Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

Requirements for the Major

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies must complete a 40 unit program consisting of 6 units of lower-division courses at the 100 or 200-level or equivalent courses from a transfer institution, one 4 unit GWAR course, 8 upper-division units in Rhetorical and Performative Communication, 8 upper-division units in Social Context and Interaction in Communication, 8 elective units in Communication Studies with a COMM prefix, 4 units in Communication Inquiry, and a 2 unit Senior Seminar in Communication Studies, taken in the last semester.  

Students must successfully complete a GWAR (Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement) class to enroll in upper-division Communication Studies courses.

The major includes 8 units of electives. With advisor approval, up to 2 units of lower-division courses may be counted in the electives that were not otherwise counted in the major. Similarly, upper-division courses in Communication Studies not otherwise counted in the major may be counted in electives. Any combination of Projects in the Teaching of Communication (COMM 685), Internship in Communication Studies (COMM 695), and Independent Study (COMM 699) may be used in the electives, but none of these three courses can be repeated for credit in the major. Any course that is used to fulfill the GE Areas A or B4 requirements cannot be counted within the major; however, Fundamentals of Oral Communication (COMM 150) and GE Area A2, or equivalent courses, must be completed as prerequisites to enrollment in any upper-division course in the Communication Studies major.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate and use appropriate theories to analyze communication in a way that is methodologically consistent in paradigm and context.
  2. Articulate ethical standards and be disposed to engage in ethical practice within specific communication contexts.
  3. Apply course material to aspects of their personal life, social life, and their local communities (e.g., delivering public speeches, performances, or other community-focused discourse, even if that delivery happens only in the classroom).
  4. Read critically and evaluate appropriately original scholarship in the discipline.

Communication Studies (B.A.) — 40 units

Introductory Courses (6 units)

Select two:
COMM 120Language, Culture, and Power3
COMM 220Introduction to the Performance of Literature3
COMM 230Introduction to Argumentation and Debate3
COMM 240Introduction to Nonverbal Communication3
COMM 250Introduction to Group Discussion and Teamwork3

Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) (4 units)

Select one:
COMM 304GWWriting About Communication and Masculinities - GWAR4
COMM 312GWWriting About Interpersonal Communication - GWAR4
COMM 321GWWriting About Communication Theory - GWAR4
COMM 322GWWriting About Organizational Communication - GWAR4
COMM 334GWWriting About Mediation - GWAR4
COMM 344GWWriting About Popular Media - GWAR4
COMM 348GWWriting About Environmental Rhetoric - GWAR4
COMM 361GWWriting About Social Semiotics - GWAR4
COMM 362GWWriting About Discourse in Interaction - GWAR4

Social Contexts and Interaction in Communication (8 units)

COMM 403Transgender Communication Studies2
COMM 442Dialogue Facilitation Practicum2
COMM 502Interpersonal Communication4
COMM 503Gender and Communication4
COMM 504Communication and Masculinities4
COMM 515Family Communication4
COMM 522Organizational Communication4
COMM 525Sexualities and Communication4
COMM 527Health Communication4
COMM 531Conflict Resolution4
COMM 533Communication and Empowerment in Organizations4
COMM 534Mediation Theory and Practice4
COMM 537Leadership Communication4
COMM 538Discourse in Interaction4
COMM 541Critical Approaches to Culture and Communication4
COMM 543Dialogues Across Differences4
COMM 544Communication and Aging4

Rhetoric and Performance in Communication (8 units)

COMM 450Variable Topics in Rhetoric and Performance2
COMM 551Persuasion4
COMM 552Performance and Feminism4
COMM 553Performance and Identity4
COMM 554Performance of Children's Literature4
COMM 555Ensemble Performance Workshop4
COMM 556Performance Art: Aesthetic Communication Criticism4
COMM 559Theory and Practice in Advanced Public Speaking4
COMM 560Political Communication4
COMM 561Social Semiotics4
COMM 564Issues in Free Speech4
COMM 565Rhetorical Theory4
COMM 566Communication and Social Process4
COMM 570Human Communication and New Technologies4
COMM 571The Rhetoric of Terrorism4
COMM 572Rhetoric of Ecology4
COMM 573The Rhetoric of Criminality and Punishment4
COMM 590Advanced Performance Study4

Communication Inquiry (4 units)

Select one:
COMM 661Quantitative Methods in Communication4
COMM 662Critical and Rhetorical Methods in Communication4
COMM 663Performative Methods in Communication4
COMM 664LSI Methods in Communication4

Electives (8 units)

Select from any upper-division COMM course not already used to fulfill the degree requirements above.

Senior Seminar  (2 units)

COMM 670Seminar in Communication Studies2

Complementary Studies

Bachelor of Arts students must complete at least 12 units of complementary studies in a specific area outside of the primary prefix for the major. (Note: Students may not use an alternate prefix that is cross-listed with the primary prefix for the major.)

Students who complete two majors or a major and a minor automatically complete the complementary studies requirement. Additional ways to complete complementary studies for students in the communication studies major is the completion of 12 units from one of the following:

  • In one subject (prefix) other than COMM and not cross-listed with COMM.
  • Partial completion of a second major, minor, or certificate in courses other than COMM, and not cross-listed with COMM. This could include completing an Associate of Arts degree in a discipline outside of COMM.
  • A single language other than English.
  • A CSU or SF State supported study abroad program. (With advisor approval, some or all of the units taken as part of study abroad may be counted toward units in the major.)

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Government LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

Find the correct roadmap (A, B, C, or D):

  1. Select the row that matches your English Course choice for A2.*
  2. Select the column that matches your QR Category (found at your student center under Math Alert).
  3. Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.

For example, if you are taking ENG 104 as your first English course and your student center math alert says you are QR Category III, you should choose Roadmap D.

Pathway QR Cat I/II QR Cat III/IV
ENG 114 Roadmap A Roadmap C
ENG 104/ENG 105 Roadmap B Roadmap D

*Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 204 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in Communication Studies. This roadmap opens in a new tab.

SF State Scholars Roadmap

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

This roadmap opens in a new tab.

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Communication Studies

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All Students Must Meet the Transfer Eligibility Requirements Outlined Below for Admission.

For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units.
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.0 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  • Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of General Education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course.