Why UM-Flint

What sets apart our Master of Arts in Applied Communication?

Project Based

We take the "applied" in the name of our program seriously. Students do not work on papers that never see the light of day. Instead, throughout the program, students work on real-world projects designed to make a difference. These projects are not tied to individual classes, but are shared across classes, allowing student work to be more efficient, more engaging, and more impactful. Students emerge from the program with a professional portfolio that demonstrates compelling evidence of the work you’ve done to show future employers. 

Student project examples: HERE.

Cohort Driven

Students work together in cohorts, taking the same classes in the same progression. This both enables students to build meaningful, collaborative relationships, and guarantees that students will be able to finish the program in two years. 


Because our program is entirely online, students are able to make their education work with their busy, professional lives. While our classes are not self-paced, they are all asynchronous. With rare exceptions, we do not ask students to be present online at any specific time (and even in those instances, we make recordings of live sessions available for those who cannot attend). 

expert faculty

The MA in Applied Communication classes are taught by our expert faculty who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their instruction. From your faculty mentors, you’ll learn how coursework transfers to the real-world applications in the boardroom and beyond. Your instructors will remain available and accessible to mentor and support you throughout your educational journey.

student testimonial

Listen to what one of our students has to say about the program:


This program’s in-depth curriculum is rigorous, challenging, and well-rounded. Courses teach you to make informed decisions, conduct focus groups and interviews, analyze target audiences, and adapt messages to different groups. This specialized knowledge prepares you to excel as a leader in your field.


The program includes a self-directed cognate offered through the Office of Extended Learning, where you’ll develop a thorough knowledge of communication platforms and applications relevant to your career aspirations.


As part of the world-renowned University of Michigan community, you’ll also have access to the full academic and research resources at the Flint, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor campuses.




The program requires 30 credits as follows:

Because our program is cohort-based, students are able to complete this 30-credit hour program part-time in just over two years. Students take the same courses, at the same time, facilitating collaborative project work and ensuring that all courses are available when students need to take them. 


COM 501: Applied Communication Theory (3 credit hours)
Broad overview of the field of communication studies. Students explore the pragmatic application of humanistic and social scientific theories of communication to understand and address significant problems and challenges

COM 502: Applied Communication Research Methods (3 credit hours)
Examination of practical ways to consume and produce research that can be applied in a professional setting. Students learn to foresee problems and make informed decisions by designing and conducting surveys, focus groups, content analyses, and in-depth interviews. Includes basic data analysis techniques and strategies for writing effective reports.

COM 510: Group Communication and Collaboration (3 credit hours)
Examination of theoretical and practical dimensions of group collaboration in synchronous and asynchronous environments. Students gain an advanced understanding of group dynamics, and develop strategies for problem solving and decision making in face-to-face and virtual groups.

COM 512: Communication Consulting and Training (3 credit hours)
Exploration of the principles of applied organizational communication. Students develop a capacity to act as communication consultants for external and internal audiences, and explore advanced training and development strategies. 

COM 530: Capstone I (3 credit hours)
Initiation of year-long capstone projects. Students organize into project teams, develop contracts with partner organizations, conduct initial investigation of central communication issues related to projects, and outline plans for project completion.


COM 511: Leadership as a Communication Phenomenon (3 credit hours)
Examination of the role communication skills play in effective leadership in professional contexts. Students apply theories of leadership from a variety of fields to case studies drawn from real world contexts, focus on topics and such as leadership styles, ethics, theories of management, and learn to understand cultural difference from a leadership perspective.

COM 620: Case Studies in Communication Technologies and Interfaces (3 credit hours)
Investigation of the constitutive role played by technologies and interfaces in shaping meaning, messages and audiences in communication contexts. Students apply theories of communication technology and society to specific case studies focusing on interactions between communication media and their roles in both constraining and enabling messages within given cultural contexts.

COM 621: Case Studies in Persuasion (3 credit hours)
Examination of the relationship between speakers, messages and audiences. Combines theories of persuasion, rhetoric and argumentation with analysis of target audiences to help students use communication skills to solve problems. Case studies explore themes including adapting messages to different audiences, ethics of deception and manipulation, and standards for effective argumentation.

COM 622: Case Studies in Communication, Culture, and Difference (3 credit hours)
Initiation of year-long capstone projects. Students organize into project teams, develop contracts with partner organizations, conduct initial investigation of central communication issues related to projects, and outline plans for project completion.

COM 630: Capstone II (1-3 credit hours*)
Completion of capstone projects. Students implement, assess as appropriate, and reflect on the result of year-long collaborative projects completed in conjunction with partner organizations.

*COM 630 is a variable credit hour course; students must register for their third credit hour in Spring of their second year)

Additional information on the Master of Arts in Applied Communication including course descriptions can be found in the catalog




The federal government requires universities and colleges to be in compliance with the distance education laws of each individual state. If you are an out-of-state student intending to enroll in an online program, especially if it leads to professional licensure, please visit umflint.edu/oel/online-state-authorization to verify the status of UM-Flint with your state.


To be considered for admission, submit the following to the Office of Graduate Programs, 251 Thompson Library:

  • Application for Graduate Admission
  • $55 application fee (non-refundable)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Statement of Purpose describing your reasons for pursuing the degree, your career objectives, how your education and/or professional experience have prepared you for the program, and your experience with and attitudes towards online learning. Statements may be submitted online during the application process or emailed to graduate@umflint.edu.
  • Résumé, including work experience and extra-curricular activities. May be submitted online during the application process or emailed to graduate@umflint.edu.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals knowledgeable of your potential for advanced academic study. Electronic recommendation requests are sent out as a part of the online application process.
  • International Students: Submit additional documentation. Visit umflint.edu/international for details. This program is an online program. Students admitted to this program are not eligible to obtain a student visa (F visa). Students with all other visa types are eligible.

Application Deadlines

To be considered for admission by the Master of Arts in Applied Communication program, all application materials must be submitted on or before:

  • Fall (guaranteed consideration*) – May 1
  • Fall (if space permits) – August 1 

*You must apply for admission by the early deadline to be eligible for scholarships, grants, and research assistantships. The deadline for international students applying to the program is May 1.