master of Arts in Communication is a terminal program, the highest degree a student can earn studying communication at Missouri State. Since the Master of Arts is the highest degree offered, faculty can provide more focused, meaningful attention to students than a college offering a doctorate could provide. A variety of graduate assistantships are available to students—most involve teaching, while some focus on research or administrative work. Teaching assistants typically work in COM 115 (Public Speaking), COM 209 (Survey of Communication Theory), or COM 350 (The Rhetorical Tradition and Contemporary Applications) classes. Assistantships are renewable for two years and students receive a stipend for their work as well as a full-tuition scholarship.
“It is truly inspiring to witness these intelligent, hard-working individuals become scholars in their own right” — Dr. Carissa Hoelscher.
Graduates of this program find themselves prepared to continue their education in a doctoral program or transition into their professional careers. Students have gone on to a variety of professional positions in marketing and public relations, human resources, health care management, politics and speech writing, training and development, nonprofit administration, and mediation.
Hoelscher encourages anyone who may be interested in pursuing graduate education in communication to reach out to her for more information at CHoelscher@MissouriState.edu.