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M.S. Current Student Resources

Whether you're a part-time or full-time student, we have opportunities and resources to help you succeed.

Academic Resources

The M.S. Graduate Student Handbook offers a comprehensive guide to our program, from enrollment through graduation.

You can find additional information, forms and links in the panels below.

Thesis Track
Please review the thesis track section on this page before submitting any related forms.

Independent Study: COM 630
To take this course, work with a faculty member to choose a topic and complete the COM 630 Independent Study Form.

Internship: COM 650
If you work an internship, you can earn credit hours for your time. To do so, you must get approval from your advisor and the program coordinator. Once that’s done, we’ll enroll you in our internship course, COM 650.

Inter-Institutional Course Registration Form
If you would like to take a course at a participating university, you must obtain appropriate signatures of approval and complete the NC State Inter-Institutional Approval Form.

Graduate Plan of Work
During your second semester, begin populating and building your Graduate Plan of Work in MyPack Portal. List your current and planned coursework, in addition to your graduate committee members.

Establishing Residency for Tuition Purposes
Out-of-state students on the Graduate Student Support Plan must begin establishing residency during their second semester. Once a North Carolina citizen, they become eligible for in-state tuition, which lowers our funding costs and keeps the university’s assistantship program viable. Self-funded students from out-of-state are encouraged to apply for residency as well to lower their tuition bills.

Have questions about residency? Please contact the Student Services Residency Office.

Academic-Related Travel
Students whose papers or posters are accepted at academic conferences may seek permission for travel reimbursements. While this isn’t always possible, we will make every effort to assist you. Graduate Student Support Plan students will find travel authorization links in their MyPack Portals for online completion and submission for approval. A Travel Authorization is only a request to travel off-campus, not a guarantee or approval for either leave or financial reimbursement. Other students should review the NC State travel guidelines and Conferences information, and submit an AP-104 form linked from that page. Contact Department of Communication business representative Laura Kelly for specific guidelines.

Student Conduct and Ethics
The university and Department of Communication take plagiarism very seriously. Any incident of plagiarism on exams throughout your enrollment in our program is grounds for immediate termination from our program and the department — and in most cases, from seeking a degree universitywide.

Time Limitations for Completing Your Degree
Full-time students are expected to complete the program in two years. Part-time students have up to six years from the date of first enrollment to complete their degree.

Thesis Track Resources

You have the option to pursue a thesis as part of your studies. This research helps develop a stronger foundation in our discipline and benefits students working in academia or industry.

Explore the panels below to find detailed information about the process.

Students must decide whether to pursue the thesis track during their second semester (for full-time students) or after completing 9 credit hours (for part-time students).

  1. Students select a thesis committee consisting of a chair and at least two other faculty members.
  2. Students should consult with their committee chair (also referred to as the thesis advisor) and complete the Thesis Intent Form. The form requires signatures from the student, his/her committee chair, and the director of graduate programs.
  3. Following approval, students work with their committee chair to develop a thesis proposal. The proposal, in general, will include a review of related literature and a suggested methodology.
  4. The student presents the thesis proposal to to the full committee for approval. The completed proposal will constitute the first half of the thesis (introduction, literature review, and proposed plan of research) and serves, essentially, as a contract between the student and the committee.

Students may register for 3 credit hours of Master’s Thesis Research (COM 695) during the term that the proposal will be presented to the thesis committee for approval. Complete the Thesis Proposal Defense Form at least a month prior to the date of the defense.

After the committee approves the proposal, students may register for an additional 3 credit hours of COM 695 while completing the thesis. Subsequently, the student will complete the methodological plan approved in the proposal. Once completed, the proposal will become the first half of the thesis, followed by a chapter reporting the results of the study and a chapter discussing the implications of those results.

Students will revise their thesis and orally defend their work in an examination conducted by the thesis committee. Prior to the oral defense date, the committee chair will discuss the oral exam process and indicate areas that may be queried during the defense with the student.

During the oral exam, committee members will probe and ask for clarification or elaborations on the thesis. After the oral exam, the committee will assess the student’s performance and the student will pass unconditionally, pass conditionally, or fail. A unanimous decision by the committee is required to unconditionally pass the defense.

If the student passes conditionally, the committee will provide an explanation of the conditions that must be met in order for the student to pass the oral defense examination. If the committee votes to fail the student via a majority vote (two of three members), the student will be terminated from the program, unless the committee determines that another course of action is warranted (e.g. defending a second time).

The oral defense must be completed in a timely manner so that the student can meet the Graduate School electronic theses deadlines. The registration deadline is typically near the end of March for those planning to graduate in spring.

Graduate Student Association

The Communication Graduate Students Association (CGSA) is a great venue for getting to know and work with fellow students in a more casual environment.

The group organizes social events, provides professional development opportunities and represents communication students in the NC State Graduate Student Association. The CGSA also works with nonprofits on community service initiatives, which are great ways for students to apply their communication skills while supporting local groups.

Contact any 2020-2021 NC State University CGSA Chapter Officer listed below to join or for more information.