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Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

FAQ’s – Online MA Programs

“Education is not just about going to school and getting a degree. It’s about widening your knowledge and absorbing the truth about life.”

-Shakuntala Devi, writer

Contact

Christy Curtis, Senior Instructor and Graduate Coordinator  /  (509) 335-5608  /  christine.curtis@wsu.edu

Rebecca Cooney, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Murrow Online Programs  /  (509) 335-3911  /  rebecca.cooney@wsu.edu

Application & Requirements

How do I apply?

Deadlines

  • Applications deadlines are Aug 1, Dec 1 and April 15 for fall, spring and summer enrollment
  • To apply, complete a general application with WSU Graduate School
  • There is a $75 application fee (non-refundable)

Prerequisites

  • Programs do not require any undergraduate prerequisites but applicants must have bachelor’s degree with GPA over 3.0.
  • For certificate programs the minimum GPA requirement for admission into the graduate certificate program is 2.7 (≤ 2.7 subject to departmental review)
  • No GRE required

Application Materials

  • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate institutions
  • International students submit TOEFL
  • Current professional resume that includes at least three professional references name and contact information
  • Statement of Purpose articulating your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and talents

Do I need a background in communication to qualify for admission?

No. Our students come from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to be considered for admission – but our applicants’ degrees range from business to biology; education to psychology and fine arts to English; political science to engineering. Our applicants are teachers, active military, veterans, journalists, communication managers, graphic designers, government administrators and scientists – all with the goal of improving their skills in professional communications and pursuing careers in marketing, advertising and integrated communications.

What is the deadline for application?

Applications are reviewed throughout the year. We are on a rolling admissions schedule. Applications deadlines are Aug 1, Dec 1 and April 15 for fall, spring and summer enrollment

Will this degree prepare me for a future Ph.D. track?

Murrow Online MA degrees are considered professional degree programs. They are structured to provide opportunities for professional advancement opportunities in the areas of public relations, marketing, digital marketing, corporate communications, government relations and other areas related to integrated communications and health communications. The programs are non-thesis, involve limited theory, do not include a classroom teaching component or active research assignment. Therefore, they should not be seen as preparatory stepping stones to most Ph.D. programs. The online MA degree should not be considered as an aid in qualifying graduates for doctoral-level programs at WSU or other institutions. If your goal is to truly continue on to a Ph.D. program, please consider alternative in-residence master’s degree programs such as the MA Communications program tracks at WSU.

What are the required prerequisites for application?

This program does not require any undergraduate prerequisites but applicants must have bachelor’s degree with GPA over 3.0

Is there a fee for applying?

Yes. The application fee is $75 and non-refundable.

Do I have to take the GRE as part of admissions?

No GRE is required in our admissions process.

Should I bother applying if I have a GPA below 3.0?

The WSU Graduate School has instructed us to not recommend students for admission to the full degree program who have an undergraduate GPA below 3.0. In rare cases, requests for exception to policy can be made for those who have a semester or more of graduate work with a graduate GPA above a 3.0, impressive professional experience or can otherwise exhibit maturity and readiness for graduate-level work. Students with a GPA below 3.0 have the option of applying for the online graduate certificate in Strategic Communication as a way to kick start the degree program and increase overall GPA to 3.0+ prior to enrolling in the full degree program. The minimum GPA requirement for admission into the graduate certificate program is 2.7. Applicants with a GPA below 2.7 are subject to departmental review and consideration.

Do I need to include letters of recommendation?

You are asked to provide three professional references – contact information only. No letters of recommendation are required.

I am new to the field and have less than three years work experience. Should I hold off on applying to the program?

The program is designed for individuals who are at least three years outside their undergraduate program and/or have at least three applied work experience. The coursework is benchmarked at a level best suited to those with solid work and life experience. Student engagement is built into each course and with it students benefit greatly from knowledge share and mutual exchange. We find that those with limited applied work experience are not fully equipped to contribute to those discussions in a meaningful way – nor are they as successful in completing the more complex course work. The decision to admit involves a full assessment of the applicant’s academic profile, the mix of experience they bring to the program and overall readiness for graduate-level work – not just undergraduate GPA or quality of their statement of purpose.

What is a statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose gives us a better idea of where you are today and what you hope to achieve with the completion of the professional master’s degree program. The statement of purpose tells us more about your personal, professional and education goals and helps us determine if you are a good fit for the program.

To gain a better understanding of your perspectives, contributions, qualifications, and diverse talents, we ask that each applicant prepare a comprehensives statement of purpose.  Admission decisions for the online MA programs are based on a full assessment of the applicant’s academic profile, mix of experience they bring to the program and overall readiness for graduate-level work. Please address your experience in each category keeping in mind how you could contribute to the future community of excellence at WSU.Your statement of purpose should not exceed one page and should address the following:

  • Why the online MA program at WSU interests you – what attracted you to the program
  • What led you to the desire of earning an advanced degree
  • Where do you think your MA will lead you personally and/or professionally
  • How the degree program fits into your current personal or professional path
  • What are your goals in furthering your education? What do you hope to achieve through the curriculum?
  • Other anecdotes or background information that will aid in evaluating whether or not you would thrive and be successful in the program

Admissions & Financing

When do classes start?

  • Fall classes start the third week of August (16-week semester)
  • Spring classes start the second week of January (16-week semester)
  • Summer classes start around second week of May (12-week semester)

Tuition & Financing

Online students at Washington State University pay in-state tuition. Students are not charged additional fees. Some courses require purchase or rental of textbooks and may require students to take proctored exams. Tuition and fees are charged on a per credit hour basis and are subject to annual increases. Annual increases may change the total program cost.

Is financial aid available? How much is tuition?

Financial aid is available as are veteran’s benefits. Students must take at least six credits to qualify for financial aid. Online students pay the in-state tuition rate. The tuition is estimated at $587 per credit. The estimated cost of program is $18,000.

How does financial aid work in the summer?

Students must take at least one course in the summer to qualify for financial aid. Students are cautioned about distribution of financial aid to ensure they do not run out of funds too early and are unable to apply the aid toward summer tuition.

Curriculum & Learning

How do the program work?

The degree is administered through Murrow College. We do not outsource teaching, advising, or administration of the program. All courses are designed and delivered by Murrow College faculty housed on the Pullman campus or our branch campuses. More than 16 full-time faculty teach in the program.

Who teaches the classes? What is the background of the faculty and instructors?

Approximately 50% of faculty are published Ph.D. scholars with expertise in ethics, persuasion, research methods, health communication, advertising, and media literacy. The other 50% of faculty are professors of practice with more than 15 years applied experience in integrated communication, digital marketing, public relations, crisis communication, and market research. This combined instruction model ensures that students are exposed to contemporary best practices, trends, and technologies in the industry, as well as equipped with a strong foundation of knowledge in communication principles.

How fast can I finish the program?

Most students take 2-3 classes each semester across the 10-course curriculum.  Students select one, two or three-year tracks but it is recommended they take no less than five semesters to complete the program in order to achieve the best work-home-school balance. Students have six years to complete the program. Students must maintain continuous enrollment unless they file paperwork for graduate leave.

How do online classes work? Do I have to set aside specific times to be online?

All courses are asynchronous, meaning you are not required to be online at specific times. Courses are designed with weekly lessons or blocks and most require some level of reading, reviewing audio or video lecture, participation in discussion forums and assignment each week. Students should expect to have assignment or activity deadlines every week.

Do I have to complete a thesis?

The Capstone is non-thesis and non-research project. For their last class in the program, students take the Capstone where they complete a comprehensive exam and online portfolio.

How many total credits are required?

The program requires a total of 30 credit hours including 12 credits in Communication Core, 15 credits in Strategic Communication Core and 3 credits for the Capstone.

How much time should I plan to spend on the program each week?

The time commitment for each course varies. Some require more reading than others. Some have more involved and complex assignments than others. Some require exams, others require demonstration of competency through work product. Students should expect to spend no less than 10-15 hours per week per course.

How does faculty-student interaction work? Will I ever be able to communicate directly with my instructor or peer students?

Faculty and students engage regularly throughout the duration of a course via email, discussion forums, phone or video conference. Faculty have regular office hours for their online courses. Students also interact via email, discussion forum, phone and video conference, as well as a student-run group  Facebook page that has proven to be a great source of support and resource.

Do I ever have to be on campus?

No on-site residency is required for this program. It is 100% online.

Technology Requirements

What technology is required? Do I need to invest in specific hardware and software?

  • Students taking courses through the Global Campus need regular access to a computer with Internet access. Because your computer is your connection to your courses – essentially the way you “go to class” – you also need to have a backup plan should your primary computer become unavailable.
  • Most required course media is available in the online Media Center so you can watch course videos, presentations, and other media on your computer.
  • Please visit the WSU Global Campus Technical Requirements page for updated information on hardware, software and system requirements.

Student Resources & Support

Are support services available to students?

Yes. Students have access to support services through the Grad School, Disability Support Services and Global Campus. Other services are provided for technical issues, financial aid and academics. Learn more at WSU Global Campus Student Services and WSU Access Center.

Veteran’s Affairs: Blaine Golden – (509) 335-1234 or veterans@wsu.edu

e-Tutoring

e-Tutoring: As a WSU student, you have FREE unlimited access to eTutoring.org, a tutoring platform that enables students and tutors to collaborate in an online environment. This is not a course requirement, but simply an available resource that you may utilize as needed. With three ways to access a tutor, you can choose the one that best fits your needs – writing lab tutors, chat rooms, and e-Tutors are available.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center.

WSU Online Student Support

The WSU Online Web site (http://online.wsu.edu) has all the non-content and administrative related information you need to be a successful online learner. Log in using your WSU Network ID and password to access your personalized information.

  • Student Services information is available to provide assistance with any non-advising administrative questions
  • Study tips and resources give you a good head start in assuring success with your course are located on the Web site.