Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies

Indiana Commission for Higher Education

1Characteristics of the Program

a.   Campus(es) Offering Program—Joint Degree Shared by

Indiana University East
Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis
Indiana University Kokomo
Indiana University Northwest
Indiana University South Bend
Indiana University Southeast

b.   Scope of Delivery—Statewide
c.   Mode of Delivery—100% Online
d.   Other Delivery Aspects—None
e.   Academic Unit Offering Program—varies by campus:

IU East—School of Humanities and Social Sciences
IUPUI—School of Liberal Arts
IU Kokomo—School of Humanities and Social Sciences
IU Northwest—College of Arts and Sciences
IU South Bend—Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts
IU Southeast—School of Arts and Letters

2. Rationale for the Program

a.    Institutional Rationale (Alignment with Institutional Mission and Strengths)

  • Why is the institution proposing this program?

a.  Program Goals:

The coursework in the Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies will combine the applied skills and theoretical knowledge in the discipline of Communication Studies. The certificate will serve two primary audiences:

  1. Dual-Credit and Community College Instructors teaching courses in Speech and
    Communication Studies, and
  2. Working communication professionals.

The Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies will support the reach and quality of
Indiana’s dual-credit courses by providing:

  • A practical and economical online program of study to high-skilled and motivated teachers with advanced training in the field of Speech and Communication Studies;
  • A challenging and coherent curriculum that meets the Higher Learning Commission’s dual-credit accreditation standards for graduate training in Speech, Rhetoric and Communication Studies.

In addition to the economic and practical advantages of its online format, communication professionals will be attracted to the practical dimensions of the curriculum, which includes:

  • Training in practical communication skills necessary for communication in professional, academic, and personal contexts, such as presenting information, arguing a position, promoting a cause, presenting information via social media, designing targeted messages, and managing relations and conflicts.
  • Practice in critical analysis of media use and effects, interpersonal relations, and presentational speaking. Certificate holders will be enhancing their practical communication strategies for professional, academic, and personal contexts and learning to analyze communication practices based on the research in Communication Studies.

The certificate allows instructors of introductory college-level communication courses to partially fulfill the faculty educational standards of many post-secondary institutions. These requirements usually include a master’s degree in the discipline, or a master’s degree in another field (e.g., education) plus 18 hours in the discipline. With the increased attention that the Higher Learning Commission and other accrediting bodies are giving to the issue of faculty qualifications, current faculty are seeking ways to meet the requirement.

  • How is it consistent with the mission of the institution?

This certificate answers the charge of the Indiana University Bicentennial Strategic Plan to provide an excellent education that promotes retention and completion through innovative online instruction that accommodates the work schedules and family demands of working Hoosiers.

With a focus on extending the reach of dual-credit and community college instruction in high-demand introductory level courses, this MA meets IU’s charge as a public university, which the Bicentennial Strategic Plan states as follows:

IU is a public university in a deep sense; it exists to benefit all the people of the state, and the world beyond, and has a charge to continue its long tradition of engagement in the economic, social, environmental, and cultural life of all Hoosiers. This charge applies to all IU campuses, and it has special significance for the regional campuses. These campuses’ communities and regions rely on their respective campuses for undergraduate and professional education that addresses regional needs.

The Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies is proposed as a joint degree program
by six IU campuses—East, IUPUI, Kokomo, Northwest, South Bend and Southeast. By design, this joint program provides efficiencies of scale while maintaining the unique characteristics of the regional campuses.

  • How does this program fit into the institution’s strategic and/or academic plan?
  • How does this program build upon the strengths of the institution?

The December 2014,  Indiana University Bicentennial Strategic Plan  identified the integration of new educational technologies and collaborative platforms and the development of a robust program of online education as essential tools to ensure that the university and its faculty continue to serve the citizens of the state of Indiana.

As a part of this initiative, the university developed IU Online to serve as administrative home “coordinating and catalyzing IU’s efforts in this area.” The plan summarizes the specific benefits as follows:

Online and hybrid delivery allow IU through IU Online to expand its offerings across campuses in a cost-effective way, through developing systems of shared online resources. IU will complete through IU Online a university-wide framework for online education, to enhance instructional quality and support, and create scalable economies in course and program delivery for all campuses.

See Appendix 1 for web addresses to:

•     Indiana University Bicentennial Strategic Plan
•     January 2016 IU Online: A Collaborative Model for Online Education at Indiana University.

b.   State Rationale

•     How does this program address state priorities as reflected in the ICHE’s 2016 strategic plan
Reaching Higher, Delivering Value.

The proposed collaborative Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies will address each one of the four goals cited in Reaching Higher, Delivering Value.

I.             Completion—The collaborative Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies is designed to improve the instruction in college-level Communication courses taught in Indiana high schools as a part of the dual-credit program and community colleges. These programs give students a head start on their college studies, bank credits and prepare students for success in their first semesters of college enrollment, which is essential to timely progress to degree and on time graduation.

II.            Competency—As mentioned above the collaborative Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies will serve instructors teaching introductory college-level communication courses. Presentation and communication skills are essential for

success in college courses across the curriculum.

III.           Career—The collaborative Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies stacks with the pending collaborative online Master in Liberal Studies and is tailored to the specific needs of dual-credit communication instructors.  It provides both the graduate level instruction in communication and a path to a Master’s degree that the Higher Learning Commission requires for instructors in college-level courses.
The online delivery method will allow teachers to integrate these graduate courses into their regular teaching schedule and /or take courses over the summers.

IV.          Delivering Value—While 100% online delivery mode will allow teachers to further their education with minimal disruption to their professional and family lives, the courses they teach to high school students and community college students are affordable, transferable credits that students can apply towards completion of both two- and four-year college degrees.

c.     Evidence of Labor Market Need

i.   National, State, or Regional Need

•    Is the program serving a national, state, or regional labor market need?

The collaborative online Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies together with the online Master in Liberal Studies will allow dual-credit instructors in introductory communication courses taught in high schools and at community colleges to meet the instructor qualifications standards of the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting body for the Upper-Midwest. Recent changes in HLC practice and other accrediting bodies across the country will likely create steady demand for these online programs.

ii.   Preparation for Graduate Programs or Other Benefits

•    Does the program prepare students for graduate programs or provide other benefits to students besides preparation for entry into the labor market?

This certificate is designed to serve secondary and community college instructors.  It is unlikely that many of these students will opt to apply for a Ph.D. program in the area of Communication Studies, but course work required for the certificate could be used to prepare a student for further communication study at the MA level, for example, with the appropriate mentoring.

iii.   Summary of Indiana DWD and/or U.S. Department of Labor Data

•    Summarize the evidence of labor market demand for graduates of the program as gleaned from employment projections made by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and/or the U.S. Department of Labor?

See Appendix 2: Brief Market and Demand Analysis

iv.   National, State, or Regional Studies

•    Summarize any national, state, or regional studies that address the labor market need for the program.

In an emergency presentation to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education on October 8, 2015, two representatives from the Center for Excellence in Leading and Learning, Dr. Janet Boyle, Executive Director and Tyonka M. Perkins, Interim Director of Early College presented findings about the potential impact of these HLC changes based on a credential analysis of Indiana, dual-credit instructors. Boyle and Perkins found that:

•    Only 30% of current instructors hold an M.A. in their field;
•    1,193 instructors hold M.A.T.s, and other graduate degrees in the field of education, but lack the 18 graduate credit hours in the specific content area in which they teach;
•    A further 600 instructors have neither a Master’s degree nor the requisite content area credit hours.
•    In all, more than 43,000 Indiana students currently take dual-credit courses with instructors who do not meet the HLC standards.

To meet the needs of these instructors, and by extension, their students, the Office of Online Education and the Advanced College Program of Indiana University identified the highest priority dual-credit courses in terms of statewide enrollments, and asked departments and campuses to consider developing online graduate certificates that will satisfy HLC standards for content area instruction. Communication courses are among the most highly enrolled dual-credit courses in the state, and there are hundreds of dual-credit teachers across the state that could complete the collaborative online Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies to meet HLC standards.

See Appendix 2: Brief Market and Demand Analysis

3. Cost of and Support for the Program
a.    Costs
i.   Faculty and Staff- This program will be offered by current IUPUI faculty in collaboration with other faculty on the participating campuses. IUPUI faculty currently offer four graduate online courses with another 3 scheduled for spring and have the capacity to support this certificate. The Department of Communication Studies is a leader in online course development and delivery. The participating faculty will collaborate carefully to ensure careful course scheduling to maximize both face-to-face and online enrollments.
ii.   Facilities- The program will rely on existing facilities.
iii.   Other Capital Costs (e.g. Equipment)- No new equipment will be needed to support this program.
b.   Support
i.   Nature of Support (New, Existing, or Reallocated)- Department of Communication Studies faculty are currently teaching online graduate courses. This program will not take existing faculty away from undergraduate courses. This program has the potential to boost graduate enrollment at the MA level by attracting new students to our online courses.
ii.   Special Fees above Baseline Tuition – IU Online assesses an online fee per credit hour.
This is the case for online courses regardless of the implementation of this proposed certificate program.

3. Similar and Related Programs

a.    List of Programs and Degrees Conferred

i.   Similar Programs at Other Institutions

Campuses offering (on-campus or distance education) programs that are similar:

•    CHE staff will summarize data from the Commission’s Program Review Database on headcount, FTE, and degrees conferred for similar programs in the public sector, as well as information on programs in the non-profit and proprietary sectors, to the extent possible.

ii.   Related Programs at the Proposing Institution

•    CHE staff will summarize data from the Commission’s Program Review Database on headcount, FTE, and degrees conferred for related programs at the proposing institution.

b.   List of Similar Programs Outside Indiana

•     If relevant, institutions outside Indiana (in contiguous states, MHEC states, or the nation, depending upon the nature of the proposed program) offering (on-campus or distance education) programs that are similar:

Southern New Hampshire University offers a MA in Communication completely online. SNHU is one of a growing number of campuses that specialize in online degree programs in as few as 15 months. The curriculum of the MA emphasizes media, marketing, and public relations—a different focus than our general communication MA with the primary audience of high school teachers.

Arizona State University offers an 18-credit hour online graduate certificate in Technical Communication. The curriculum focuses on areas such as web authoring and technical editing. This does not overlap (or compete) with our proposed curriculum.

Bowling Green State University (Ohio) offers an online graduate certificate in Technical Writing. This does not duplicate our proposed certificate in Communication Studies. However, with Ohio joining the Midwest Student Exchange Program, our online certificate could be an attractive program at an affordable tuition rate.

c.     Articulation of Associate/Baccalaureate Programs

Not Applicable.

d.   Collaboration with Similar or Related Programs on Other Campuses

•     Indicate any collaborative arrangements in place to support the program.

The collaborative online Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies will be listed with the other 100% online programs posted at IU Online web portal and will receive marketing and recruitment support from the Office of Online Education (OOE). OOE staff and representatives will be trained to answer initial responses regarding the program and refer prospective students to the campuses for follow-up. OOE will partner with this academic program to provide marketing and recruitment campaigns that reinforce the overall recruitment message and maximize the utilization of OOE, campus, and program resources. OOE will provide effectiveness tracking of marketing campaigns and establish Return on Investment for marketing and recruitment of IU Online students.

In addition, OOE will provide a suite of services for online students. The office provides 24/7 support for students via phone, email and chat. During the 2016-17 academic year, OOE is rolling out the following support for students pursuing an IU Online program:

o  onboarding/orientation to online education at IU,
o  coaching and mentoring services,
o  math and writing tutoring,
o  internship/ coop management, and
o  career services.

OOE has entered into partnership arrangements with providers on several IU campuses, and these offices will take the lead in providing services to students in 100% online collaborative degrees.  In addition, these partnerships will also coordinate student conduct, ADA compliance, and student advocacy for students enrolled at multiple campuses. With regard to student conduct and student grievances, OOE will facilitate conversations among campuses, and, to the extent possible, seek to resolve the issue using existing campus processes

4. Quality and Other Aspects of the Program
Each campus will be responsible for ensuring that all courses taught in this program will be designed to meet or exceed Quality Matters standards. Instructors developing and/or revising courses for online delivery will be proficient in the use of the QM rubric as applied to online course design. (Each campus center for teaching and learning will provide training in the application of the QM rubric, and eDS instructional designers will provide guidance.)

a.    Credit Hours Required/Time To Completion

Working professionals will be able to complete the 18 credit hour Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies in 15-18 months of consecutive part-time enrollment. Students who can take more than one course at a time may complete the certificate more quickly.

•     Credit hours required for the program and how long a full-time student will need to complete the program

See Appendix 3: for a sample curriculum list

b.   Program Competencies or Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the certificate, students will able to:

1.   Deploy innovative strategies for teaching communication.
2.   Employ effective and ethical communication practices in professional, academic, and personal settings.
3.   Apply critical perspectives to production and consumption of media messages.

c.     Admissions Requirements:

Admission criteria will follow the procedures in place at the campus of enrollment with the following certificate specific criteria.
•     Bachelors degree
•     3.0 minimum undergraduate GPA;
•     Official transcripts from each undergraduate institution;
•     250-word personal statement explaining background and reasons for entering the program
Because the collaborative online Certificate in Communication Studies is distinct from related
on-campus or online programs, admission to this program does not imply admission to any other program, including on-campus graduate programs offered by collaborating campuses.

Transfer credit, satisfactory academic progress, and dismissal from the certificate program will follow University Graduate School policy as published in University Graduate School Bulletin and Graduate Handbook.

Appendix 1

The  Indiana University Bicentennial Strategic Plan can be accessed at

The IU policy paper on online collaborative programs, “January 2016 IU Online: A CollaborativeModel for Online Education at Indiana University” can be viewed at

See Appendix 2: Brief Market and Demand Analysis

Degree: Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies

CIP Code used: 09.0101 - Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.
SOC Code used: 27 -3031 - Public Relations Specialists;
25-1122 - Communications Teachers, Postsecondary
Campus: Collaborative online – IUE, IUPUI, IUK, IUN, IUSB, IUS
Delivery: online


BLS Standard
Occupation Code:

09.0101 – Comm. Studies/
Speech Comm. and Rhetoric

25-1122 - Communications
Teachers, Postsecondary

National Outlook:



Indiana Outlook:


Better than average

Average Salary:

National: $56,770 Indiana:

National: $63,410 Indiana:

Projected growth (2014-

National: +6%
Indiana: +10%

National: +10%
Indiana: +11%

Projected annual job
openings (due to growth and net replacement):

National: 4,630
Indiana: 80

National: 990
Indiana: 20

COMPETITION*Source: IPEDS College Navigator

Other Indiana
institutions offering program:

1 Indiana institutions offer this degree: PU Northwest
0 Indiana institutions offer this degree online

Number of institutions offering degree

Certificate: 43 institutions offer this program (3 online, see 3b above)

2013-14 IPEDS Completions data

Certificate (including only post-baccalaurate or post-master’s):
48 (1 from Indiana)

Notes: * The College Navigator does not differentiate certificates as to whether they are graduate or undergraduate. Thus, the competition segment may represent both levels of credential.

Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies— Sample Course List

Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies— Sample Course List

1. Communication Pedagogy (One 3-credit required course).
Learning Outcome: Students will deploy innovative strategies for teaching communication.

Course # Course Title

CMCL-C 545                                             

Pedagogy in Communication and Culture

2.   Communication in Context (Three 3-credit courses – choose 3 from below).
Learning Outcome: Students will employ effective and ethical communication practices to achieve professional, academic, and personal goals.

Course #                                                    

Course Title

COMM-C xxx                                          

Rhetorical Theory
COMM-C 510                                          Health Provider-Consumer Communication
COMM-C 528                                          Group Communication and Organizations
CMCL-C 594                                             Communication and Conflict Management in Organizations
CMCL-C 610                                             Identity and Difference
SPCH-S 500                                              Intro to Grad Studies and Research (or other approved research course)
SPCH-S 640                                              Studies in Organizational Communication
CMCL-C 502 or SPCH-S 502*             Intro to Communication Theory
CMCL-C 592                                               Advanced Health Communication
SPCH-S 633 or COMM-C 544*          Studies in Interpersonal Communication or Advanced Relational
COMM-C 582 or SPCH-S 627             Advanced Intercultural Communication or Studies in Cross Cultural

3.  Communication in Media (One 3-credit course required – Choose 1 from below)
Learning Outcome: Students will apply critical perspectives when producing and consuming media messages.

Course #                             Course Title

COMM-C xxx                                          

Human Communication and the Internet
COMM-C xxx                                          Critical Media Literacy

CMCL-C 606                                             
Media Criticism

3. 1 Elective (3 credits) to total 18 hours -- Students may select additional course(s) from any of the above areas to meet this requirement.**

* Only one of the following 2 courses can count for the certificate
** Any Other Online graduate course that is offered can count as an elective, for example the variable topics
Course, COMM C591.
IUPUI courses are highlighted with prefix COMM-C