Professional Communication


Degrees Offered


The Master of Arts in Professional Communication (MAPC) combines theory and practice of written, visual, and digital communication in professional contexts.  Drawing on the expertise of a dozen faculty members and on state-of-the-art facilities, MAPC students prepare for careers as professional communicators or as scholars in the field.  With specialized classes and a close network of faculty and students, the MAPC program allows you to tailor the program to fit your individual career goals.


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

The MAPC program offers a flexible curriculum that allows you to tailor the degree to meet your individual professional goals. You will take four core courses and five classes in a specialty area. The core courses cover visual communication, rhetoric & professional communication, workplace and organizational communication, and communication research methods.

Electives in a specialty area allow you to customize your degree program to meet your career goals. Specializations you can develop include:

  • Technical writing
  • New media and digital publishing
  • Usability and user-experience design
  • Teaching of writing
  • Corporate communications
  • Health communications

In each of these areas, the program allows you to select courses designed to create a specialization. Also, rather than selecting one of the specializations above, you may choose to create a custom specialization from courses in one or more of the above areas, courses offered by the program in other areas and/or courses offered by other departments.

Examples of recent course offerings include:

  • International communication
  • Advanced technical editing
  • The future of the book
  • Communication culture and social networks
  • Communication and organizational consulting
  • Digital video production
  • Usability testing

To earn the MAPC, you will complete the required course work (30 credit hours), pass a qualifying exam on a list of readings and complete a portfolio-the main component of which is a semester-long, potentially publishable paper or a client project accepted by the student's portfolio committee. Client projects allow candidates to work in industry for academic credit. Most students complete the degree in two years or less (some students complete the degree while working full-time, thus taking longer to finish).

The Department of English, which houses the professional communication program, also offers a health communication certificate (HCC) as an offshoot of the MAPC program. The HCC is unique because it can be awarded not only to returning health professionals who wish to upgrade their technical skills for the workplace, but also to MAPC graduate students who want to work in a health profession. MAPC students earn the HCC by completing the health communication specialization.


The Multimedia Authoring, Teaching and Research Facility (MATRF) provides MAPC students with state-of-the-art web publishing, multimedia authoring and traditional print-design tools. You will use the facility to produce professional-level deliverables for class projects and for clients. The facility also supports research projects, provides staff assistance and tutorial workshops, and serves as a gathering space for MAPC students.

The Class of 1941 Studio for Student Communication is a corporate-like space for learning, teaching and research. It is especially well-suited to collaborative work and multimedia presentations.

The Roy and Marnie Pearce Center for Professional Communication promotes effective communication across the curriculum as an integral part of the learning process through a comprehensive program of interdisciplinary workshops, collaborative ventures and research. The center’s Corporate Advisory Board holds regular meetings that offer networking opportunities for MAPC students.

The Usability Testing Facility advances the understanding of user-centered design processes and usability testing practices. Graduate students and faculty members in professional communication work with industry partners to improve the usability of products intended for mass markets.

Our Students

The MAPC program is comprised of students who hold bachelor’s degrees in diverse areas, such as biology, computer science, English, marketing, political science, communications, and psychology. The program currently has 41 students. Seventy-one percent are female, 76 percent attend on a full-time basis, and 5 percent are international students.


Required Documents


The School offers a number of graduate assistantships to students each year based on merit.  These are offered in the form of stipends and the additional benefit of tuition remission.  Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester to qualify for a graduate assistantship and must work a minimum of 15 hours a week as a teaching or research assistant or perform other tasks assigned by the School.

Financial aid is available to qualified full-time students in the form of assistantships. Aid packages include a competitive monthly stipend and a substantial reduction in tuition.

First-year graduate assistants may perform duties such as developing publications in the MATRF, helping faculty manage and enhance writing programs and tutoring in the department’s Writing Center. After earning 18 credit hours toward the degree, graduate assistants may teach sections of composition. Student loans and fellowship awards are also available, and funding may be available on a competitive basis for students to travel to professional conferences.


Program Coordinator(s)