The Master of Arts in Communication Studies is for students who have an interest in and background for advanced study of communication theories and processes. The degree provides broad exposure to the discipline and, at the same time, allows students to specialize in one area (e.g., argumentation and persuasion, critical-cultural studies, digital media, health, instructional, intercultural, interpersonal, organizational, rhetoric, etc.). The M.A. is an advanced degree and all students are expected to complete comprehensive exams, a thesis or a research project.
The objectives of the program include: improving students’ academic and professional competence in communication studies; developing students’ research capabilities; increasing students’ knowledge in their area of specialization; preparing students for advanced work toward the doctoral degree; and for those students planning teaching careers, to improve their teaching skills. Students in the program are expected to demonstrate a high degree of intellectual competence and scholarly discipline, develop the ability to evaluate concepts, research and theories critically, and demonstrate mastery of an area of specialization.
Admission to Graduate Standing - Conditionally Classified
Students must meet the CSU requirements for admission to a Master’s degree program. Please consult the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for complete information as well as the Master’s handbook for this program.
Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. (See the section on Graduate Regulations for a complete statement of the procedures for admission.) The graduate director is available to answer questions on the admission process. All applicants will be notified in writing of admission decisions.
The Graduate Program Committee considers the below factors in evaluating applications:
- Coursework and background completed in communication studies or an allied field. Students with majors outside the communication discipline will be considered, but may be required to take up to nine units of background studies in communication to prepare for the program
- GPA of 3.0 or better in the last 60 units attempted is expected
- Three Recommendation Forms from people (e.g., professors or professionals) familiar with the applicant’s academic abilities. If the applicant is applying for a Graduate Student Assistantship, these letters should also indicate support for a Teaching Associate or Forensics Assistant position. Download the Recommendation Form from the department website
- A cover letter from the applicant stating their professional interests, goals, and objectives in obtaining a Communication Studies MA. Send the letter directly to the graduate director
- A writing sample, preferably academic writing from an upper-division course. The sample should be substantial enough to demonstrate the applicant’s writing, reasoning and research ability. If the applicant does not have a 10- to 20-page sample, multiple shorter samples should be provided.
Graduate Standing - Classified
A student who meets the requirements for conditionally classified graduate standing, as well as the following requirements, may be granted classified graduate standing.
- Enrolling in HCOM 500 and HCOM 536 within the first 12 units of work.
- Submitting a study plan approved by their Master’s Committee Chair, the department Graduate Program Director, and the Associate Vice President, Academic Programs (or designee). A study plan must be approved before the completion of 13 units of study plan coursework.
Graduate Study Plan
Requirements for the Communication Studies M.A. consist of a minimum of 24–30 units of 400- and 500- level coursework plus successful completion of a comprehensive examination (0 units), project (3 units), or thesis (6 units).
Required Courses (6 units)
Should be taken within the first two semesters of study. Must be completed with a “B” (3.0) or better.
Electives (18–24 units)
A minimum of 9 units must be 500-level; a maximum of 6 adviser-approved units may be in a related field.
Culminating Experience (0–6 units)