In addition to required and elective coursework in the Master of Science Media Science and Media Science: Marketing Communication Research curriculum, students must complete a final degree requirement. All students will complete this requirement remotely. Instructions will be sent to graduating students in their final semester. Students can fulfill the final degree requirement in one of four ways:
- Final Presentation of Work: This new final degree requirement option replaces the comprehensive exams.
- Comprehensive Exams: Closed book examination of theory and methods courses. This option is only available for students who were admitted in Fall 2022 or earlier.
- Professional Project: For students in the London program, or by faculty mentor approval. Students must secure a faculty first reader and second reader, and submit a professional project proposal at least one semester prior to planned program completion.
- Thesis: For students hoping to continue in a doctoral program. Students must secure a faculty first reader and second reader, and submit a thesis proposal at least one semester prior to planned program completion.
Students planning to pursue the London program will receive separate guidelines at the beginning of the summer semester.
Please Note: The final presentation of work replaces the comprehensive examination. (Students admitted to the Media Science M.S. degree program after Fall 2022 will not have the comprehensive examination as an option for the culminating experience. The comprehensive exam will remain an option for students admitted prior to Fall 2022.)
For the thesis or professional project, students should begin their work in the second semester, however, and not wait for the fall. Those students participating in the London program will automatically declare intentions to fulfill this requirement through the professional project.
Please read the instructions below. More information will be provided once students declare their intentions early in the fall semester, but the department will be happy to answer questions via the form at the bottom of this page.
What does it mean to declare my intention?
The Mass Communication, Media Science, Advertising, and PR Department will invite eligible students to declare their intention to participate in a semester’s presentation (e.g., via Google form) during the first two weeks of each fall and spring semester. Email email@example.com if you did not receive this form and you plan to graduate.
Fall Semester Intention Deadline: October 1
Spring Semester Intention Deadline: February 15
The presentation requirements are as follows:
- Toward the end of every fall and spring semester, the Media Science section will hold presentation days on one Friday and one Saturday. Students who hope to graduate that semester will deliver a live 7-minute long presentation demonstrating their competence by responding to a prompt put forth by the Media Science faculty. A short Q&A (i.e., 3-minute maximum) will immediately follow the presentation.
- Students will upload their PowerPoint slides for the presentation on a designated
Blackboard site one week before their scheduled oral presentation. The PowerPoint is limited to 7 slides (plus one title slide) and can have no more than 20 words per slide and will utilize 30-point font or larger. The title slide must include the student’s name and presentation title.
- Each presentation must be developed and delivered individually by one student—and not by a group of students. Students are expected to complete this presentation, including development and delivery, on their own. Students may bring one 3X5 notecard. No reading of the presentation is allowed.
- Because the goal of the project is for students to demonstrate competency and
independent thought, students will complete the presentations with minimal advising from faculty members. While faculty may answer general questions to clarify instructions, processes, or supporting materials, they will not provide one-on-one counsel on specific presentations.
- A panel of two BU Media Science faculty members will judge the presentation and score it to arrive at a pass or fail grade for each student.
Logistics for Presentation Option
Intention: The Media Science section will invite eligible students to declare their
intention to participate in a semester’s presentation (e.g., via Google form) during the
first two weeks of each fall and spring semester, with a deadline to declare such
intentions by October 1 (for a Fall semester) or February 15 (for a Spring semester).
Ongoing Communication: Students who select the presentation option will be enrolled in a special Blackboard course where they can obtain information about the proposal process and presentation requirements—and can sign up for a presentation slot (e.g., via a link to Sign-Up Genius). Ongoing communication about presentations will take place via Blackboard (e.g., Blackboard announcements).
Exemplars of Completed Assignments as a Basis for Presentation: Students must
submit via Blackboard three completed and graded assignments from prior courses in
their M.S. in Media Science degree program. (At least two of these three assignments
must be individual assignments. Thus, a maximum of one assignment can be a group
assignment.) Of these three assignments, one must be from each of the following three course areas: 1) content creation (i.e., CM501 Design Strategy and Software, CM529 Design Strategy and Software II, CM703 Basic Media Writing, CM707 Writing for Media Professionals); 2) research methods (i.e., CM722 Communication Research
Methods, CM723 Advanced Communication Research, CM724 Sampling Design and Measurement Techniques); 3) theory (i.e., CM710 Media
The three representative assignments do not necessarily have to be the top grades that students earned in their M.S. degree program in Media Science, but they should be three assignments that students 1) feel they learned the most from and 2) can reflect upon as they embark on their professional career (or doctoral studies).
PowerPoint Slides: Students will submit via Blackboard the slides for their oral
presentations one week before their scheduled presentation day.
Sample Prompt for Students
With a basis in the three identified exemplar assignments from your M.S. in Media Science degree program, you should 1) identify what you learned in terms of content creation, research methods, and theory and 2) distill how these learning outcomes have prepared you for your professional (or doctoral
study) aspirations. Please address the following three stages in your presentation:
1.) Articulate in detail what you learned from each of the three main assignment areas. (What you learned in each of these three areas should constitute major themes of learning and should pertain to specific content-creation principles, specific research methods, and specific theories.)
2.) Articulate at least two overlapping themes in what you learned from these three main assignments (e.g., how content creation principles and theory inform message design; how theory and different research methods can help promote a brand, product, recommended behavior, or idea).
3.) Explain how these specific overlapping learning themes have prepared you for your professional (or doctoral study) aspirations.
Each student’s presentation will be evaluated by two full-time Media Science faculty members.
Each faculty member will give an overall grade of “pass” or “fail.” (These grades are final.) To pass the presentation, a student must receive grades of “pass” from both of these faculty members.
The two Media Science faculty members will evaluate student presentations on the following three criteria:
● Presentation Core
o Do the submitted exemplar assignments meet the requirements?
o Are the specific and overlapping learning themes pertinent to the exemplar
o Are the learning themes grounded by specific content creation principles, specific
research methods, and specific theories?
o How well—and how correctly—does the student explain and integrate the
specific and overlapping learning themes?
o Does the student provide a cogent explanation for how the specific overlapping learning themes prepare them for professional (or doctoral study) aspirations?
● Presentation Structure & Organization
o Do the slides fit the requirements?
o Is there a clear introduction, body, and conclusion to the presentation?
o Are the slides legible and grammatically correct?
o Is the presentation clear, coherent, and concise?
● Presentation (Spoken) Delivery
o How well does the student orally communicate with and engage the faculty
o How well does the student answer questions related to the presentation?
Comprehensive examination questions are of a general nature. That is, they do not
require you to memorize such matters as specific dates, percentages, or other minor details. They are designed to allow you to bring together in your answers your knowledge of concepts, principles, theories, and systematic understandings of the issues that you have studied in your coursework and other academic experiences in the Department.
The exam is separated into two sections. The questions for the morning session are designed to probe your command of how human communication works, how it is studied by researchers, the nature of the process and effects of mass communication, and foundation issues in your area of concentration. These are basic issues that should be understood by anyone working as a professional communicator. The afternoon sessions are devoted to the various professional areas of concentration. Usually, a “case history” of a problem in professional communication is posed and students are asked to provide an analysis of the situation described that shows how they would handle the issues. This permits students to show the examiners how well they have mastered the skills, strategies, concepts, and principles that are important in the field of concentration. Background material may be made available a day or so before the exam.
Grading: Every examination is graded by a committee of the faculty that teach in the areas covered by the questions. The test is graded on an anonymous basis. That is, great care is taken to ensure that those doing the grading do not know who wrote the answers.
Students who pursue the Summer London program will automatically complete a professional project. In addition, students have the option to complete an individual final professional project. This requires a formal proposal, faculty supervision, and two faculty readers. Students should initiate this process in their second semester by emailing the Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations Department for instructions.
Students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. program have the option to complete a thesis. This requires a formal proposal, faculty supervision, and two faculty readers. Students should initiate this process in their second semester by emailing the Mass Communication, Advertising, and Public Relations Department (firstname.lastname@example.org) for instructions.