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Communication & Performance

College of Arts & Sciences

 

Master’s in Professional Communication

With concentrations in Storytelling and Communication Studies 


Connecting cultural understanding and critique, oral performance, 

communication knowledge, and marketable skill.


The Professional Communication master’s degree, with concentrations in Storytelling and Communication studies, is an advanced platform for understanding and practicing the powers of communication, story, and narrative. It is an edgy, emerging, and practical program that focuses on three interrelated areas:

First, our students hone their craft as professional communicators and storytellers, with an emphasis on practical performance in a variety of settings. Additionally, they critically examine personal narratives, folktales, organizational stories, and pop culture narratives.  Second, our students examine how communication and story shape social meaning as well as foster social transformation, how they can be used to facilitate stronger connections within and across populations, and how we might draw richly from and give generously back to the communities we study.  Third, our students develop workplace-ready skills to build careers as professionals and practitioners in a variety of fields, businesses, and nonprofits. Our graduates are well-positioned in the workforce as more organizations use storytelling and narrative internally as a way to recruit, train, and strengthen corporate identity, and externally as a tool for branding, facilitating client experience, and educating communities.

We offer a two-year program with option for longer spans for part-time students. Students have opportunities to learn from practicing professionals and have the option to create a capstone project, write comprehensive exams, or write a thesis. Our faculty bring diverse talents, experiences, and credentials to our teaching environments to bridge theoretical and applied knowledge. As mentors, we work individually with every student to craft a program of study that helps each one meet their personal, professional, and intellectual goals. Please take a look at our course requirements under the Communication Studies and Storytelling tabs below.

Begin Your Application!

 

Each applicant is evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • At least a 3.0 overall undergraduate grade point average.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores predictive of success in the program.
  • Three letters that recommend admission to graduate study and that sufficiently evidence the applicant's potential for success in the Professional Communication program. When selecting persons to write recommendation letters, please choose people who can address your academic/intellectual abilities. Optimally, applicants should supply at least two letters from former or current professors. Letters from professionals should address the applicant's applicable academic skills (e.g., research and writing abilities), potential for intellectual growth, ability to work on multiple projects, under pressure, and autonomously, and overall work ethic.
  • The strength of an application essay that discusses both interest and fit. The graduate school requires150-300 words; the Professional Communication MA program strongly encourages applicants to write in the high end of that range. The essay should explain why the applicant is interested in our particular graduate program.  Additionally, the essay should discuss why the applicant is a good fit for our program, the courses we require, and the research or creative activity of our faculty. If there are weaknesses in the applicant’s materials (e.g., low grades or GRE score), these should be addressed in the essay as well.

For information about ETSU Graduate Admissions, contact the School of Graduate Studies at: (423) 439-4221, 

For information about Professional Communication graduate program, please contact this program's director of graduate studies and department chair, Dr. Amber Kinser at (423) 439-7577,

The Communication Studies concentration explores human interaction and how it functions in society. It emphasizes leadership, culture, communication skills and competencies, relationships, teambuilding, and the study of how messages work and how they can be crafted to meet workforce needs, respond to social concerns, and accomplish professional and personal goals.

COMMON CORE (9 hrs)

  • SPCH 5100   Foundations of Communication Studies
  • SPCH 5330   Communication Theory
  • MCOM 5060 Communication Ethics

COMMUNICATION STUDIES CONCENTRATION (12 hrs)

  • SPCH 5250  Issues in Communication & Culture
  • SPCH 5350  Organizational Communication & Consulting
  • STOR 5647  Applied Storytelling
  • SPCH 5950, 5300, or other approved research methods course

ELECTIVES (9-15 HRS)

  • Choose from an array of courses within and outside Professional Communication in consultation with your advisor
  • Elective hours include a thesis option or a comprehensive exam option
  • Up to 9 elective hours can be taken outside of the Department of Communication & Performance

For information about Professional Communication graduate program, please contact this program's director of graduate studies and department chair, Dr. Amber Kinser at (423) 439-7577,

You can also find more information about this graduate program by visiting Professional Communication in the course catalog.

For course descriptions and schedules, see Communication Studies courses in the graduate course catalog

The Storytelling concentration trains students to use performance across a variety of professional, entertainment, and artistic contexts. It prepares performance-focused students for employment in a contemporary workforce that increasingly recognizes the value of performance, narrative, and story in understanding organizational members, clients, and consumers.

COMMON CORE (9 hrs)

  • SPCH 5100  Foundations of Communication Studies
  • SPCH 5330  Communication Theory
  • MCOM 5060 Communication Ethics

STORYTELLING/THEATRE CONCENTRATION (12 hrs)

  • STOR 5140 Foundations of Storytelling Performance
  • STOR 5890 History of Performance Traditions
  • STOR 5230 Advanced Solo Performance
  • SPCH 5300 Qualitative Research Methods or other approved research methods course 

ELECTIVES (9-15 HRS)

  • Choose from an array of courses within and outside Professional Communication in consultation with your advisor
  • Elective hours include a thesis option or a comprehensive exam option
  • Up to 9 elective hours can be taken outside of the Department of Communication & Performance

For information about Professional Communication graduate program, please contact this program's director of graduate studies and department chair, Dr. Amber Kinser at (423) 439-7577,

You can also find more information about this graduate program by visiting Professional Communication in the course catalog.

For course descriptions and schedules, see Storytelling courses in the graduate course catalog

For students interested in a shorter program (21 credit hours), see the Graduate Certificate in Storytelling in the course catalog.

There are a number of funding opportunities available for full-time graduate students in the Department of Communication & Performance. We offer three types of funding:

Teaching Assistantships (TA)
Work to support a faculty member in teaching specific courses, generally SPCH 1300: Introduction to Communication Studies.  TA funding pays tuition and pays a part time stipend in exchange for 20 hours of work per week.  These are competitive positions.

Research Assistantships (RA)
Work under the supervision of a faculty to advance the research program of the student and faculty mentor.  RA funding pays tuition and pays a part time stipend in exchange for 20 hours of work per week. These are competitive positions.

Tuition Scholarships (TS)
A tuition scholarship is a merit-based award available to graduate students admitted to the program for the first time.  TS funding pays tuition in exchange for 8 hours of work per week.

Storytelling Graduate Assistantships: There are a certain number of Graduate Assistantships available for full-time students in the ETSU Storytelling Program (the number varies from year to year depending on university budgets and external grants). These pay a small stipend of $3000 per semester, plus full tuition reimbursement--a full scholarship. They require 20 hour/per week service work or research assignments. There are certain set duties in the department that need to be assigned through these assistantships--such as booking the school and community tours of the student TaleTellers group, doing publicity for programs and concerts, web work for the program, etc. There are grant-funded research projects that have to be staffed, and which vary from year to year. There are also additional assignments that can be created each semester according to the skills and interests of incoming students. Positions on campus outside of the storytelling program are available through the Graduate School.

Beginning 2015, Curriculum for Professional Communication Storytelling and Communication Studies Concentrations (pdf). 

  • Storytelling & Communication Studies Curriculum

Storytelling In The News: 

For information about Professional Communication graduate program, please contact this program's director of graduate studies and department chair, Dr. Amber Kinser at (423) 439-7577,

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