Dec 06, 2022  
2022-2023 General Catalog 
2022-2023 General Catalog

Communication Studies (Graduate Program)


For information regarding the UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM, click here.  

Program Overview

Established in 1928, the LSU Department of Communication Studies is one of the oldest communication departments in the nation and the first in the South to develop a doctoral program. Situated in a research-intensive university, the department and its faculty strive to foster the intellectual growth of each student while also attending to their development in the areas of teaching and service. Our goal is to prepare graduate students for success in their chosen profession in an environment that is innovative, stimulating, friendly, and humane.

The program is based in three inter-related areas of research interest: Interpersonal Communication, Performance Studies, and Rhetoric & Cultural Studies. Within and between areas, a broad range of courses is offered, and each student is encouraged to design a departmental-level academic course plan that fits their interests. Course emphases include: message processing; contemporary performance theory and practice; crime and public culture; crisis communication; critical and cultural studies; critical race studies; environmental communication; family communication; feminist and gender studies; ethnography; health communication; interpersonal communication; nonverbal communication; qualitative and quantitative research methods; performance history and historiography; performance of diverse literary, oral, and other materials; persuasion; performance art; queer studies; relational communication; rhetorical criticism; rhetorical theory; theories of the body, technology, and trauma; tourism studies; and visual culture and rhetoric.


Tracy Stephenson Shaffer, Chair
Bryan McCann, Graduate Advisor
TELEPHONE 225-578-4172
FAX 225-578-4828


Applications and supporting materials for all graduate study must be submitted through the online application site for the LSU Graduate School. Official transcripts, official test scores, and other materials that come from third-party sources must be submitted electronically or mailed to: LSU Office of Graduate Admissions, 114 West David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. All documents submitted by or on behalf of the applicant are stored electronically and departments have access to them.

To apply to the graduate program in Communication Studies, applicants are required to complete the online application form and submit transcripts of all college work. Applicants interested in interpersonal communication must also submit GRE scores. The GRE is optional for those emphasizing performance studies or rhetoric and cultural studies. International students whose native language is not English also must submit an acceptable TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score.

The department also requires a 1-2 page personal statement regarding research interests, three letters of recommendation (on letterhead and signed), and a sample of scholarly writing – e.g., a term paper or a thesis chapter. A vita or resume is welcomed but not required. Applicants should also clearly indicate if they are applying for the MA, PhD, or MA-PhD fast track programs.

Applications for admission and an assistantship are due by December 31 and awarded in late January or early February for the upcoming fall semester. All applicants must adhere to the application procedures and deadlines established by the LSU Graduate School and the CMST department. Admission decisions are made by the department’s Graduate Admission Committee, which consists of one graduate faculty member from each of the three areas. Each committee member serves as a representative for their respective area and, as such, will consult with their area colleagues regarding graduate applications prior to meeting with the Graduate Admission Committee. Final admission and funding decisions are based on the strength of application materials and guided by the goal of equal balance of students and assistantships across the three areas. Prospective students who do not meet the requirements may be admitted provisionally on a case-by-case basis.

Financial Assistance

Each year we award approximately 28 graduate assistantships to continuing and new graduate students. Our assistantships are teaching assistantships largely; we do not award research assistantships unless they are funded by a grant. For prospective students, the application documents play a key part in the decisions we make as does the availability of assistantships within the program or within the applicant’s proposed area(s) of research emphasis.

Graduate Faculty

(check current faculty listings by department here)

Kellie Brisini (6A) • Interpersonal communication, relational turbulence, conflict, social support, romantic relationships
Renee Edwards (M) • Interpersonal communication, research methods, message processing
Serap Erincin (6A) • Performance studies, performance and technology, performing protest
Stephanie Houston Grey (7M) • Rhetoric and culture, science studies, aesthetics, trauma studies, identity
Ashley Noel Mack (6A) • Rhetorical criticism, critical/cultural studies, feminist/queer theory, historical materialism
Bryan J. McCann (M) • Rhetorical criticism, critical/cultural studies, affect studies, race, gender, social movements
Colter Ray (6A) • Interpersonal communication, health communication, social support, affection, loneliness
Tracy Stephenson Shaffer (M) • Performance studies, ethnography, popular culture, film
Patricia A. Suchy (7M) • Performance studies, film studies, Bakhtinian theory
David Price Terry (M) • Performance studies, cultural studies, oral history, new media

The program offers a MA degree with a thesis, non-thesis, or professional practice option, a MA-PhD fast track program, and a PhD degree. All students develop a departmental-level academic course plan in consultation with and approved by their graduate committee. The committee consists of the student’s major advisor and at least two additional members of the graduate faculty such that the LSU Graduate School’s requirements for graduate committees are satisfied.


    Master of ArtsDoctor of Philosophy