Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Requirements (51-55 units)

The M.A. in Communication Studies is designed for students who wish to advance from this degree to further graduate work and for those wishing to apply advanced communication perspectives, methodologies, and competencies in their careers. This program is unique in its distinct intercultural orientation, cultivating an understanding of national, racial, ethnic, gender and other cultural differences in a wide range of communication settings and activities. Students are encouraged to develop focused programs of study (e.g., organizational communication, media studies, communication education). Whatever focus the student may achieve, however, will be contextualized by an understanding and application of intercultural communication theory and practice.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must fulfill all the general requirements for admission to graduate studies at this university. All students must meet the Graduate Entrance Writing Requirement. The department welcomes applications from international students and advises them that the Department of Communication Studies has its own requirements regarding the TOEFL (see D. below). To be admitted to the graduate program in Communication Studies:

  1. The applicant must send to the Graduate Admissions Office (in addition to all other required materials):
    1. Three letters of recommendation attesting to academic aptitude and accomplishments;
    2. A one-page essay describing the role the applicant sees the M.A. in Communication Studies playing in accomplishing his or her life/career goals.
      Note: If the applicant wishes to be considered for a Graduate Teaching Associateship, the applicant must submit
      1. a curriculum vitae or resume and
      2. a one-page statement of intent outlining qualifications along with the other application material.
  2. The applicant must have completed the undergraduate work specified below:
    1. The equivalent of 12 quarter units of the following courses, or their equivalents: COMM 304, COMM 306, COMM 400;
    2.  Applicants for the Integrated Marketing Track must complete COMM 341 or its equivalent;
  3. Complete ONE of the following research methods courses: COMM 400 or MKTG 416 (Note: COMM 400 may be included in the 12 units communication coursework, but MKTG 416 may not).
  4. The applicant must have earned an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 overall and/or 3.0 for the last 90 quarter units (60 semester units) of undergraduate work.
  5. International students must have received a TOEFL score of 575 (computer-based score of 233 or internet-based score of 89) or higher.

Successful applicants are admitted to the program as conditionally classified graduate students. Advancement to classified status is conditional upon the completion of all prerequisites, as well as completion (after admission) of one of the following courses with a grade of "B-":

COMM 600Introduction to Graduate Study4
COMM 605Introduction to Graduate Studies in Integrated Marketing Communication4

Advancement to Candidacy

  1. During the first quarter of enrollment, the student shall, with the consent of the faculty member chosen and the approval of the graduate coordinator, select an advisor.
  2. Prior to completion of 16 units, the student and advisor shall form the student's graduate advisory committee. The committee shall consist of the advisor and two faculty members, one of whom may be from a related discipline. The committee shall function to:
    1. approve the student's program of study;
    2. compose and evaluate the student's comprehensive examination (if applicable); and
    3. evaluate and approve the student's thesis or project (if applicable).
  3. Upon establishing the committee, and prior to completion of 20 units, the student shall forward for the committee's approval a program of study listing course work to be taken and the capstone experience chosen to complete the degree.
  4. Upon approval of the plan by the advisory committee, the program of study shall be sent to the graduate coordinator for departmental approval resulting in advancement to candidacy.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. Students must complete an approved program of 47 to 50 units with an overall grade point average of 3.0.
  2. Students must receive a "B-" or higher in all required courses;
  3. No more than 8 units at the 500 level or below may count towards the degree;
  4. No course may be counted for which a grade of "C-" or less was received.
  5. The student is responsible for fulfilling all other requirements for graduation established by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Degree Requirements (51-55 units)

Communication Studies Track (51 units) (Program Code: COMS)

Note: Students must receive a grade of "B-" or higher in all required courses.

COMM 600Introduction to Graduate Study4
COMM 602Quantitative Research Methods in Communication Studies4
COMM 603Qualitative Research Methods in Communication4
COMM 685Thesis or Project Proposal/Comprehensive Examination Preparation2
Electives:32
The student shall, with the advice and approval of the advisory committee and the graduate coordinator, develop a program of study to fulfill the remaining unit requirements for the degree. The program should reflect some unifying theme. Graduate level courses among which the student may choose include:
Communication Law and Policy
Media Sex and Violence
Feminist Contributions to Communication Theories
Advanced Marketing Communication
Mediation Theory and Practice
Issue Management and Crisis Communication
Environmental Communication
Health Communication
Advanced Topics in Human and Organizational Communication
Advanced Topics in Media Studies
Advanced Topics in Public Relations
Culture and Ethnicity in Language
Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric
COMM 593A-D
Communication Approaches to Area Studies:
Intercultural Communication Theories
Media and Intercultural Relations
Communication in Multicultural Organizations
Instructional Communication
Seminar in Conflict and Conflict Resolution
International Communication
Intercultural Peacemaking
Advanced Mediation Skills
Practicum for Teaching Associates in Communication Studies
Seminar in Organizational Communication
Seminar in Public Relations
Seminar in Interpersonal Communication
Seminar in Media Studies
Seminar in Intercultural Communication
COMM 695B-E
Graduate Independent Study
COMM 696B-E
Practicum in Intercultural Living
COMM 697B-E
Internship in Communication
Students cannot apply any course previously applied to another degree or track. Students may, with the approval of the advisory committee and the graduate coordinator, substitute up to eight units of course work from a related discipline or disciplines.
Culminating Experience:5
Students will choose one of the following culminating experiences to complete their program.
Graduate Project
Thesis
Comprehensive Examination (plus 5 additional elective units chosen from list above)
Total Units51

Comprehensive Examination.

Students may, with the approval of their advisory committee and graduate coordinator, fulfill the capstone requirement through a comprehensive examination. The examination tests the student's mastery of perspectives and competencies in the core curriculum as well as those associated with the individual student's program of study. The examination will be developed and evaluated by the student's advisory committee, administered during the student's final quarter in residence, and carry no academic credit.

Thesis.

Students may, with the approval of their advisory committee and the graduate coordinator, fulfill the capstone requirement through developing and executing an original research project designed to extend or apply our understanding of communication in important and unique ways. The prospectus must be approved by the advisory committee, and filed with the Graduate Coordinator. The student will make a public defense of the thesis during the last quarter of residence. The completed thesis must be approved by the advisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate School. Students choosing this option must register for five units of COMM 699.

Project.

Students may, with the approval of their advisory committee and the graduate coordinator, fulfill the capstone requirement through developing and executing a project with a significant written component. The project shall be developed between the student and the advisor. The prospectus must be approved by the advisory committee, and filed with the Graduate Coordinator. The written component of the project must follow specified guidelines, be approved by the advisory committee, and will be presented publicly during the student's last quarter in residence. The completed project must be approved by the advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students choosing this option must register for five units of COMM 686.

Integrated Marketing Communication Track (55 units) (Program Code: CIMC)

Prerequisites (12)

COMM 306Communication Theory4
COMM 341Public Relations Theory and Principles4
COMM 400Communication Research Methodology4
or MKTG 416 Marketing Research
Total Units12

Degree Requirements (50)

Note: Students must receive a grade of "B-" or higher in all required courses. 

COMM 605Introduction to Graduate Studies in Integrated Marketing Communication4
COMM 602Quantitative Research Methods in Communication Studies4
COMM 603Qualitative Research Methods in Communication4
COMM 675Strategic Planning in Public Relations4
COMM 685Thesis or Project Proposal/Comprehensive Examination Preparation2
MKTG 605Marketing Management4
Electives:28
At least eight but no more than sixteen elective units can be applied from courses taught outside of Communication Studies.
Advertising as Social Communication
Public Relations Campaigns
Media Audiences
Advanced Marketing Communication
Mediation Theory and Practice
Issue Management and Crisis Communication
Environmental Communication
Health Communication
Advanced Topics in Public Relations
Intercultural Communication Theories
Quantitative Research Methods in Communication Studies
Qualitative Research Methods in Communication
Digital Culture
Media and Intercultural Relations
Communication in Multicultural Organizations
Advanced Mediation Skills
Practicum for Teaching Associates in Communication Studies
Seminar in Organizational Communication
Seminar in Public Relations
Seminar in Interpersonal Communication
Seminar in Media Studies
Seminar in Intercultural Communication
COMM 695B-E
Graduate Independent Study
COMM 697B-E
Internship in Communication
Information Systems and Technology Management
Integrated Marketing Communications
Advanced Marketing Communication
Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Advanced Sports Marketing Planning and Strategy
Advanced Entertainment Marketing Planning and Strategy
Services Marketing
Seminar in Marketing
Consumer and Organizational Buying Behavior
Advertising Management
Advanced Marketing Research
Global Marketing Strategies
Advanced Topics in Marketing
Marketing Strategy
Students cannot apply any course previously applied to another degree or track.
Culminating Experience:5
Students will choose one of the following culminating experiences to complete their program with the advice of their advisory committee and the graduate coordinator. See Culminating Experience in the Communication Studies Track for an explanation of these options
Graduate Project
Thesis
Comprehensive Examination (plus 5 additional elective units chosen from list above)
Total Units55

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available, on a competitive basis, for students who wish to pursue the degree full-time. Interested applicants should contact the graduate coordinator in the Department of Communication Studies for further information.