This is an archive of the 2019-2020 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, Please visit

This is an archive of the 2019-2020 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: M.A., Mass Communication

Program Description

The graduate program in Mass Communication allows for development of individual professional skills to produce digital media content, and it also focuses on evaluation of media performance, using analytic and research techniques that culminate in a Thesis, Graduate Project or Comprehensive Examination. Please see additional information regarding classification standing under Graduate Programs.

Program Requirements

A. For Admission to Classified Graduate Status in the Program

  1. Bachelor’s degree with a major or minor in Journalism, Cinema or Television Arts, or Communication. Professional experience in news media, public relations and similar fields can be accepted in lieu of a degree. Candidates with other majors who desire admission should consult with the graduate coordinator before applying.
  2. GPA of 3.0 (“B”). Candidates with outstanding professional records may seek, with substantial justification, an exception to this condition.
  3. Candidates with a GPA below 3.0 (“B”) for all undergraduate work may be admitted under special circumstances. Please consult with the department’s graduate coordinator.
  4. Completion of general requirements for classified graduate status as outlined in the student’s letter of admission.
  5. Presentation of an autobiographical statement or resume containing a review of past educational and professional experience and a reflection on the candidate’s goals for graduate study.
  6. Minimum of two letters of recommendation, preferably from professors who have taught the candidate, or, if the candidate has been out of school for several years, from supervisors at the candidate’s place of employment.

B. For the Degree

A minimum of 30 units of approved graduate work is required for the degree. Of these, 18 units are required and the other 12 units may be electives. No more than 9 units can be taken at the 400-level. JOUR 400 Mass Communication Law and Ethics counts as 3 of those 9 units. Courses counted toward the undergraduate degree may not also count toward the graduate degree. The 30 minimum units are comprised of the following:

1. Required Seminars (18 units)

*If more than one are taken, the others can count as electives.

2. Electives (6-11 units)

Electives can include 400-, 500- and 600-level courses in Journalism and Mass Communication or a field relevant to the student’s culminating experience. Electives from outside the Journalism department must be approved by the Mass Communications graduate coordinator. A maximum of 9 units of 400-level courses may be applied toward the 30 units required for the degree.

3. Culminating Experience (1-6 units)

Select one of the following:
  1. MCOM 697A Comprehensive Written Exam (1)
    Written and oral examination in the major field (Mass Communication) and two specified fields selected with the approval of the graduate committee. One of those specialized fields may be outside the Department of Journalism.
  2. MCOM 698C Thesis or Graduate Professional Project (3-3)
    Projects may include professionally oriented studies or projects such as video or audio documentaries or investigative or in-depth articles. A scholarly thesis will include original data collection and analysis. May be taken twice for up to 6 units.

Please note that courses taken as an undergraduate cannot be counted toward the M.A. degree, nor can they be taken again as a graduate student and counted toward the M.A.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 30


Department of Journalism
Chair: Linda Bowen
Manzanita Hall (MZ) 210A
(818) 677-3135

Graduate Coordinator: Melissa Wall
(818) 677-3135

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students can identify and explain seminal works and key concepts in the field of mass communication with a focus on critical and cultural theories as applied to journalism.
  2. Students can appraise and evaluate the practices of mass communication in society with a focus on economic structures, cultural practices and international connections as applied to the practice of journalism.
  3. Students can create a plan for and conduct independent research about mass communication with an emphasis on journalism as either a research topic or through the reflective application of journalism.