The 36-hour project track includes the core of nine hours and 27 hours of mass communication electives. Students also have the option of taking 21-24 hours of mass communication electives and three to six hours of electives from graduate courses outside the school with the consent of the graduate adviser. The electives may allow students to select courses in areas that support their special research or career-related needs and interests. The electives allow students to select courses in areas that support their special research or job-related needs and interests. The non-thesis option requires three more credit hours than the thesis option.
In their last semester in the program, students on the non-thesis track must pass a five-hour written comprehensive examination to be taken over a one-week period usually in November or April. It is recommended that students not take these examinations during summer sessions. However, if exceptions are made, the student should obtain prior consent of the adviser and other faculty members who are responsible for setting the questions and for grading the exams.
No single faculty member will write questions for more than two courses per student. The graduate advisor will solicit questions from faculty members setting the test questions.
Three tests of one hour each will be given on the core courses, MC5301, MC5302 and MC5303. Faculty members who teach these courses will set the questions on the core courses. Questions for the other two hours will come from two electives in mass communication or from one elective in mass communication and one from an elective taken outside the school of journalism and mass communication. Students will discuss the subject areas for the tests with the instructors writing the test questions. Some faculty may provide reading lists for their subject areas.
Students will type answers to the questions on a computer under supervised conditions in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the scheduled times. Faculty members who composed the questions will evaluate the answers. The faculty member may require an oral follow-up session.
If students fail three or more hours, they will not graduate and a failure is reported to the Graduate College. Students who fail one or two hours may be required to rewrite part of the exam. Students have only one opportunity to retake the parts of the test they failed the first time. The exit exam committee will set the time for the retest. If on the rewrite they fail even one test, a failure will be reported to the Graduate College. In other words, students must pass all five exams to graduate.