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Dual BA and MCIS Degree for Communication Majors

How the Dual Degree Works

  • You apply for the MCIS Program in your Junior or Senior Year as a Communication Major at RU
  • If accepted, you then can plan a course of study that will enable you to take UP TO four MCIS courses and count them towards your 300/400 Communication major requirements
  • You will pay undergraduate tuition rates for the MCIS courses (must be taken in Fall or Spring semesters only)
  • Once you fulfill your undergraduate degree requirements you graduate from that program and then would be considered full-time MCIS
  • You may complete your Mastes degree with MCIS within a few semesters (of full-time study) or at your own pace as you work full-time.  You can complete the MCIS degree in evenings.

How to Prepare to Enter the Dual Degree Program

  • By the END of your Junior Year as a Communication Major you should have completed the six required courses and one upper level elective for the major. HOWEVER, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO COMPLETE THESE PRIOR TO APPLYING TO THE MCIS DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM.
    • 189:101- Intro to Comm & Info Proc.
    • 189:102 Intro to Media Systems and Proc. or 103 Info Technology Infomaticss
    • 192:200 Comm Theory
    • 192:201 Interpersonal Comm Proc
    • 192:300 Comm Research
    • 192:354 Mediated Comm Theory or 355 Interpersonal Comm or 357 Org Comm or 359 Persuasive Comm
    • One elective course at the 192:300 or 400 level

Applying to the Program

  • In your junior or early in your senior year you should apply to the MCIS program through Graduate Admissions at:
  • You will need to submit all the materials listed under "Admissions" on this Website (personal statement, three letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Exam scores, Rutgers transcripts) Learn more about the Graduate Record Exam at:
  • You may apply at any time during the year. Once all your application materials are complete, your application can be reviewed for acceptance.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE COMPLETED THE ABOVE LIST OF COURSES TO APPLY TO THE DUAL DEGREE. THOSE ARE COURSES YOU SHOULD COMPLETE BEFORE TAKING MCIS COURSES.
  • The MCIS program is selective in accepting students.  To enhance your chances of being accepted, you should ask for letters of recommendation from professors in the Communication department.

Next Steps After Admission

  • You will be advised by the MCIS Director regarding your progress in the MCIS program.
  • Take UP TO two MCIS courses per semester.  You might also take only one MCIS course in a semester if you have not yet finished all your Major requirements (listed above).  You SHOULD NOT TAKE ANY MCIS COURSE UNTIL YOU"VE COMPLETED COMM 300.
  • Your MCIS courses will double-count in satisfying upper division (300/400 level) Communication Elective Requirements and MCIS requirements.
  • Fall Semester Courses you could take in MCIS
    • MCIS 510 (Communication and Society)
    • MCIS 530 (Independent Study)  You would take an UG upper division (400 level) course but take it for masters-level credit. The instructor would have you do additional work beyond that required of the other students in the course.
    • Any MCIS Elective that is NOT cross-listed with Ph.D.
  • Spring Semester Courses you could take in MCIS
    • MCIS 511 (Organizational Communication)
    • MCIS 512 (Mediated Communication
    • Any MCIS Elective that is NOT cross-listed with Ph.D.

 Taking MCIS Courses

  • Masters level work is graduate work.  This means that you will be involved in your learning in ways that are less common in undergraduate work. You will be asked to do more reading than is typical of undergraduate courses; read faster; and come ready to really discuss the readings in class. You will do advanced study of theory and read original research pieces.
  • You will be in class with working professionals as well as masters level students who are a year or two ahead of you. Our MCIS students come to us from around the region, the country, and outside of the U.S.  A real benefit of the program is exposure to the real-life working examples and experiences of many of our students.
  • You will find that masters level courses require you to apply your learning and develop your own points of view more than is typical of undergraduate coursework.  You will not take many, if any, exams.  You will be assessed on participation in class discussions, short papers, presentations, and lengthier project papers.
  • You will be invited to participate in academic events and presentations as part of your learning experience.
  • You will be a part of the MCIS Student Organization (MCIS GSA) and invited to social events, networking events, and presentations.

Important Differences Between Graduate and Undergraduate Courses

  • Graduate courses usually meet once per week. It is absolutely essential that you make ever class meeting.
  • Your participation in discussion is a very important part of your learning and is usually assessed in graduate courses as a major portion of your grade.
  • Classes do meet during finals week for presentations and other activities.
  • Graduate courses will stretch you in new ways, so expect to be challenged.

Grading in the Dual Degree Program

  • There is a different grading scale in graduate work. Grades that can be awarded are: A, B+, B, C+, C, F.
  • Grades in graduate school are very different than in undergraduate programs in the sense that most students are earning As and Bs.  C+ or C grades are considered a "red flag" grade and can result in probation.
  • The standards for achieving an A or a B in a graduate course (even as a Dual Degree Student) are likely to be slightly more demanding (e.g., 92% for an A).
  • Grades you earn in the JD program are factored into your GPA the same as your undergraduate grades.
  • Graduate students focus more on the learning than on the points and grades.  To transition into graduate work it is important to start thinking in these terms.  How can you improve your mastery of material? How can you gain more useful insight into the topic/ readings?  What could you do to enhance your ability to apply the theory and research you are reading? These are important questions and should dominate your thinking in terms of the evaluation of your course performance.

Substituting Undergraduate Major Courses for MCIS Courses of the Same/Similar Topic

  • You can take MCIS courses listed above as well as any MCIS elective course (these cannot be cross-listed with Ph.D. courses) once you are admitted to MCIS (up to four courses).  However, the content of a masters level course will be more advanced than the same course at the 300 or 400 level.  It may be beneficial for you to have an introduction to course material at the 300 or 400 level and then take the MCIS course covering the same topic.
  • Once admitted to the MCIS program you should visit with the MCIS Director to seek advice about which courses to take given your goals and background.
  • It is not wise to plan your Junior year courses around the assumption that you will be admitted to the MCIS program. You should move through your Junior year completing all major requirements. Then, if you are admitted to MCIS program you can plan your coursework from that point on.

Can I Apply for a Johnson & Johnson Fellowship as a Dual Degree Student?

  • Yes, you can apply to be a Fellow. You cannot start a fellowship until you are a full-time MCIS student.
  • You can read about the J&J Fellowships on the "Fellowship" page on this website.

MCIS Contacts:

  • The MCIS Director, Rick Dool (, is the first point of contact for questions about MCIS.
  • Your Undergraduate Communication Advisor can best advise you about completing your undergraduate degree requirement.