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 in order to enroll in upper-division Communication Studies courses.

With advisor approval, up to 8 units of lower division transfer courses may be counted toward the major. A maximum of 8 units may be counted toward electives within the major, from any combination of Projects Teaching Communication (COMM 685), Internship (COMM 695), and/or Independent Study (COMM 699). None of these three courses, COMM 685, COMM 695, COMM 699 can be repeated for credit in the major. Any course that is used to fulfill the GE Areas A and B4 requirements (formerly GE Segment I) cannot be counted within the major; however, COMM 150 and ENG 214, or equivalent courses, must be completed as prerequisites to enrollment in any upper-division course in the Communication Studies major.

Communication Studies (B.A.) — 40 units

Introductory Courses (6 units)

Select two of the following:
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 of the following:
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)

Select two of the following:
COMM 502Interpersonal Communication4
COMM 503Gender and Communication4
COMM 504Communication and Masculinities4
COMM 515Family Communication4
COMM 522Organizational Communication4
COMM 525Sexual Identity 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)

Select two of the following:
COMM 551Persuasion4
COMM 552Women and Words4
COMM 553Oral Interpretation of the First Person Voice4
COMM 554Oral Interpretation 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 the Environment4
COMM 573The Rhetoric of Criminality and Punishment4
COMM 590Advanced Performance Study4

Communication Inquiry (4 units)

Select one of the following:
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)

Students may select any 8 units of upper-division COMM courses if their corresponding. Students may only apply up to 4 units for each course in the major though some courses are repeatable for credit toward Unversity electives. Note: All upper-division COMM courses may be used as electives if their corresponding area above is met with other courses. 

COMM 368Forensics2
COMM 685Projects in the Teaching of Communication1-4
COMM 695Internship/Service Learning in Communication Studies4
COMM 699Independent Study1-4

Senior Seminar  (2 units)

COMM 670Seminar in Communication Studies2

Complementary Studies

Bachelor of Arts students must complete at least 12 units of complementary studies 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 completion of 12 units from one of the following:

  • Partial completion of a second major, minor, or certificate in courses other than COMM, and not cross-listed with 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.)
  • In one subject (prefix) other than COMM and not cross-listed with COMM.

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 in order 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
Written English Communication II LD 3 A4
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
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Humanities: Literature LD 3 C3
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Governement LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD or UD 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), in a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities (AERM) LD or UD 3
Environmental Sustainability (ES) LD or UD 3
Global Perspectives (GP) LD or UD 3
Social Justice (SJ) LD or UD 3

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

First Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

This roadmap opens in a new tab.

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in Communication Studies. 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 includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. 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 and displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on 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
    • a 2nd-semester course in written English composition

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit 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, including 2nd-semester composition;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 units/90 quarters 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 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 in order 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 (GE 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

Identify and complete a 2nd-semester written English composition course before transfer. This is usually the next course after the typical “freshman comp” course, with a focus on writing, reading and critical analytical skills for academic purposes, and developing skills in composing, revising, and the use of rhetorical strategies.

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 2.00 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, with intermediate algebra as a prerequisite (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.