Dual Degree in Human Services and Communication and Leadership

This program provides students with a BS degree in Human Services and a MS degree in Communication & Leadership.  Officially, this is a 4+1 program that allows students to graduate with the BS after 4 years and the MS after a 5th year, because the student begins taking graduate courses in the undergraduate senior year.

The MS in Communication and Leadership program carries out the essence of the college mission and goals: transformative learning experiences, engagement in service learning, and values core to the Jesuit mission of service for others. The foundation of the curriculum is theory that provides the framework from which students apply practical experience through course work projects, learning partnerships in the community and research papers. The student experience is grounded in the Jesuit ideal of “men and women for others.” Course learning moves beyond the classroom by partnering with external organizations to create projects that apply concepts learned in the classroom. The Managing Not for Profit Organizations concentration has project based experiences requiring the application of course content and theory into practice service based projects (AKA transformative learning experiences).

4+1 Program Highlights

  • Ability to earn a MS degree in half the time
  • Cost effective save on overall tuition costs
  • Students eligible for financial aid in their senior year
  • Maintain continuity with faculty and Canisius College
  • Increase your earning potential with a graduate degree
  • Receive the same coursework as the two-year students
  • Gain a competitive edge in the marketplace and increase your earning potential
  • Theory to practice focus –service to community nonprofits as you learn

Basics of the Program:

The M.S in Communication and Leadership 4+1 program works in conjunction with the undergraduate BS in Human Services Program. Students graduate with their Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and their Master’s degree in Communication and Leadership with a concentration in Managing Not-for-Profit Organizations in just 5 years.

The Communication and Leadership program is designed to address how communicative behaviors create and alter organizational processes and how organizations in which individuals interact affect communicative behaviors. Persuasion and other communication skills are strong predictors of performance, often more significant than both intelligence and personality traits.

Mission Statement:

In keeping with the Jesuit tradition and the Canisius mission and goals, the MS graduate program in Communication and Leadership provides quality education with a strong commitment to academic excellence. We work to create opportunities for personal growth experiences. Such an environment actively engages faculty and students in the continuous process of teaching, learning and service to others. The Communication and Leadership curriculum encourages critical thinking and intellectual growth within a spiritual, moral and ethical frame.

Academic Excellence
The faculty in the Communication and Leadership program are committed to academic excellence, providing students with a quality education and creating personal growth opportunities.
Care of the Individual
Small class sizes facilitate an environment in which a dedicated faculty maintains focus on individual needs in order to attain success.
Expert Faculty
A combination of respected academics and recognized business professionals as adjuncts provides each student with the maximum learning experience.
Canisius Network
Alumni are devoted to the success of Canisius and its students while the college focuses on continuing to develop strong relationships with classmates, faculty and administration.


Application to graduate program director by spring of junior year undergraduate. Students must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher to apply to the program, a GPA of 3.2 or higher waives GRE requirement to enter program.

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in the program.

Prospective students must be a student in the Human Services baccalaureate degree program, entering their senior year in order to be eligible for the 4+1 admittance. The BS in Human Services must be the student’s major field of study, and must present evidence of their qualifications to participate fully in a graduate level endeavor. The Admissions Committee evaluates applicants on the basis of academic records with a minimum undergraduate GPA 3.0, scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), professional accomplishments and subjective appraisal of motivation and the likelihood of successful program completion.

To qualify for admission, the student needs the following:       

  • Application for admission to the 4+1 program, to the program director, by March 15 of the junior year of undergraduate studies in the BS in Human Services program.
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Proof of successful completion of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, regardless of major field of study


  • For international students or for applicants whose native language is not English, a completed TOEFL examination or IELTS exam is required (as well as the appropriate undergraduate credentials).

The Admissions Committee recognizes that an applicant’s background and experience may enhance the ability to succeed in this program. Those individuals who wish to have these experiences considered in the admission decision may submit letters of reference and/or information pertaining to such experience with the application form.
The Admissions Committee recognizes that some applicants may wish to begin the program prior to taking the GMAT or GRE. A program candidate whose QPA is 3.00 or higher may be admitted to the program as a provisionally accepted student for one academic semester. A student may take no more than nine semester hours of course work on a provisional basis. Candidates may also be accepted as a non-matriculating student eligible to complete nine credit hours of course work.

In order to apply, applicants need to complete an application form, have their GMAT, GRE and TOEFL scores or IELTS scores if applicant is an international student forwarded from the testing service, provide two official transcripts of all college work, write a brief essay describing their interest in the Communication and Leadership program, and submit such other information as requested by the Graduate Admissions Office.

Eligible students will begin coursework in the fall of their Senior year of study. Students will need to enroll in summer classes to complete the program within a year after completing their undergraduate studies.

Academic Standards

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average (a B average) to remain in good standing.

Students must be in good standing with a 3.0 cumulative average to be eligible to take the capstone course.

To receive the MS degree in Communication and Leadership, students must maintain a 3.0 QPA.

Any student receiving less than a C+ grade in two or more courses will be dismissed from the program.

Academic Probation

A student is placed on academic probation if:

  • After completion of nine hours of course work, the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below a 2.7.


  • Any time after completion of nine or more hours of course work, the cumulative grade point average is less than 3.0.

A student may not be placed on academic probation more than twice.

A student may be dismissed from the program if:

  • After completion of six hours of course work subsequent to being placed on academic probation, the cumulative grade point average is less than 3.0.


  • After completion of a second semester on academic probation, the student fails to meet the minimum QPA of 3.0. Two semester of academic probation include both consecutive and non-consecutive semesters.

All students must:

  • Meet the requirements stated in the graduate handbook for entry into the program.
  • Assume the responsibility of acquainting themselves with all requirements pertaining to the program of study and adhering to them.
  • Assume the responsibility of being familiar with their academic standing and the consequences connected to academic policy and procedures.

NOTE: For the purpose of these policies, an average, which includes all graduate coursework, is computed according to the values listed in the Academic Procedures section.

MS in Communication and Leadership with Concentration in Managing Not-for-Profit Organizations
Leaders in not-for-profit organizations must meet the challenges of fundraising, long-range planning and development in a time where competition for resources is increasing. This concentration blends theory and practice to promote learning.

  • Students will work with not for profit organizations in collaborative partnerships.

  • Some examples of partnering organizations are: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, Buffalo Museum of Science, Vocalis Chamber Choir, Frank Lloyd Wright Fontana, Save the Michaels of the World, and the Niagara Aquarium.

Required Core Courses
COM 602Organizational Communication3
COM 604Persuasion and Social Influence3
COM 610Leadership3
COM 605Research Methods: Measurement and Analysis (fall only, last year of coursework)3
MBA 502Leadership in Organizational Behavior (prerequisite for all other MBA courses)3
COM 699Capstone Project (spring only, last semester of coursework; )3
Not-for-Profit Concentration
COM 615Partnerships and the Not-for-Profit Organization3
COM 616Fund Raising and Development at Not-for-Profit Organizations3
COM 618Seminar: Special Topics and Not-for-Profit Organizations3
COM 621Integrated Marketing Communication3

Learning Goals & Objectives

Learning Goal 1

Students will develop a capacity for thinking critically about leadership behaviors and understanding how leadership theories relate to life.

Students will:
  • Objective A:  Demonstrate knowledge of classical and contemporary theories of leadership and demonstrate the application of these theories to everyday life.

Learning Goal 2

Students will enhance their understanding of the communication process and be able to construct effective messages.

Students will:
  • Objective A:  Demonstrate communication competency in written format;
  • Objective B: Demonstrate communication competency in oral format;
  • Objective C:  Demonstrate an understanding of communication theory;
  • Objective D: Connect communication theory to everyday practice.

Learning Goal 3

Students will develop enhanced critical thinking skills.

Students will:
  • Objective A:  Synthesize a body of knowledge in the communication field and illustrate an understanding of that body of knowledge;
  • Objective B: Design a new area of inquiry based on a body of communication research;
  • Objective C: Analyze communication research; make inferences about the analysis using supporting evidence;
  • Objective D: Apply knowledge by judging the value of the information.