The Master of Arts degree program in Communication Studies is housed in the Department of Communication Studies, but it is a joint program between the Communication Studies Department and the Department of Television, Film and Media Studies. The M.A. is available in two options: the Communication option and the Television and Film option. The option in Communication is designed to enable students to acquire an understanding of research methods and theories that explore the nature and functions of human symbolic communication in the areas of communication and rhetorical theory, interpersonal and organizational communication, strategic communication, public discourse, intercultural communication, and performance studies. The Television and Film option is designed to enable students to acquire an understanding of research methods and theories that explore industry structure, audience reception, as well as visual and structural examinations of media texts. The program requires that students select and develop an area of specialization.
Regardless of the Option chosen, students have the unique opportunity to choose elective courses, with advisor approval, from either Option. This enables students to pursue intellectual inquiries that interest them while gaining a broader understanding of the communication process.
Admission to the Program
In addition to University requirements for admission to graduate study, students must have a 3.00 grade point average. Applicants must submit the completed departmental application together with official transcripts of all previous college work, a copy of their TOEFL score if applicable, a writing sample, a statement of purpose, and a minimum of two letters of recommendation by persons qualified to assess the applicant’s academic work directly to the Department of Communication Studies, for the Communication Option, or to the Department of Television, Film and Media Studies if they are applying for the Television and Film Option. Only complete application files with all required supporting materials will be reviewed by the department and assessed for admission. See website for admission deadlines.
Students applying to the Communication Option or the Television and Film Option and whose undergraduate major was not Speech, Communication, or Television, Film and Media Studies may be admitted to the degree program in conditionally classified standing. Prior to beginning graduate work, conditionally classified students must achieve a minimum B grade in every course of a conditional study plan of up to 20 units of undergraduate work in Communication and related fields or in Television and Film and related fields, as approved by the graduate advisor for their program.
The graduate advisor will assist students in designing a classified study plan suited to their individual interests and goals.
Comprehensive Examination (0 units), Thesis (3 units)
Students should expect to take the comprehensive examination, COMM 5960 (0), within two semesters of completing all course work and must comply with college and departmental requirements. The comprehensive examination is regularly scheduled for the end of fall and spring semesters. Communication students will complete examinations in communication theory, rhetorical theory, and an area of specialization selected in consultation with the graduate advisor. Television and Film students will complete examinations in research methodology, media criticism, and an area of specialization selected in consultation with the graduate advisor. Students will be allowed a maximum of two attempts to complete the comprehensive examinations successfully. Failure to pass the comprehensive examinations, or any portion thereof, will result in disqualification from the program.
A thesis may be substituted for the comprehensive examination, with prior approval of the Communication or Television and Film area. Students authorized to submit a thesis must enroll in COMS 5990 for 3 units.
Communication Option (30 units)
Graduate Level Seminars (12 units)
With advisor approval, select a minimum of 12 additional units from the following 5000-level seminars:
Elective (3 units) (for those taking comprehensive examination)
Select one 4000-level COMM or 5000-level COMS course or course in related field with advisor approval.
Students may take a maximum of 6 units of COMS 5980 and COMM 4990 combined.
Comprehensive Examination or Thesis (0, 3 units)
Television and Film Option (30 units)
Critical Studies Concentration (30 units)
Graduate Level Seminars (6 units)
With adviser approval, select a minimum of 6 additional units from the following 5000-level seminars.
Electives (6-9 units)
Select 4000-level TVF or 5000-level COMS courses or courses in related field with advisor approval.
Students may take a maximum of 6 units of COMS 5980 and TVF 4990 combined.
Comprehensive Examination or Thesis (0, 3 units)