University of Alabama Tuscaloosa

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Updated August 7, 2020

The University of Alabama is the state's oldest public university. The school began in 1818 when the federal government authorized the Alabama Territory to establish a seminary of learning. President James Monroe signed the act that made Alabama a state in 1819 and the seminary was official established in 1820 as the University of the State of Alabama in the state capital of Tuscaloosa. The school opened officially in 1831 with 52 students. There were seven buildings that included faculty houses, dormitories, a laboratory and a hotel, now known as Gorgas House. The Rotunda was also part of the first campus.

The University of Alabama was the first to offer engineering classes and one of the first five in the United States. The university became a military school in 1860 and, in 1865, Union troops burned the majority of the campus buildings. Only the President's Mansion and its outbuildings, Gorgas House, the Roundhouse and the Observatory were among the few buildings spared.

In 1871, the University of Alabama reopened during the Reconstruction Era with a reorganized system. The first female students were enrolled at the university in 1893 and the school abandoned the military system in 1903. In 1956, Autherine J. Lucy became the first African American student to attend the university, but she was expelled three days later "for her own safety" after she was threatened by a mob. In 1992, Autherine graduated from the university with a master's degree in education, the same day her daughter Grazia Foster, graduated with a degree in corporate finance. Vivian Malone and James Hood, both African American, were admitted in 1963. Ms. Malone graduated in 1965 and Mr. Hood returned in 1995 and earned a doctorate degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Today, there are more than 37,000 students enrolled at the university. The School of Law ranks 9th nationally and the School of Library and Information Studies ranks 25th. The university is ranked 46th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The school has produced 51 Goldwater Scholars, 15 Rhodes Scholars, 16 Truman Scholars and 32 Hollings Scholars.

University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Accreditation Details

The University of Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Schools with SACSCOC accreditation are recognized as learning institutions, indicating that a diploma earned at the school surpasses minimum requirements for education. In addition, specific programs at the university may be accredited by industry organizations and associations.

University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Admission Requirements

Students who have not earned college credit beyond high school are considered Freshmen at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa. They must complete an application for admission and pay the applicable admission fee. Students must provide official ACT or SAT scores as well as official high school transcripts.

Transfer students are those who have earned college credit beyond high school They must complete an application for admission and pay the applicable fee. Students who have earned less than 24 semester hours at the time of application must also submit official high school transcripts as well as ACT or SAT scores. They must also submit official transcripts from every college or university attended.

Graduate students must complete an application and pay the application fee. Students must have earned a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university or college before applying. Students must submit a statement of purpose, resume and contact information for three people who will provide recommendations. Some programs may require admission test scores as well. Students must provide official transcripts unless they earned their undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama.

University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition for Alabama residents is $795 per credit hour and $1,550 for non-residents. Graduate tuition is $820 per credit hour for Alabama residents and $1,640 for non-residents.

Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs. Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be eligible for any financial aid. Financial advisors are available to meet with students regarding aid options. All students who receive financial aid are required to make satisfactory academic progress toward degree completion.

University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Degree Program(s) Available

Master's in Communication Studies

The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program is a 30-hour field of study that is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary for leadership roles in the field of human communication. Students are able to analyze, manage and assess strategic communication in oral, written and visual forms. Students are able to pursue the degree with one of three options:

  • Academic – Designed for students who wish to fulfill teaching requirements in communication studies or want to pursue advanced degrees. Students must complete a comprehensive examination to demonstrate proficient knowledge.
  • Research – Designed for students who plan to pursue advanced degrees. Students must complete an original thesis project.
  • Professional – Designed for students who plan to enter a professional communication career. Students must complete an internship or professional project and submit a final capstone portfolio. This option is available in a completely online format.

Courses that may be required for the program include:

  • African American Rhetoric
  • Classical Rhetorical Theory
  • Communication and Diversity
  • Communication and Gender
  • Conflict and Negotiation
  • Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
  • Gender and Political Communication
  • Group Leadership
  • Human Communication Theory
  • Independent Study
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Introduction to Graduate Studies
  • Introduction to Teaching Public Speaking
  • Organizational Assessment and Intervention
  • Political Communication
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Relational Communication
  • Seminar in Organizational Communication
  • Seminar in Rhetorical Criticism
  • Seminar: Public Address
  • Technology, Culture and Human Communication
  • Theories of Persuasion

This program requires official GRE or MAT test scores be provided as part of the application as well as the submission of three names for references. The statement of purpose must describe experiences, interests, activities and achievements that have shaped personal aspirations as well as goals and reasons for pursuing the master's degree.

Related Resource: 30 Top Affordable Online Master's in Communication

The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa has been an accredited university for over 100 years. The university offers programs designed to help individuals move into a new career or advance in a current career. Many programs are available in online formats that allow adult learners to achieve either higher education goals despite work, family or social obligations that may make it difficult to attend traditional classes at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa.

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