Communication Arts (MA)

Volume 1: 2018.2019

Effective 1 June 2018 through 31 May 2019

Please see the Graduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.


This program is offered by the School of Education. It is available at the St. Louis home campus, and online for the emphasis in emphasis in general communication arts.

Program Description

The communication arts master of arts (MA) is designed to provide educators from diverse educational backgrounds the opportunity to study theoretical and practical developments in language, literature, media and the arts. Students are encouraged to learn by doing and, by doing, expand those skills essential to their professional growth. Courses and experiences in communications allow students to explore career alternatives and enhance their professional standing.

Communication arts majors choose one of 9 emphasis areas:

  • Aesthetic Education
  • Educational Technology
  • General Communication Arts (available online only)
  • Inclusive Education
  • International Languages and Cultures
  • Language Arts
  • Media Literacy
  • Reading
  • Writing for Educators

Learning Outcomes

  • Refine oral, visual and written communication skills and understand the importance of language, media and the arts in the communication process.
  • Develop sound instructional and assessment strategies as they create curriculum based on understanding of research, theory and practice in content areas such as language, literature, reading, writing, media literacy and the visual and performing arts.
  • Promote creative thought and expression through leadership in schools and communities.
  • Develop skills and strategies to respond to diversity in schools and communities.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources to gather and synthesize information to create and communicate knowledge.


All communication arts majors, regardless of the emphasis chosen, take the following required courses:

  • COMM 5260 Oral Communication
    or COMM 5290 Interpersonal Communication (3 hours)
  • COMM 5270 Visual Communication (3 hours)
  • COMM 5280 Written Communication
    or COMM 5199 Teaching Writing (online) (3 hours)
  • COMM 5460 Curriculum Design (3 hours)
    (must be taken early in program)
  • COMM 5800 Applied Research (3 hours)
    (after COMM 5460 Curriculum Design)

In addition to the above requirements, students select 12 credit hours of coursework deemed appropriate for an emphasis area. Thus, the 33 credit hours required for the degree must include the 15 credit hours of core courses and 12 credit hours of coursework in the emphasis area, plus 6 credit hours of electives.

A final project is not a prerequisite for graduation in communication arts; however, each course usually has projects that must be completed before credit can be earned. Projects take the form of papers, presentations or curriculum units. Emphasis areas and suggested courses within the communication arts MA are outlined below.

Students are required to complete a Petition to Graduate the semester before they plan to graduate. Specific deadlines are posted in the School of Education academic calendar.

Emphasis in Aesthetic Education

The aesthetic education emphasis developed out of Webster's conviction that experiences and learning in the arts are organizing frameworks for liberal education and modern life. The program is designed to develop teachers' skills, theoretical understanding and creativity while they learn to integrate the arts into the daily classroom curriculum. In addition to the 15 credit hours of communication arts MA requirements, 12 credit hours of appropriate coursework are required.

Emphasis in Educational Technology

In addition to the 15 credit hours of communication arts MA requirements, 12 credit hours are needed for the emphasis. Six out of those 12 credit hours for the emphasis must use one of the following options. The remaining 6 credit hours can be graduate level technology courses OR the student may select all the courses listed below to satisfy the 12 credit hours for the emphasis area.

Option 1

  • EDTC 5040 Graphic Design for Educators (2 hours)*
  • EDTC 5070 Desktop Publishing for Educators (2 hours)* 
  • EDTC 5465 Instructional Design for Educators (2 hours)

*Note: EDTC 5040 and EDTC 5070 should be taken concurrently.

Option 2

  • EDTC 5290 Video Production for Teaching and Learning (3 hours)
  • EDTC 5295 Advanced Techniques in Video Production for Teaching and Learning (3 hours)

Emphasis in General Communication Arts

This emphasis is available online only.

The general communication arts emphasis is individualized for the professional seeking flexibility in designing a master's degree. Options for earning credit exist in coursework and independent projects. This emphasis area is designed by the student and faculty advisor.

Emphasis in Inclusive Education

The emphasis in inclusive education is designed to provide classroom teachers and regular and special educators at the preschool, elementary and secondary levels with the knowledge base, practical applications and strategies necessary for implementing a successful inclusive education program, appropriate to the diverse needs of students in today's regular classroom.

This emphasis will enable practicing teachers to investigate issues and examine strategies that relate to the education of all students, regardless of ability, in their local school. In addition to the 15 credit hours of communication arts MA requirements, students must complete at least 12 credit hours of appropriate coursework related to inclusive education.

See special education course listings for the emphasis area requirements and course descriptions.

Emphasis in International Languages and Cultures

The international languages and cultures emphasis provides students with the opportunity to improve their listening comprehension, reading, writing and oral skills in content-oriented courses in French, German and Spanish taught at the advanced level. French, German and Spanish courses are offered in rotation in a variety of formats and content.

Although the classes cover different periods and genres of literatures, the focus of the program is on oral communication and a deep understanding and appreciation of the language and culture.

In addition to the 15 credit hours of communication arts MA requirements, French, German and Spanish students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours of appropriate coursework in the language of their emphasis.

  • ILC 5120 Advanced Skills (3 hours)
  • ILC 5130 Advanced Listening & Discussion Skills in Languages (3 hours)
  • ILC 5170 Seminars (3 hours)
  • ILC 5180 Methods of Teaching Languages  (3-4 hours)
  • ILC 5210 In-Service Education: Advanced Conversational Weekend — French, German or Spanish (1 hour)

Candidates for this emphasis must be approved by the Department of International Languages and Cultures.

Emphasis in Language Arts

The language arts emphasis provides the opportunity for intensive exploration of written, oral, dramatic and visual forms of communication. Knowledge of content and a theoretical background in language arts enable teachers to communicate effectively. Students are encouraged to experiment with various communicative and creative forms and become familiar with curricula concepts which facilitate student-oriented approaches to learning.

Students desiring to specialize in elementary or secondary language arts should design a formal program of study with their advisor. In addition to the 15 credit hours of communication arts MA requirements, 12 credit hours of appropriate coursework are required.

Emphasis in Media Literacy

The media literacy emphasis is designed to provide teachers with the ability to access, understand, analyze, evaluate and create media messages on television, the Internet and other technologies. By helping the teachers interpret the many messages we receive each day through these sources, we expect these teachers to help future generations of students do the same. In essence, the media literate teacher will apply the same thinking skills used in reading, writing, speaking and critical analysis to the media, and ultimately integrate these skills into the classroom to be used by students.

In addition to the 15 credit hours of communication arts MA requirements, students pursuing this emphasis may choose 12 credit hours from the following courses:

  • MEDC 5310 Media and Culture (required) (3 hours)
  • COMM 5340/EDTC 5190 Language Arts Seminar/Topics in Classroom Media: Media Literacy — Children Working with Visual Information (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5480 Comparative Approaches to Media Literacy (3 hours)
  • COMM 5440 Integrated Language Arts (3 hours)
  • EDTC 5750/COMM 5750 Special Institute: Media Education — Curriculum and Methodology (3 hours)
  • MEDC 5981 Integrated Studies in Media Literacy (3 hours)

Emphasis in Reading

The reading emphasis allows educators to master teaching and assessment necessary in guiding students to develop proficiency and fluency in reading. Webster University emphasizes graduate education for teachers that has direct application to the classroom.

In addition to the 15 credit hours of communication arts MA requirements, 12 credit hours of appropriate coursework in reading are required.

Students choose 12 credit hours from the following courses:

  • COMM 5050 Community College Reading/ABE/ESOL (3 hours)
  • COMM 5490 Seminars in Reading Instruction Literacy as Empowerment — International Perspectives (3 hours)
  • COMM 5820 Foundations in Reading Instruction (3 hours)
  • COMM 5830 Emergent Literacy (3 hours)
  • COMM 5840 Reading and Writing as Cognitive Processes (3 hours)
  • COMM 5850 Reading and Literature Study Groups (3 hours)
  • COMM 5880 Survey Reading Course for Secondary Teachers (3 hours)
  • COMM 5900 Reading Seminars (1-3 hours)
  • COMM 5920 Reading and Writing in the Content Field (3 hours)
  • COMM 5930 Investigations in Reading, Intermediate (3 hours)
  • COMM 5960 Differentiated Reading Instruction (3 hours)

Emphasis in Writing for Educators

The writing emphasis allows educators to master teaching and assessment necessary in guiding students to develop proficiency, fluency, creativity and style in writing. It promotes the graduate students' own development in various facets of effective writing, such as writing for a purpose, for an audience and as a creative endeavor.  Courses focus on various types and styles of writing appropriate in particular contexts, so academic, creative and professional writing are explored in a variety of courses.  A Webster University certificate in writing is also available. *(See Writing for Educators).

In addition to the 15 credit hours of communication arts MA requirements, 12 credit hours of appropriate coursework in writing are required.

  • COMM 5300 Reporting Research (3 hours)
  • COMM 5340 Language Arts Seminar (topics)
    • Creative Writing
    • Nature Writing
    • Children's Writing
    • Creating Books for Young Readers
  • COMM 5347 Poetry Writing (3 hours)
  • COMM 5480 Advanced Composition (3 hours)
  • COMM 5520 Communication Seminars (3 hours)
    • Professional Writing
    • Writing Across the Curriculum
  • COMM 5750 Special Institute (3 hours)
    • Final Writing Project


Students who are interested in applying to this degree program should also see the Admission Section of this catalog for general requirements.

Admission Requirements

  • Receipt of official transcripts from the baccalaureate granting institution.
  • Undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Essay: What motivated you to seek an MA in communication arts? Based on the School of Education's mission statement, the program description and learning outcomes, how do you think your participation in Webster's MA in communication arts will help you accomplish your personal and professional goals?

Send all admissions materials to:

Office of Admission
Webster University
470 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119

Completed application files will be reviewed by the Graduate Department of Education.

Advancement to Candidacy

Automatic Advancement to Candidacy based on 12 credit hours of 3.0 GPA graduate level communication arts courses.