Master’s in Communication Studies

Among the top programs in the nation for research productivity, our program helps students develop fundamental understandings of communication theory and research. Emphases include interpersonal and family communication, organizational communication, persuasion and health communication and instructional communication. Graduates of our program go on to continue their education in well-established Ph.D. programs while others take advantage of a wide variety of professional opportunities in communication and business industries.

Financial Awards

We do not want the cost of a graduate education to prohibit you from pursuing your goals. We are able to support the goals of many of our students through merit-based tuition waivers that cover all or part of a student’s tuition and Graduate Teaching Assistantships that provide a monthly stipend to help with other expenses. These assistantships also provide students with the opportunity to work closely with faculty in ways that advance their understanding of the discipline.

Meet some of our Communication Studies graduate students

Katie Armstrong

Nancy Aspaas

Lauren Clyne

Brook Damico

Haley Decker

Ashley Guidry

Katie Kassler

Michael Fellers

Miranda Mcloughin

Claire Vukasin

Payton Weinzapfel

Laine Zizka

A Letter from the Director

Dear Prospective Graduate Student,

On behalf of the faculty and students of the Department of Communication Studies in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University, welcome to our Department. You have an interest in advancing your professional and intellectual goals and capabilities in areas of communication studies, and we are honored that you are considering us as a program to advance those goals. At the same time, we know that pursuing a Master’s degree is an important decision. We look forward to learning more about you and to answering any questions you may have as you make these important decisions about your professional future.

In determining the right graduate program, applicants are often interested in the ways in which the program may support their professional and educational successes, including through the program’s emphases, faculty engagement and expertise, mentorship and program culture, professional development opportunities, location, timing, and cost. I hope to provide you with some helpful information about our program as you evaluate these and other considerations in making your decision…

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Nationally Recognized Faculty

Committed to Teaching and Mentoring

Kristen Carr

Communicative development of resilience to adversity

Relational outcomes of interpersonal communication while negotiating non-normative experiences

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Kristen Carr

Associate Professor

Selected Academic Publications and Presentations

  1. Personal Relationships
  2. Journal of Family Communication
  3. Health Communication
  4. Communication Education

Honors & Awards

  1. Top Paper awards from the National Communication Association
  2. Top Paper awards from the Central States Communication Association
  3. Bruce Kendall Teaching Award
  4. Top Paper award from the International Communication Association

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. National Communication Association
  2. Central States Communication Association
  3. International Communication Association

Johny Garner

Organizational communication: supervisor-subordinate communication, group processes in organizations, organizational dynamics in churches and other nonprofit organizations

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Johny Garner

Professor

Selected Academic Publications and Presentations

  1. Sunday Democracies: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Members’ Perceptions of Church Authority and Organizational Dissent. Journal of Applied Communication Research.
  2. Open Doors and Iron Cages: Management Responses to Employee Dissent. International Journal of Business Communication.
  3. Different Ways to Disagree: A Study of Organizational Dissent to Explore Connections between Mixed Methods Research and Engaged Scholarship.  Journal of Mixed Methods Research.
  4. Nothing to Laugh About: Student Interns’ Use of Humor in Response to Workplace Dissatisfaction. Southern Communication Journal.
  5. Changes in Eye Contact and Attraction Scores Relative to Ostracism and Dissent. Small Group Research.
  6. Dissenters, managers, and coworkers:  The process of co-constructing organizational dissent and dissent effectiveness. Management Communication Quarterly.
  7. Making waves at work: Perceived effectiveness and appropriateness of organizational dissent messages. Management Communication Quarterly.
  8. When things go wrong at work: An exploration of organizational dissent messages.  Communication Studies.

Previous Experience

Assistant professor at Pepperdine University.

Honors & Awards

  1. B. Aubrey Fisher Award, top article in Western Journal of Communication
  2. Top Paper, Group Communication Division, NCA
  3. Top Paper, Nonverbal Communication Division, NCA
  4. Top Paper, Group Communication Division, NCA
  5. Top Paper, Group Communication Division, NCA

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. National Communication Association
  2. International Communication Association

Amorette Hinderaker

Argumentation and Debate Organizational Communication Religious Communication Intersection between religious and political rhetoric

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Amorette Hinderaker

Convener of Debates and Associate Professor

Selected Academic Publications and Presentations

  1. Severing primary ties: Exit from totalistic organizations. Western Journal of Communication.
  2. The long road out: Exit stories from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Communication Studies.
  3. Speaking up on my way out the door: A close examination of church exit and members’ dissent. Journal of Communication and Religion.

Previous Experience

  1. Director of Forensics at North Dakota State University

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. National Communication Association
  2. Pi Kappa Delta
  3. National Forensic Association
  4. National Parliamentary Debate Association
  5. American Forensic Association

Paul King

Communication ethics

Information overload/management

Social cognition

Listening

Communication research

Debate and persuasion

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Paul King

Professor

Selected Academic Publications and Presentations

  1. Communication Monographs
  2. Communication Quarterly
  3. Communication Education
  4. Human Communication Research
  5. The International Journal of Listening
  6. Southern Communication Journal
  7. Health Communication
  8. Educational Technology

Previous Experience

  1. KFST/KPJH Radio, Fort Stockton, TX
  2. KNIT AM/FM, Abilene, TX
  3. KRBC Radio/TV, Abilene, TX

Honors & Awards

  1. College of Communication Award for Distinguished Teaching
  2. Recognition as Charter Sponsor, TCU Lambda Pi Eta
  3. Top Professor Award, Lambda Pi Eta
  4. Keynote Address, Bicker Communication & Ethics Conference
  5. Top paper Honors from the National Communication Association and the Southern States Communication Association
  6. Member, Pi Kappa Delta, national forensics honor society
  7. Member, Pi Gamma Mu, national social sciences honor society
  8. Member, Alpha Chi, national collegiate honor society
  9. Mortar Board Preferred Professor
  10. Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. International Communication Association
  2. National Communication Association
  3. Southern States Communication Association
  4. Pi Kappa Delta
  5. European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA)

Andrew Ledbetter

Maintaining interpersonal relationships using technology; how attitudes toward technology shape its use; family communication patterns

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Andrew Ledbetter

Professor

Selected Academic Publications and Presentations

  1. Ledbetter, A. M. (in press). Parent-child privacy boundary conflict strategies across the first year of college: Mediating family communication patterns, predicting psychosocial distress. Human Communication Research.
  2. Taylor, S. H., Ledbetter, A. M., & Mazer, J. P. (in press). Initial specification and empirical test of media enjoyment theory. Communication Research.
  3. Buckner, M. M., Ledbetter, A. M., & Payne, H. J. (2018). Family communication patterns as predictors of organizational dissent:  A replication study. Communication Studies, 69, 325-335.
  4. Ledbetter, A. M., & Finn, A. N. (2018). Perceived teacher credibility and students’ affect as a function of instructors’ use of PowerPoint and email. Communication Education, 67, 31-51.
  5. Shimkowski, J. R., & Ledbetter, A. M. (2018). Parental divorce disclosures and young adults’ emotion regulation strategies. Journal of Family Communication, 18, 185-201.
  6. Phillips, K. E., Ledbetter, A. M., Soliz, J., & Bergquist, G. (2018). Investigating the interplay between identity gaps and communication patterns in predicting relational intentions in families in the United States. Journal of Communication, 68, 590-611.
  7. Taylor, S. H., & Ledbetter, A. M. (2017). Extending media multiplexity theory to the extended family: Communication satisfaction and tie strength as moderators of violations of media use expectations. New Media & Society, 19, 1369-1387.
  8. Hendry, M. P., & Ledbetter, A. M. (2017). Narrating the past, enhancing the present: The associations among genealogical communication, family communication patterns, and family satisfaction. Journal of Family Communication, 17, 117-136.
  9. Kaufmann, R. M., Buckner, M. M., & Ledbetter, A. M. (2017). Having fun on Facebook?: Mothers’ enjoyment as a moderator of well-being and Facebook use. Health Communication, 8, 1014-1023.
  10. Ledbetter, A. M. (2017). Relational maintenance behavior and shared TV viewing as mediators of the association between romanticism and romantic relationship quality. Communication Studies, 68, 95-114.

Previous Experience

Assistant Professor, Ohio University School of Communication Studies, 2007-2010

Honors & Awards

  1. Multiple top paper awards
  2. A First Look at Communication Theory (10th ed.)
  3. Directed Sam Taylor’s master’s thesis, which received the Outstanding Thesis Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association.
  4. Outstanding Mentor Award from the Master’s Education Division of the National Communication Association.
  5. Article of the Year Award from the Journal of Family Communication
  6. Early Career Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association.
  7. NCA “Teachers on Teaching” recognition.
  8. Outstanding New Teacher Award from the Central States Communication Association.
  9. Research featured in The Atlantic.

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. National Communication Association
  2. Central States Communication Association

Adam Richards

Persuasive, interpersonal, and health communication

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Adam Richards

Associate Professor

Selected Academic Publications and Presentations

  1. Communication Monographs
  2. Communication Research
  3. Health Communication

Honors & Awards

  1. Numerous top paper awards from the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association
  2. Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. National Communication Association
  2. International Communication Association

Chris R. Sawyer

Communication Apprehension

Instructional communication

Physiology of Communication

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Chris R. Sawyer

Professor

Selected Academic Publications and Presentations

  1. Communication apprehension and public speaking instruction. In P. Witt (Ed.), Handbooks of Communication Science: Vol. 22, Communication and Learning.
  2. Motivational factors and communication competence. In A. F. Hannawa & B. H. Spitzberg (Eds.), Handbook of Communication Competence.
  3. Profiles of response stereotypy and specificity for public speaking state anxiety. In J. M. Honecutt, C. R. Sawyer, & S. A. Keaton (Eds.), The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health
  4. The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health.
  5. Listening fidelity among native and nonnative English-speaking undergraduates as a function of listening apprehension and gender. Communication Research Reports.
  6. Components of students’ grade expectations for public speaking assignments. Communication Education.
  7. Psychophysiological patterns of arousal in communication. In M. J. Beatty & J. C. McCroskey (eds.), Biological Dimensions of Communication: Perspectives, Methods, and Research.

Previous Experience

Chair of NCA’s Communication Apprehension and Avoidance Commission

Honors & Awards

  1. Nomination for Minnie Stephens Piper Foundation award
  2. Twice recipient of College of Communication Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award
  3. Recipient, Deans Research and Creative Activity Award
  4. Top Paper Awards from Communication Apprehension and Competence Division of the National Communication Association for 2016, 2015, 2010, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.
  5. Top Paper Award from Basic Course Division of the National Communication Association for 2014 & 2012.
  6. Top Conference Paper from the International Listening Association.
  7. Named Top Ten Scholar in Communication Studies, 1915-2006
  8. Article of the Year Award from the Communication Apprehension and Competence Division of the National Communication Association.

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. National Communication Association
  2. Southern States Communication Association
  3. Eastern Communication Association

Paul Schrodt

Family communication and interpersonal communication

Communicative cognitions and behaviors that facilitate family relationships

Message strategies and behaviors that facilitate stepfamily functioning

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Paul Schrodt

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Communication Studies

Selected Academic Publications and Presentations

  1. Communication Monographs
  2. Human Communication Research
  3. Personal Relationships
  4. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
  5. Journal of Family Communication
  6. Communication Quarterly
  7. Communication Studies
  8. Western Journal of Communication

Previous Experience

Prior to TCU, taught at the University of Nebraska, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Kansas. Former Chair of the Interpersonal and Family Communication Divisions of the National Communication Association, and currently Editor-in-Chief of Communication Monographs.

Honors & Awards

  1. 45 Top Paper awards from national and regional associations
  2. Bernard J. Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Family Communication
  3. Early Career Award in Interpersonal Communication from NCA
  4. Sandra Petronio Dissertation Award from the Family Communication Division
  5. Outstanding New Teacher Award from CSCA
  6. Franklin H. Knower Article Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division
  7. 2013 Dean’s Research and Creative Activity Award from TCU

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. National Communication Association (NCA), serves on the Publications Board
  2. Central States Communication Association (CSCA)
  3. International Association for Relationship Research (IARR)

Paul Witt

Classroom communication behaviors of teachers and students

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Paul Witt

Professor

Honors & Awards

  1. Distinguished achievement as a creative teacher and scholar
  2. Outstanding mentor and professor

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  1. National Communication Association

Qinghua Yang

Health communication, intercultural communication, new media, quantitative research methods

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Qinghua Yang

Assistant Professor

Academic Publications and Presentations

  • Journal of Health Communication “Are social networking sites making health behavior change interventions more effective? A meta-analytic review.”
  • CDC Health Communication Science Digest. “Social support, trust, and health information seeking behaviors (HISBs): A study using the 2012 Annenberg national health communication survey (ANHCS).”
  • Health Information Management Journal “A meta-analytic review of health information credibility: Belief in physicians or belief in peers?”
  • Communication EducationAre you satisfied? Explore the mediating effects of mentoring communication strategies in predicting international graduate students’ program satisfaction.”
  • Health Education “What health-related information flows through you every day? A content analysis of Microblog messages on air pollution.”
  • Computers in Human Behavior “What’s on the other side of the great firewall? Motivations for Chinese Web users’ bypassing the Internet censorship.”
  • Journal of Communication Media Studies “A picture is worth a thousand words: Chinese college students’ self- presentation on SNSs.”
  • Computers in Human Behavior “Mozart or Metallica, who makes you more attractive? A mediated moderation test of music, gender, personality, and attractiveness in cyberspace.”

Previous Experience

  • Postdoctoral research fellow of Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • Graduate instructor and research assistant of School of Communication, University of Miami

Honors & Awards

  • Top Paper Award, National Communication Association (NCA), Health Communication Division
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science (TCORS), Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • Outstanding Research Assistant, University of Miami Graduate School
  • Graduate Student Travel Grant, ICA, San Juan, PR
  • Graduate Student Travel Grant, ICA, Seattle, WA
  • Academic Excellence, Leadership & Service Award, University of Miami Graduate School
  • Second Century Scholarship, Columbia University
  • First Place Scholarship for Graduate Students, Capital Normal University
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student, Capital Normal University
  • Outstanding Olympic Family Assistant, Beijing Olympic Committee

Professional Affiliations and Associations

  • National Communication Association (NCA)
  • International Communication Association (ICA)
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)

Jie (Jackie) Zhuang

Health communication Health stigma Social influence and persuasion Emotional appeals

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Jie (Jackie) Zhuang

Assistant Professor

Previous Experience

  • Communication Studies Instructor at Michigan State University
  • Project manager of Community Engagement Core, Michigan State University Superfund Program Research Center