Program: M.A., Communication Studies

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Communication Studies provides advanced study of human communication in its various and diverse forms, contexts and processes. The program prepares students to pursue academic and professional career paths such as a Ph.D. in the field, community college instruction or a career in the communication industry. The M.A. in Communication Studies includes coursework in the following areas:

  • Performance, Language and Cultural Studies (including seminars in Performance Studies, Textual Studies, Communication and Language, Feminist Perspectives on Communication, Intercultural Communication, and Communication and Technology)
  • Rhetorical Studies (including seminars in Classical Rhetoric, Contemporary Rhetoric, Postmodern Rhetoric and Applied Rhetorical Studies)
  • Communication Theory (including seminars in Communication Theory, Interpersonal Communication, Group Communication and Organizational Communication Research)

The department’s graduate program is governed by the principle that students should have the opportunity to study and to conduct original research in areas of their primary interests. Thus, the department seeks to balance two concerns: (a) to permit students to tailor the program of study to individual interests and abilities; and (b) to ensure that all students acquire a coherent perspective within the field of communication. The ultimate objective is to prepare students to assume socially responsible and productive roles within their chosen professions.

The program comprises 33 units of coursework in Communication Studies selected in consultation with advisors. For the culminating experience, students will choose from directed comprehensive studies, a thesis or an applied scholarly project.

Program Requirements

A. Admission Requirements

University standards for admission to graduate study will normally be a determining factor in granting a student classified status in the program. However, the department requires a 3.0 GPA for admission, which is higher than the University standard. Any student who is admitted to the graduate program on a conditionally classified basis is required to meet all conditions for fully classified status by the end of the student’s first semester of enrollment in the graduate program.

B. Degree Requirements

A minimum of 33 units of approved graduate work comprised of the following:

1. Core Requirements (6 units)

COMS 600 Core Seminar in Communication (3)
COMS 601 Core Seminar in Communication Research Methods (3)

2. Area Requirements (9 units)

a. Performance, Language and Cultural Studies
Select one of the following courses:

COMS 603 Seminar in Performance Studies (3)
COMS 604 Seminar in Textual Studies (3)
COMS 620 Seminar in Communication and Language (3)
COMS 635 Feminist Perspectives on Communication (3)
COMS 654 Seminar in Communication and Technology (3)
COMS 656 Seminar in Intercultural Communication (3)

b. Rhetorical Studies
Select one of the following courses:

COMS 631 Studies in Classical Rhetoric (3)
COMS 632 Studies in Contemporary Rhetoric (3)
COMS 633 Studies in Postmodern Rhetoric (3)
COMS 634 Applied Rhetorical Studies (3)

c. Communication Theory
Select one of the following courses:

COMS 650 Seminar in Communication Theory (3)
COMS 651 Seminar in Interpersonal Communication (3)
COMS 652 Seminar in Group Communication (3)
COMS 653 Seminar in Organizational Communication Research (3)

3. Electives (12-15 units)

Elective coursework may be selected from 400-, 500- and 600-level courses in Communication Studies and related disciplines. At least 9 of these elective units must come from 600-level courses in Communication Studies. (Thesis or Graduate Project candidate: 12 elective units; Comprehensive Examination candidate: 15 elective units.)

4. Culminating Experience (3-6 units)

Directed Comprehensive Studies

COMS 697 Directed Comprehensive Studies (3)

  1. This course requires the successful completion of a written examination covering the breadth of the student’s program.
  2. This course includes an oral examination on the comprehensive exam.
Thesis or Graduate Project

COMS 698 Thesis or Graduate Project (3-3)

  1. A thesis prospectus.
  2. An acceptable thesis.
  3. An oral examination on the thesis.
Graduate Project
  1. A graduate project prospectus.
  2. An acceptable written report of the candidate’s application of communication theory and principles to a practical or career problem.
  3. An oral examination on the written report.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 33


Department of Communication Studies
Chair: Jinah Kim
Manzanita Hall (MZ) 220
(818) 677-2853

Graduate Coordinator: Bernardo Attias
(818) 677-6895

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master of Arts in Communication Studies will be able to:

  1. Explain basic tenets of Communication Studies from multiple perspectives.
  2. Critically evaluate scholarship in the field.
  3. Analyze the role of communication in the construction of culture
  4. Apply communication theories to communication phenomena.
  5. Synthesize scholarship in the field.
  6. Produce original scholarship contributing to Communication Studies.