"Be curious and share."
-Professor Tim Cole, Relational Communication Program Director
On the MA in Relational Communication Program
The Relational Communication program
provides students with the knowledge and skills to manage
interdependent relationships, in both their personal and professional
lives. We cover a wide range of theories and concepts that help students
understand how to effectively interact with others in order to achieve
their goals. Some of the topics addressed include how to resolve
conflict, solve problems, give feedback, express emotions and foster
intimacy, just to name a few. The program is not designed for a specific
career; rather it provides knowledge and skills that are critical
across one’s lifespan and multiple careers.
On the Type of Student Relational Communication Seeks
The most important factor in determining the quality of one’s life
deals with how individuals manage their close relationships. Managing
interpersonal relationships is also extremely difficult to do. We seek
out students who are curious and want to learn more about how to deal
with one of life’s most basic questions; that is, how can we best relate
to each other in ways that create mutually beneficial outcomes?
Humans, by nature, are
highly social creatures. We are looking for students who want to
explore in detail how our social and personal relationships
work. Regardless of one’s career choice, research consistently shows
that individuals who have strong interpersonal skills are highly
effective across a wide variety of contexts. Our program is unique in
that we provide extensive and detailed knowledge about fundamental
interpersonal processes that can be immediately applied in a personal,
professional, and/or community setting.
Why our Program is a Unique Place to Study Relational Communication
Students in the program engage the course material in a wide
variety of ways, including seminars, class discussions,
self-assessments, collaborative projects, presentations, and individual
Our program provides
students who are interested in a career in academia with courses in
instructional development, as well as opportunities to do research and
teaching. Our program also prepares students with the knowledge and
skills necessary to excel in careers where interpersonal relationships are critical for success, careers such as management, consulting, marketing, sales, human relations, training and development.
The key strengths of our program are the quality of the faculty
and our commitment to our students. The faculty in the program are
knowledgeable and passionate about the subjects they teach. The faculty
also enjoy working with students both in and outside of the classroom.
What Drew Professor Cole to the Discipline?
As an undergraduate I decided to take a class on human
communication because it fit my schedule. That course would change my
life. I was an engineering major at the time. Engineering seemed like a
perfect fit; as a child I always had to understand how things
worked. But in that first communication course, I encountered the
biggest puzzle of all: How do our relationships work? Because of that
course, not only did I change my major, but I eventually earned a PhD in interpersonal communication and have spent the past two decades doing
research on close relationships. Best of all, I now get to teach the
course that so captured my interest as a student all those years ago.
My primary interests
deal with how individuals form attachments, manage interdependence, and
how evolutionary processes have shaped how we relate to each other.
Why Do You Teach at DePaul?
I love working at DePaul because it of its culture; it is a
fast-paced and highly innovative institution. We are constantly updating
the curriculum and trying new approaches to teaching. I feel like I
have had several careers, despite working at one institution, because
DePaul is constantly on the move.
What Makes Chicago a Special City to You?
The lakefront, my neighborhood feels like a small community, and being in a diverse and pedestrian friendly city.