Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Admission to Program

The requirements for admission are an undergraduate major in communication, a 3.0 or better upper division grade point average, scores on the General Graduate Record Examination, and two letters of reference. Applicants not meeting these criteria may be eligible for conditional admission. Conditions may vary from completing 4 to 16 units of approved undergraduate courses in communication studies to earning a B or better in the initial three graduate courses, including COMM 700. None of the undergraduate units used in fulfilling prerequisites for advancement to classified status may be counted toward the satisfaction of course requirements in the graduate program. Letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the graduate coordinator in the department: Dr. Javon Johnson.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. ​Graduates of our program will emphasize social justice and ethical perspectives by:
    Reading, evaluating and synthesizing primary scholarship.
  2. Applying, critiquing, and/or extending communication focused theory and scholarship.
  3. Actively engaging in, reflecting upon and analyzing communication processes in their local and/or global communities.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

Students must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) analytical writing test prior to applying for admission to the program. Students who achieve a score of 4.0 or higher will have passed the first level graduate writing requirement. Students who achieve a score below 4.0 on the GRE writing test may still be considered for admission to the program, based on the rest of their application materials, but will be required to retake the GRE or complete a department approved writing skills course (conditional admission) before meeting the first level writing requirement.

Level Two

Satisfactory completion of a master's thesis or written comprehensive examination or a creative project.

Upper-division courses the department offers may be considered, upon approval of the graduate advisor, except public performance courses.

Communication Studies – Graduate Studies Mission Statement

We invite students into a life of scholarly inquiry and engaged citizenship with a focus on social justice. We use multiple approaches for the advanced study of communication processes to understand complex human problems and discern ethical choices in local and global communities. Our program prepares students for diverse careers that benefit from advanced training in communication including teaching and careers in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.

Communication Studies (M.A.) — Minimum 35 units

Core Requirements (8 units)

COMM 700Introduction to Graduate Study4
Select one:4
Multiple Methods in Communication Research
Field Research Strategies
Research Strategies in Language and Social Interaction

Graduate Seminars (16 units)

Selected on advisement. Must be from COMM 700 to COMM 797.

Electives (8 units)

Selected on advisement.

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Select one:
COMM 894Creative Work Project3
COMM 896
Culminating Experience Examination
and Directed Readings in Communication Studies
COMM 898Master's Thesis3

Note: No more than 8 units may be from upper-division courses regardless of department; no more than 8 units, graduate or undergraduate, may be from an allied department; and no more than 8 units may be in any combination of:

COMM 850Teaching Communication4
COMM 851Internship in Teaching Communication2
COMM 852Supervision of Teaching Communication1
COMM 885Graduate Projects in the Teaching of Communication4
COMM 899Independent Study for Investigation in Communication Studies1-4

No more than 4 units may be listed on the ATC for any combination of COMM 851, COMM 852, and ​COMM 885.

Master's Thesis or Creative Work Project

Each candidate who selects the option of a Master's Thesis or Creative Work Project must submit a written proposal for approval and complete the department's Description of Proposed Culminating Experience form. After the proposal is approved and a supervising committee of two or more faculty members is established, the Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement form is signed and filed in the Division of Graduate Studies office. Following the candidate’s successful oral defense of the completed thesis or creative work project, a Final Report of Completion for the Culminating Experience is signed and filed in the Division of Graduate Studies.

Master's Written Comprehensive Examination

Each candidate who selects the option of Master's Written Comprehensive Examination must establish a three-member faculty committee and complete the department's Description of Proposed Culminating Experience form. Next, the Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement form must be signed and filed in the Division of Graduate Studies. The candidate then enrolls in COMM 896 to prepare for the examination and COMM 896EXM and completes the examination.