This manual contains graduate student policies and procedures, requirements and resources. The Graduate Studies Support Coordinator updates this manual annually.
Last Updated: June 2017
Table of Contents
This manual contains graduate student policies and procedures, requirements and resources. The Graduate Studies Support Coordinator updates this manual annually.
Last Updated: June 2017
Table of Contents
The focus of the Department of Communication Studies is on the examination, grounded in the rhetorical bases of the discipline, of communication processes and products in three areas: Media Studies and Visual Culture, Relational and Organizational Communication, and Rhetoric and Civic Engagement.
The faculty of the Department of Communication Studies believes that ethical behavior in all professional endeavors is paramount. As noted in the National Communication Association’s Code of Professional Ethics (http://www.natcom.org/index.asp?bid=13592, accessed July 6, 2009):
Members of the communication discipline have a special responsibility to model ethical communication practices. Communication scholars are particularly concerned with free and responsible communication among all members of society. Ethical communication should begin with ourselves and govern our interactions with others.
We believe that our communication and professional conduct should be guided by honesty, integrity, rigor, prudence, and appreciation of the diversity of ideas and perspectives that contribute to the richness of our community.
Specific guidelines for ethical conduct are outlined in the Code of Ethical Behavior in the Colorado State University Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual section D. 9.
The Master of Arts in Communication Studies is a two-year program with the following curricular requirements:
Research Methods Courses
In addition to those curricular requirements, M.A. candidates must write a master’s thesis, deliver a departmental research colloquium, and submit a research paper to a scholarly conference.
Plan A Thesis
All Plan A graduate students are required to write a thesis with the assistance of a graduate advisor and thesis committee.
Each thesis committee has at least three members, two from within the department and one from outside the department. The chair of the committee must have a Ph.D. The chair works with the student to select the outside member.
No faculty member shall chair more than two M.A. theses in one year. No faculty shall serve as a chair or an inside member on more than four thesis committees. Faculty with joint appointments will chair and serve as inside members in proportion to their commitments to the department.
No thesis committee commitments will be made by faculty or M.A. students before the last weekday of February.
All Plan A graduate students must write and defend a prospectus. This defense is expected to occur during the fall semester of the student’s second year. Students should register for three credits of thesis hours in the fall semester of their second year. If the thesis is successfully presented, the chair of the thesis committee enters a grade of “pass” when grades are due in Dec. When the defense does not take place in the expected semester, it must take place before the student defends the entire thesis. When the prospectus is not presented as expected, the chair of the thesis committee enters a grade of “I” in December. That grade is changed only when the student successfully presents the prospectus.
The thesis committee must evaluate the prospectus for the purposes of departmental assessment; the evaluation form is found at S:\Forms.
All drafts of thesis work, once they are approved by the chair and the student, must go to the inside member before being presented to the outside member. Once the inside member is satisfied, the draft then goes to the outside member.
Unless the outside member agrees to a different time-frame, that person (the outside member) must have a minimum of two weeks to review the final draft of the thesis (approved by the chair and inside member) before the final defense of the thesis takes place. A student can present the outside member with the final draft (approved by the chair and inside member) and schedule a defense two weeks from the date of delivery. If a shorter turn-time is hoped for, however, the outside member must agree to that revised two-week time. Students should not expect outside members to agree to the shorter turn-time as a matter of course–that is the decision of the outside member.
Response or turn-times for drafts of work should be arranged by the chair, student, and inside member. Please note, though, that the department sets as its normal turn-time for a draft of a chapter as two weeks.
Graduate students must pay tuition for all regular (fall and spring) semesters until they graduate. This means they must register as an on-campus or off-campus graduate student while working on the thesis if they do not successfully defend in their second year.
A student who has successfully defended his/her thesis and presents a bound copy to the Department along with receipts for copying/binding will be reimbursed up to $50.
M.A. in Communication, Deliberative Practices Specialization
The Master of Arts in Communication Studies, Deliberative Practices Specialization is a two-year program in which students work closely with our nationally-recognized Center for Public Deliberation and are trained to design and facilitate deliberative dialogues. Interested students apply for the Deliberative Practices Specialization during the fall of their first semester in the program. Admission into this track must be approved by the Director of the CPD.
Research Methods Courses
Public Deliberation Courses
In addition to those curricular requirements, M.A. candidates must complete an applied research project supervised by faculty experts in public deliberation, deliver a departmental research colloquium, and submit a research paper to a scholarly conference.
Note: students in either track may take SPCM 508 and be affiliated with the Center for Public Deliberation. The Deliberative Practices Specialization is designed for those who want to emphasize public deliberation and work extensively with the CPD.
Plan B Deliberative Practices
Students in the Plan B Deliberative Practices Master’s in Communication Studies must complete at least 36 total credits to graduate, including 12 core credits (4 classes), 12 elective credits (4 classes), 6 credits in deliberative practices (SPCM 408 and SPCM 508), 3 practicum credits (SPCM 686), and 3 independent study credits (SPCM 695). Nine of the twelve elective credits must be Communication Studies graduate (500 or 600 level) classes. Three graduate credits (1 class) can come from outside the department. Students must complete a deliberative practices project based on a Center for Public Deliberation program for SPCM 686 and SPCM 695.
Ph.D. in Communication
The Ph.D. in Communication is a three-year program with the following requirements:
Given the increasing importance of multi-methodological research inside and outside of academe, we want our Ph.D. graduates to be experts in a variety of research methods. We require all students to take advanced research methods courses grounded in both social science and critical/humanistic perspectives.
Given our program’s emphasis on engagement, we want our Ph.D. graduates to be able to write successfully for scholarly and lay audiences. Our Ph.D. core includes instruction in academic and professional writing, as well as in adapting scholarly information for extra-disciplinary and lay audiences (e.g. public scholarship, scholarly blogging, digital engagement, etc.)
Ph.D. students choose graduate electives from the department in consultation with their advisor. Our program is designed to serve students who appreciate our programmatic breadth and flexibility. Students will need to choose electives from more than one of our areas of study.
Qualifying Exams and Dissertation
A doctoral student’s third year is devoted to the qualifying exam and dissertation process. Students whose dissertation research extends beyond the third year may register for continuous enrollment credits (small fee/full tuition is not charged) until they complete their dissertation.
he following graduate elective courses are currently being offered and are available to students in any track:
Graduate Teaching Assistantships allows graduate student the opportunity to gain teaching experience, cover student tuition, and provide a monthly stipend. To learn more please refer to the Department website: http://communicationstudies.colostate.edu/grad/graduate-teaching-assistantships/
Graduate teaching assistants in the M.A. program are assigned to teach three or four courses per year. Generally those are one section of SPCM 200 Public Speaking during the first semester, two sections during the second semester, two sections during the third semester, and one or two section(s) during the fourth semester. Some graduate teaching assistants may assist in large sections (75 students or more) of undergraduate courses, in which case their teaching load is reduced by one section of SPCM 200. Graduate students who wish to assist in courses without a course reduction may do so with the approval of the instructor. They may receive SPCM 684 Supervised College Teaching credit for this activity. GTA mentoring is done by the Director of the Basic Public Speaking Course.
Ph.D. graduate teaching assistants will teach four courses per year. Generally those are two sections of SPCM 200 Public Speaking during each semester. Other courses may also be available for doctoral GTAs based on interests and approval by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Graduate students are required to submit one research project for presentation at a scholarly convention and are encouraged to submit additional papers/panels. Students must also keep track of all conference submissions and outcomes and report that information to the Graduate Studies Support Coordinator. Travel assistance may be available to graduate students presenting research at a conference, if received, students must go through the appropriate travel procedures and documentation.
All travel must conform to University travel regulations and procedures. Please see Dawn McConkey for assistance with appropriate travel forms and instructions.
All students must present at one colloquium during their course of study. Dates and times for colloquium will be scheduled by the Director of Graduate Studies and students will be given those date options at the beginning of each semester.
When publishing with a student, the faculty member should outline their personal policies and procedures as soon in the process as possible. The student should feel free to ask questions, negotiate, and/or find another writing partner as needed. The authorship relationship may change over time, for example as the student and faculty member realize that the student can indeed contribute substantially to the project (not just as a research assistant) and, vice-versa, if the student ends up limiting his or her contributions to the preliminary stages of the project.
Students are expected to meet two standards in their course of study:
A student whose performance or progress is not satisfactory is subject to dismissal from the program, and, in general, must petition to remain in the program. Even in instances in which the petition process is waived or petitions are approved, students are expected to get back on schedule to meet satisfactory progress standards or to petition to reschedule their academic time line. Students are responsible for discussing with their academic advisers, and bringing to the attention of the Director of Graduate Studies, any circumstances that will prevent their meeting academic progress standards.
Students funded on Graduate Assistantships are held to additional Satisfactory Performance standards, and may have the Satisfactory Progress standards more strictly enforced. The department must assure that assistantship funds are being invested in high-performing students who are progressing efficiently through the program requirements.
Satisfactory Performance Standards
Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average across all Communication Studies courses, a 3.0 grade point average across all regular courses, and a 3.0 GPA in all regular and non-regular courses combined. Regular courses are distinct from independent or group study, thesis credits, study abroad, supervised college teaching, internships, or any courses graded on a pass/fail basis. Failure to meet the minimum GPA requirements will result in academic probation and, if not rectified, dismissal from the program.
Students funded on Graduate Teaching Assistantships must meet the requirements above; in addition, a grade below B in any required course will trigger a review of the student’s overall record and of whether continuation of support is merited.
Graduate students must pass the prescribed set of preliminary examinations. MA students must successfully defend their thesis prospectus or research project proposal. Ph.D. students must successfully defend their written and oral qualifying exam. Only two attempts are allowed for each exam. Two failures on an exam will lead to dismissal from the program. Both MA and Ph.D. students must successfully defend their thesis/research project/dissertation and fulfill all other degree requirements in order for degree conferral.
Satisfactory Progress Standards
While it is understood that the speed of dissertation research progress will vary according to the nature of the work and other circumstances, students are expected to make continuous, substantial progress to the Preliminary Oral Examination (dissertation proposal) and then through the remainder of their research and writing, to the Final Oral Examination (final defense), then any follow-up revisions, and submission of the dissertation in accordance with university and department requirements. Students should be aware of the “10 Year Rule” imposed by the Graduate School, as stated in the Graduate Bulletin as follows:
There is a 10-year time limit for completion of the master’s or doctoral degrees. Courses to be applied toward fulfilling the requirements for the master’s and doctoral degrees, including any which may have been transferred from another institution, must have been registered for and completed within the ten years immediately preceding the date of completion of requirements for the degrees.
Students who cannot meet the satisfactory progress standards may at any time ask their academic adviser to co-sign a petition to the Chair, to reschedule their academic time line in light of their specific situations. This petition will be reviewed by the Chair and the Director of Graduate Studies. Such petitions may involve an extension of the time period in which the student is expected to complete the degree. This may apply to students who want to pursue a graduate degree on a part-time basis or who want to take a leave of absence from graduate study. Such students should also consult the Graduate and Professional Bulletin for Graduate School requirements for continuous enrollment, readmission, and time limits.
M.A. students who receive graduate teaching assistantships are generally offered 2 years of 9-month funding, provided they are fulfilling academic performance and progress expectations, as well as following all departmental policies and procedures in the classroom and meeting departmental expectations for teaching. If a student is unable or unwilling to fulfill expectations and, consequently, loses their assistantship, funding is not guaranteed for future semesters.
Ph.D. students who receive graduate teaching assistantships are generally offered 3 years of 9-month funding, provided they are fulfilling academic performance and progress expectations, as well as following all departmental policies and procedures in the classroom and meeting departmental expectations for teaching. Ph.D. students may be eligible for special faculty appointments after their GTA funding expires, depending on departmental needs. If a student is unable or unwilling to fulfill expectations and, consequently, loses their assistantship, funding is not guaranteed for future semesters.
Students not funded by the department who expect to apply for funding at a later time should be aware that their performance in relation to the progress standards would be a factor in the department’s consideration of their subsequent applications for funding.
The responsibility for meeting deadlines, requirements, and completing Graduate School paperwork/forms is solely that of the students. Second and third years should pay particular attention to the email from the Grad School in the spring concerning their application for graduation. Graduate students are encouraged to work with the Graduate Studies Support Coordinator on meeting deadlines, requirements and obtaining residency.
For graduate students seeking residency, please visit the Office of Financial Aid website and follow the instructions and deadline dates carefully: http://financialaid.colostate.edu/petition-process-and-deadlines.
Please refer to the Graduate and Professional Bulletin for current policies and procedures: http://catalog.colostate.edu/general-catalog/graduate-bulletin/
You can access the frequently referenced policies, such as health insurance, advisor and committee requirements, and university policy resources here: http://graduateschool.colostate.edu/policies-and-procedures/
Please refer to the Graduate School website for all graduate forms and instructions: http://graduateschool.colostate.edu/policies-and-procedures/forms/
Steps to Graduation are listed for both M.A. and Ph.D. students on the Graduate School website:
Please check these sites often to ensure your forms are submitted correctly and on time. You can find current deadline dates here: http://graduateschool.colostate.edu/policies-and-procedures/deadline-dates/
M.A. in Communication Studies
M.A. candidates must write and complete a master’s thesis.
M.A. in Communication Studies, Deliberative Practices Specialization
M.A. candidates must complete an applied research project supervised by faculty experts in public deliberation.
Ph.D. in Communication
A doctoral student’s third year is devoted to the qualifying exam and dissertation process and all Ph.D. candidates must write and complete a dissertation.
Department prospectus and final defense forms can be found in the following S Drive locations:
Students must have their advisor print off and bring these forms (or the student must print the form and bring them) to each defense. After the defense the form must be filled out and singed by all three committee members and returned to the Graduate Studies Support Coordinator for recording purposes.
Please pay close attentions to the forms required for thesis/dissertation examinations, the GS24, GS30 and, if you need to change a committee member, GS9. Ph.D. Candidates must also complete a preliminary exam and fill out a GS16. The preliminary exam must be completed at least two semesters prior to the Ph.D. student’s final examination/defense. To learn more about these please reference the forms section on The Graduate School website: http://graduateschool.colostate.edu/policies-and-procedures/forms/
Prior to starting your thesis please review the formatting guidelines. Thesis/Dissertation pages for formatting requirements. After your thesis is complete submit it electronically to ProQuest/UMI. Your document must be approved for formatting prior to the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. Corrections to your thesis/dissertation may be required so it is recommended that you submit well in advance of the deadline date.
Please keep your office locked at all times when you’re not there, and be responsible for locking windows and doors and otherwise ensuring the safety of the equipment in the building. Unfortunately, theft is a problem on campus, so these precautions are necessary.
Large Conference Room
The large conference room is A217 Behavioral Sciences Building. Sign-up sheet for use of the large conference room is in the work room, and sign-up takes priority over any ad hoc requests.
Small Conference Room/Library
The small conference room/library is inside A208 Behavioral Sciences Building. Priority use goes to GTA and instructor meetings with students.
The copier in the work room can be used for printing, photocopying, and scanning. Handouts for classes can be scanned and posted to Canvas to reduce departmental copying costs.
The office staff will make copies for you if you give them a minimum of 48 hours lead time. Forms for requesting copies are located in the work room on the shelf above the mailboxes. Complete the form and put it and the material to be copied in a campus mail envelope and put it in the work study bin in the mailbox units.
Please do not send your exams or handouts to office staff as an e-mail attachment. If they are out on annual leave or sick leave they will not see your e-mail, and they don’t check each other’s e-mail.
Equipment and Supplies
The Department has equipment available for checkout. You should reserve any equipment on the sheets provided on the clip board in the work room.
All departmental equipment is to be checked out for short-term use only. When you sign out a camera, laptop, or whatever on the sign-out sheet in the work room, please list the actual times you will have the equipment and your name and return the equipment when it is not actually in use.
If you need a piece of equipment for a longer term, such as a trip during which you’ll be doing research and videoing something, please indicate when you’ll have it back when you sign it out, and return it promptly when you’ve returned.
Office supplies such as pens, pencils, tablets, and so on are in the cabinets in the work room. A supply request list is on the inside of the door of the supply cabinet. Please be specific about what you need when you record items there. The University strictly forbids use of University funds (in the form of stationery, long-distance telephone calls, postage, and so on) for private use.
Mail and Work Room
Mail is distributed in the work room. To post mail, leave it in the basket on the shelves in the mailbox unit. Mail is picked up and delivered by the university once per day.
It is against university regulations to place personal, stamped mail in the basket. You must take it to a U.S. mail center. You may not send personal mail in university envelopes. Likewise, the use of the university mail-handling system for receiving personal mail is discouraged.
The Work Room must remain locked if not occupied. When Gloria is in her office to monitor the room, she’ll try to keep the workroom door open.
Faculty and graduate students are welcome to use the microwave, refrigerator, etc. located in the break room. However, the Custodians do not clean the break room, so everyone shares in the responsibility of keeping the room and the equipment, sink, etc. clean. Please do not leave mugs, tea bags, coffee, or other personal items sitting on the counters or the tables.
Media Check-out Policy
The Department has a collection of DVDs, cross referenced by title and director, available for view, instructional, and research purposes by Regular Faculty members, Special Faculty, and Staff. Videos should not be placed on reserve in the Library and must remain in the Department office when not in use. Videos must be signed out and back in, with a return date indicated.
|Classroom equipment problems||Classroom Media|
|Computer problems||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Department policy||Dr. Greg Dickinson|
|Forms: Internships, independent Study, supervised college teaching||Office staff|
|Graduate advising||Dr. Karrin Anderson|
|Human Resources||Gloria Blumanhourst|
|Policy on use of supplies||Dr. Greg Dickinson|
|SPCM 200||Dr. Tom Dunn|
|Textbook and desk copy order||Office staff|
|Undergraduate advising||Academic Support Coordinators Ella Bowers, Neely O’Connor /Dr. Greg Dickinson|
Campus Dining Options
To learn about dining options at Colorado State University including RamCard and university dining halls and menus, http://housing.colostate.edu/dining and http://housing.colostate.edu/ramcard
Located in the basement of the Lory Student Center, the Career Center hosts several events and workshops throughout the year. Learn more: https://career.colostate.edu/
College of Liberal Arts
Communication Studies is one of 13 departments within the College of Liberal Arts. Comm Studies has more undergraduate majors than any other CLA department. Dr. Ben Withers is the dean of the college. He began his appointment in the fall of 2016. You can get to know other departments through the CLA website: http://libarts.colostate.edu/
CSU Health Network
Everything you need to know about staying healthy in body and mind during your time as a Ram: http://health.colostate.edu/
CSU Police Department: http://police.colostate.edu/
http://sls.colostate.edu/ provides free legal advice to fee-paying students on a variety of legal matters.
Lory Student Center
CSU’s hub of student life and your one stop shop for coffee, lunch, supplies, computer software and equipment, CSU Bookstore, CSU-branded clothing, student activities, Recycled Cycles, and much more: http://lsc.colostate.edu/
Student Resources and Campus Life
Quick links to campus life resources: http://catalog.colostate.edu/general-catalog/academic-services-support/resources-campus-life/#campus-activities
Tell Someone Campaign
If you are concerned about a student OR an employee, tell someone: http://supportandsafety.colostate.edu/tellsomeone
Parking and Transportation Services
It is expensive and time-consuming to park on campus. However, it’s doable. If you must drive, explore your options:
Colorado State University received platinum-level “Bicycle Friendly University” status from the League of American Cyclists in fall 2016. From bicycle-designated paths and a city bus system that supports bikes, to commuter showers and conveniently located bicycle racks, commuting to campus by bicycle is about as easy as it can get. Learn more: http://pts.colostate.edu/transportation-options/bicycle-general/
Around the Horn
Free on-campus transit: http://pts.colostate.edu/transportation-options/transit-general/horn/
All students receive a Transfort transit pass (on their Ramcard) included in their student fees thanks to the commitment from the Associated Students of Colorado State University. You can ride any Transfort route in the city, via bus or MAX. Your transit pass can also get you to Loveland, Longmont and Boulder via the FLEX. Learn more: http://www.ridetransfort.com/
University Center for the Arts
The UCA houses the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and is located on Remington St, just east of College Ave. Many music performances are free to students and those that required a paid ticket are offered at a low student rate. Schedule of performances: http://smtd.colostate.edu/events/
City of Fort Collins
Downtown Fort Collins Business Association
For events, dining, nightlife, shopping, services and arts and culture: http://downtownfortcollins.com/
Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce
Area businesses: https://fortcollinschamber.com/
Visit Fort Collins
Official visitor guide to Fort Collins – where to eat and drink, what to do, community calendar: http://www.visitftcollins.com/?utm_source=visitforttcollins.com
The following local activities and places come highly recommended: