Graduate Program Objectives | University of Portland

Graduate Program Objectives

Students who successfully complete all requirements for a master's degree in the Department of Communication Studies should be able to:

1. Demonstrate skilled analysis of communication theory and praxis within the dimensions (ethical, social, legal, technological, relational, and/or cultural) most key to the student's chosen primary program focus.

  • Ability to write Critical Analysis Papers about theories' applications and validation
  • Ability to analyze communication variables in personal, professional, and community settings and propose competent communication strategies

2. Demonstrate appropriate and effective professional writing.

  • Ability to write for specific audiences and situations
  • Ability to write informatively and persuasively
  • Ability to write with clarity, economy, and precision

3. Demonstrate skilled independent decision-making relative to communication research and analysis, including abilities to conduct, interpret, and evaluate the quality of research and analytic designs.

  • Ability to build appropriately on previous theorizing and research in the literature
  • Ability to integrate facts, analyses and conclusions

4. Demonstrate understanding of ethical values central to the communication discipline.

  • Ability to understand the value of respect for diverse societies
  • Ability to understand the value of broad civic participation
  • Ability to understand the value of freedom of expression

Two additional outcomes for communication studies graduate students earning the master of science (MS) degree in management communication:

5. Demonstrate appropriate and effective application of communication theory to oral communication practices.

  • Ability to speak in public settings

6. Demonstrate ability to integrate communication and business scholarship to solve organizational problems.

  • Ability to synthesize communication theories and skills with knowledge about business in marketing or human resources
  • Ability to diagnose and address leadership, team building, interpersonal challenges in work settings
Communication studies graduate curricula are designed to develop the aptitudes embodied in these learning goals. Graduating students' culminating research projects are the primary means by which the department assesses how thoroughly students have met these learning goals. Term project papers from a variety of CST courses are additional means by which the department assesses whether students have met the first of these shared learning goals. Oral presentations in CST 581 are the primary means for assessing MS students' achievement of the first MS goal.