Jul 24, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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The Department of Communication and Journalism offers a M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication. Doctoral students also choose an external concentration from areas such as  English, History, Psychology, Women’s Studies, and more. Both degrees provide students with a) a broad understanding of historical and contemporary theories; b) the research skills necessary to explore and contribute knowledge; and c) the ability to apply their knowledge in varied settings. All students are expected to demonstrate a holistic understanding of theory and research and to be competent analysts of literature appropriate to their program of study. Both degrees encourage the integration of knowledge from among diverse approaches. The Master’s program provides students with a broad foundation for doctoral study and for employment as communication professionals. The doctoral program prepares students to a) become a faculty member or join an appropriate profession; b) conduct research utilizing theories and methods blended from different disciplines; and c) make linkages between disciplines and professions.

Our faculty expect students to develop active research independent of class projects, and to rigorously, creatively challenge knowledge presented by instructors and other students in class. Master’s students may choose to pursue either a thesis or a research paper option as part of their program of study. Doctoral students complete a dissertation and comprehensive exam as part of their program. UMaine faculty support graduate students in producing research, whether it is challenging or revising accepted theory or creating new knowledge.


Program Requirements

The curriculum is designed to provide students with both a central grounding and the flexibility to develop individual interests in Communication. The program of study in each area is designed to be completed over two years of full-time enrollment for Master’s students, and at least three years for doctoral students, but may also be completed on a part-time basis over a longer time period. Each course is typically offered once in a two year cycle.

Financial Information

In addition to University fellowships and scholarships listed elsewhere in this Catalog, the Department offers graduate assistantships to qualified students. Graduate assistants teach six credit hours a semester (three hours during the first semester of teaching) in interpersonal communication, public speaking, storytelling, or journalistic writing and editing courses. Teaching assistants are carefully supervised and must take a course in communication pedagogy so that they develop instructional skills useful in later careers.

Assistantships are nine-month appointments that include tuition waiver and monthly stipends. Applicants interested in an assistantship should so indicate in their initial application for admission. Additional information about departmental graduate work can be found in the CMJ Graduate Student Handbook, also available by contacting the department’s Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Laura Rickard (larura.rickard@maine.edu).





A student completes required “core” courses, courses relevant to an area of emphasis, and electives.  Students must complete 32 credit hours total (or 33 if they are Teaching Assistants).


1. Core (20 or 21 credits, contingent on Teaching Assistant status):
    a. Required Courses (11 credits):
    CMJ 515     Mass Communication Theory (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 600     Introduction to Graduate Study in Communication (Credits: 2)
    CMJ 601     Seminar in Research Methods (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 608     Communication Theory (Credits: 3)

    b. One additional research methods course selected from below (3 credits):
    CMJ 503     Critical Historiography of Rhetoric (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 603     Seminar in Rhetorical Criticism (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 604     Qualitative Communication Research Methods (Credits: 3)
    c. Two CMJ seminars in a Communication or Mass Communication “area of emphasis” (6 credits): See list of courses under “Electives” below.  Tracked courses to be approved by Advisory Committee. 
    d. Teaching Pro-seminar [required only for CMJ Teaching Assistants] (1 credit)
    CMJ 602*     Teaching Communication in College (Credit: 1)

    *All Graduate Teaching Assistants are required to enroll in CMJ 602 in their first Fall semester.

2. Electives (12 credits):
    a. Departmental Electives
    CMJ 503      Critical Historiography of Rhetoric (Credits: 3) [if not used as methods requirement]
    CMJ 506      Rhetorical Theory: Civic Tradition (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 510      Critical Studies in Mass Communication (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 520      Media History (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 525      Propaganda and Political Communication (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 540      Social Media and Digital Cultures (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 545      Media Ecology (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 580      Environmental Communication (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 593      Topics in Communication (Credits: 3) [may be repeated with new content]
    CMJ 602      Teaching Communication in College (Credit: 1) [if not used as a TA requirement]
    CMJ 603      Seminar in Rhetorical Criticism (Credits: 3) [if not used as methods requirement]
    CMJ 604      Qualitative Communication Research Methods (Credits: 3) [if not used as methods requirement]
    CMJ 605      Communication in Organizations (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 606      Rhetorical Theory: Critical Tradition (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 610      Risk Communication (Credits: 3)
    CMJ 695      Graduate Internship (up to 3 credits; approval required)
    CMJ 698      Contemporary Issues in Human Communication (Credits: 3)
    b. Outside Electives: Up to 6 credits of elective course work outside of CMJ may replace Departmental electives:
        - if the courses are applicable to the student’s research interests, and
        - if the student receives unanimous approval from the student’s Advisory Committee

3. Thesis Credits (Optional): If the MA thesis option is selected, 6 credits replace Elective course work.
    CMJ 699      Graduate Thesis (1-6 credits per term, repeatable for 6 credits total)

4. Final Project: Students’ thesis or research paper will reflect their area of emphasis.


Doctoral students have flexibility in designing their program of study. A student must take a minimum of 90 hours of graduate coursework (including approved transfer credits from his or her Master’s degree), with at least 60 hours beyond the Master’s. At least 48 of those 90 hours must be in primary Communication graduate courses, and at least 18 hours must be in an external concentration area. Across the major and concentration, students are also required to take a minimum of 12-15 credit hours each in appropriate theory and methods coursework, to complete a comprehensive examination, and to write a dissertation that draws on and synthesizes the program coursework.

There are two ways to break down the credit hours for the doctorate. The first way is by major and concentration. Note that the 66 minimum hours of coursework includes up to 30 hours from the MA degree.

Coursework by Degree & Discipline

Credits from MA  30 maximum
Hours in Communication  48 minimum (including MA)
Hours in Concentration Area 18 minimum (including MA)
Sub-total of Degree & Discipline Hours  66 credit hours minimum
Dissertation Hours  12-24 credit hours
Total Hours in the Ph.D. Program  90 credits minimum

The second way to break down the credit hours for the doctorate is by course type. Note that students are required to take an appropriate number of theory and methods courses in their concentration so as to be conversant and competent in the forms of research particular to that concentration. The student’s advisory committee will help determine what “appropriate” means in his or her case.

Coursework by Course Type

Methods: Communication 12-15 credit hours
Theory: Communication 12-15 credit hours
Content: Communication 36-42 credit hours
Sub-total of Method, Theory and Content Hours   66 credit hours minimum
Dissertation Hours   12-24 credit hours
Total Hours in the I.Ph.D. Program   90 credit hours minimum


General Information

In the first semester, a temporary advisor will be appointed; for all MA sudents, this advisor is the Graduate Coordinator. Students work with this faculty member in developing their plans for their program of study. The official program must be turned in to the Graduate School after completing 12 hours of course work or prior to the third registration (i.e., during the second semester of a two-year or four-semester program). During the first year (semesters one and two) students select their official advisory committee for either a thesis or non-thesis program. For Master’s students, three faculty members are required for the official committee; at least two must be members of the Graduate Faculty in Communication. For doctoral students, five faculty members are required for the official committee; three Graduate Faculty in Communication are required, as well as two Graduate Faculty from the student’s external concentration. All members of a student’s official committee must approve the program of study. The official committee must also approve changes to the program of study once it has been submitted. Students may change members of the committee as necessary and appropriate.

Master’s Program Research Options

Research Paper Option.

The student must prepare and present a research project. Although the non-thesis project is not as extensive as the thesis, the research paper must evidence critical thinking.  The student defends the research paper in an oral examination.


Thesis Option. Students electing the thesis option enroll in CMJ 699 for a maximum of six (6) hours. The student’s official advisory committee must approve a thesis prospectus prior to the student undertaking the research. After the thesis is completed, the student defends the research in an oral examination with the official advisory committee.

Doctoral Program Research Option

Dissertation. After completing a comprehensive examination, doctoral candidates enroll in CMJ 699 for a maximum of twenty-four (24) hours. The comprehensive exam is a timed essay exam based on questions developed by the committee in consultation with the student. Post-exam, the student’s official advisory committee must approve a dissertation prospectus prior to the student undertaking the research. After the thesis is completed, the student defends the research in an oral examination.

Graduate Faculty

Amelia Couture Bue, Ph.D. (University of Michigan, 2020), Assistant Professor. Media psychology, body image, empowerment, eye-tracking and psychophysiological methods.

Paul Grosswiler, Ph.D. (University of Missouri, 1990), Professor. International mass communication, culture and technology, media ecology

Liliana L. Herakova, Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts, 2014), Assistanat Professor and Graduate Teaching Coordinator. Health communication, food studies, pedagogy, social justice.

Bridie McGreavy, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2012), Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator. Environmental communication, argument and critical thinking, communication research, sustainability science.

Laura N. Rickard, Ph.D. (Cornell University, 2012), Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator. Risk communication, strategic communication, environmental communication, sustainability, policy.

Judith E. Rosenbaum, Ph. D. (Radboud University, The Netherlands, 2007), Associate Professor and Department Chair. Social media, media entertainment, selection and enjoyment, media psychology, health communication.

Michael J. Socolow, Ph.D. (Georgetown University, 2001), Associate Professor. History of mass communication, broadcast journalism, sports broadcasting, propaganda.

Nathan E. Stormer, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota, 1997), Professor. Rhetorical theory and criticism, medical rhetoric, visual communication.

Claire F. Sullivan, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1991), Associate Professor. Interpersonal communication, health communication, sport communication.


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