M.A. Requirements

Upon admission, students will be matched with a sponsoring temporary advisor. After the completion of the first two semesters, the student and temporary advisor meet to discuss whether or not the temporary advisor and student will continue working together or if the student is to find a new advisor. The student may consult with the Director of Graduate Studies in the event of the latter situation.

The guidance committee consists of the advisor and two more committee members from the Communication Department. At least two of these three people must be voting members of the Communication Department faculty.

During 1st year of MA program, both an MA Plan of Study and Comprehensive Exam Committee form must be submitted through GRADPATH, the Graduate College's electronic system for submission of required Graduate College Student forms.

The Commmittee form indicates student's program advisor and other committee members. Once the committee composition has been approved by the student's advisor and Director of Graduate Studies, any future changes in the composition of the committee require the approval of the Major Advisor and the involved faculty, or a majority of the committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Program Requirements

Master's students must complete 34 units regardless of whether they choose the thesis or non-thesis option. Students are strongly encouraged to recognize that the thesis option will most likely take more time and effort than the non-thesis option. However, the thesis option is recommended for students who wish to pursue the Ph.D.

Core Courses

All students must complete the three core courses of 500, 561 and 571.

Familiarize students with the structure of the discipline, prominent theorists and historical developments, as well as beginning to understand more about the process of research and writing in the discipline of Communication.

This course will expose students to the logic and conduct of research that is aimed at producing generalizable information about human communication. The goal of the course is to develop student's ability to conduct and evaluate social scientific research.

This course will expose students to fundamental and intermediate techniques for the analysis of quantitative data. Descriptive statistics, univariate, and multivariate statistics will be covered throughout the semester. In addition to examining different analytical techniques, students will be exposed to computer programs for statistical analyses.

Theory Seminars

Students must take at least 2 theory seminars from the theory seminar rotation: 609, 610, 620, 669.

This course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the prominent social scientific theories of mass communication. It will address the development of media theories from the early stages to the contemporary models.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the most notable theories.  Upon completion of the course, students should have extensive knowledge of how media theory and research can be applied to explaining the impact of media exposure on individuals and society.

An overview of theoretical perspectives on the role of verbal and nonverbal communication in the process of generating and understanding development of interpersonal relationships.

An overview of historical and theoretical perspectives on communication strategies used in social influence attempts from interpersonal to mass media contexts.

This course will explore developing an awareness and understanding of the relationship between interpersonal communication and health.  It will also work on developing the ability to interpret and discuss some of the existing research/scholarship focusing on aspects of interpersonal communication, relationships, and health.  Finally, it will examine ways of investigating health issues in interpersonal contexts.


Students may take up to 6 elective units (2 classes) outside the department.

More Information

  • Only 3 units of independent study or internship may be counted toward the 34 minimum.
  • The program must be completed in 2 years with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.