Communication Studies Graduate Program

The Department of Communication Studies (CMST) at Louisiana State University has a long and rich tradition. Established in 1928, it is one of the oldest communication departments in the nation, and in the South, it was the first 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 main goal is to prepare graduate students for success in their chosen profession, academic or otherwise, in an environment that is innovative, stimulating, friendly, and humane. 

Specifically, we hope to produce researchers capable of generative critical thought and scholarship; to balance areas of specialization with a holistic approach that stimulates dialogue between areas; to understand communication as both an art and science; and to provide facilities for creative communication expression and experimentation. Such facilities include the Mary Frances HopKins Black Box performance lab, the Matchbox Interaction Lab, and Studio 151, a video editing lab. The department also is home to the Harold Mixon Lyceum, our forensics and debate team, which is coached by a CMST graduate assistant. Frequent colloquies, lectures, and workshops given by LSU and visiting scholars further enhance the lively community of scholarship we hope to foster here. 

The program offers a M.A. degree with a thesis, non-thesis, or professional practice option, and a Ph.D. degree in three broad areas of specialization: Interpersonal Communication, Performance Studies, and Rhetoric. Within and between areas, a broad range of courses is available, and each student is encouraged to design a program of study that fits their interests. A student may, for instance, concentrate their course work and research in one area or work across areas. 

Interpersonal Communication examines personal relationships, marriage and family, social cognition, health settings, life-span, and the role of the individual in communication with special attention to theory building and testing. Our approach is primarily quantitative and mixed-methods. 

Performance Studies features communication-centered approaches to performance in three main contexts: the cultural, the historical, and the aesthetic. Our approach is qualitative, focusing on interpretive and critical analysis of performance texts, events, and processes. 

Rhetoric focuses on the analysis of public discourse. We are especially interested in the ways in which rhetorical criticism functions as a mode of social critique, which calls our attention to how discourse challenges and sustains power relations, and addresses and constitutes publics.