Skip navigation

Communication - Master's and Doctorate

Availability: Hattiesburg Options

Why study communication at Southern Miss?

The School of Media and Communication offers programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, each with an emphasis on either communication studies such as rhetoric or mass communication.

Whether you are a returning professional, a younger student wishing to switch directions after a successful undergraduate degree, or pursuing careers in academic or industry with a doctoral degree, here, you will advance your career, 

Request info Apply

2master's degree options
2doctoral emphasis areas
3program-specific scholarships; 4 graduate awards

What Will I Learn?

You will work with faculty advisers to ensure a program of study meets your career goals. Both the master’s and doctoral programs allow for either of two primary tracks, communication studies/rhetoric and mass communication.

You will craft your direction with a course of study approved by your adviser. Courses focus on higher level learning, with a deep engagement in theory, research and publishable scholarship.



Choose Comm. at USM


  • Undergraduate record of an overall 3.0 GPA is required as well as a 3.0 major GPA
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must attain a TOEFL score of 79.
  • Applicants must submit a 500-700 word goals statement.
  • Three letters of recommendation that refer to the student’s academic ability and preparation to pursue graduate study are required.
  • The admissions process takes into account the GPA and the letters of recommendation. Students with a strong likelihood of success in advanced study will be admitted.

If applicants do not have sufficient evidence (courses taken post graduation or professional portfolios) of a background in communication, they may be required to complete specified undergraduate courses before entering the program. The graduate faculty will provide a list of required courses based on the degree the student is pursuing.

Students who do not have substantial professional experience may opt to complete a semester-length approved internship, consisting of at least 160 total hours completed during the semester in which the student is registered. Students are responsible for securing their own internship, but each position must be approved by the graduate coordinator. Internship opportunities help students: enhance practical skills, gain experience in the field and create networking opportunities with communication professionals.

The master's degree requires that students complete original research either in the form of a thesis or applied project. The doctoral degree requires that students complete original research and submit a formal dissertation prior to graduation. Students must select an advisor and committee. All will guide the student to the completion of the project, which includes an oral examination and defense. Additionally, all graduate students are challenged to pursue innovative and important research. That research should be conference ready and publishable in an academic journal.

A limited number of graduate assistantships may be awarded to qualified students by a competitive application process. Graduate Assistants receive an stipend and tuition waiver for up to 12 credit hours each term of the appointment.

  • Students must apply by March 1 or notify the graduate coordinator of interest in an assistantship upon acceptance into the program.
  • Potential graduate students will not be considered for award until they have been formally accepted into the program.

Enrolled students are considered for the Don George Teaching and Research Award and can apply for the Gene Wiggins and Arthur J. Kaul scholarships.

Graduate students are eligible to apply to the university’s British Studies Program. There is currently a British Journalism and Social Media course offered during the summer term. Graduate students are provided an enhanced research opportunity abroad, as well as an opportunity to explore the UK and surrounding countries. 

Office of Study Abroad

Please review the International Graduate Admissions web page for information regarding international graduate admissions.

For questions specific to international students, contact Ms. Elizabeth Shoemake at the International Student and Scholar Services Office:


Our Faculty

The graduate programs in the School of Communication are served by 22 graduate faculty members who have significant professional experience in their fields as well as advanced academic careers. In addition to teaching assigned graduate courses, faculty may serve in the capacity of academic advisor, thesis advisor or professional project director. In each instance, faculty provides guidance, support and direction to guide students in the successful completion of their specific project and/or program.


Degree Plan Availability
Communication PhDHattiesburg
Communication MAHattiesburg
  • Media/Communication Relations
  • Non- and For-profit work with organizations
  • College/University Professor and/or Administrator
  • Scholar
  • Research Analysts/Specialist
  • Dr. Carl Brown, 2015, 
    Assistant Professor, Grand Valley State University
  • Thomas Broadus, 2011, 
    Director of Digital Strategy, The Focus Group
  • Dr. Angela McGowan, 2015, 
    Assistant Professor, State University of New York Fredonia
  • Dr. Hazel J. Cole, 2008, 
    Associate Professor/Public Relations Sequence Head, University of West Georgia
  • Kaisha Brown, 2017, 
    Communications Specialist, City of Salisbury (NC)
  • Dr. Willie Tubbs, 2017,
    Assistant Professor, University of West Florida