Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Cal State East Bay Catalog 
2023-2024 Cal State East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication, M.A.

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Communication, M.A. Program

Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Communication is a dynamic, flexible program in the heart of the Bay Area. As a student, you will join an energetic community of active scholars engaged in a wide range of research interests. You will learn foundational approaches to theory, criticism, research, and ethics in communication that prepare students for the public and professional spheres, on local, national, and international levels. As a student you will construct a program of interest to you, with a solid foundation in communication theory and research. Your experience will include specialized seminars from a variety of areas including: rhetoric, cultural studies, organizational communication, media studies, strategic communication and political communication. The program consists of 31 units including: core courses, graduate elective seminars, and independent study courses. The culminating experience is a thesis, project, or comprehensive exam.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  1. Engage critical/creative thinking toward a convergent praxis of theory and applications relevant to the communication discipline/field;
  2. Conduct original research adding to the discovery of knowledge in the communication discipline/field;
  3. Demonstrate results of original research in the communication discipline/field through presentation in written, oral, or mediated formats;
  4. Develop critical and cultural perspectives for promoting social justice through communication.
  5. Demonstrate mastery in the scholarly discipline/field of communication.

Career Opportunities

Our program prepares you for advancement in communication and media-related fields. Students with an M.A. in Communication work in areas such as teaching, media technologies, journalism, consulting, human resources, communication training, management, sales, government, and politics. Numerous students use the degree as preparation for Ph.D. and law degrees.

Admission Requirements

A Bachelor’s degree in Communication or a related field/discipline. A GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Application for admission includes two parts:

  1. Submit the online University application at CALSTATE  Apply;
  2. Submit the department application form, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and a sample of scholarly writing to the Graduate Coordinator, Department of Communication, Cal State East Bay, Hayward, CA 94542. Links to both university and department application forms are available on the Department of Communication website.

For Cal State East Bay Communication undergraduates we offer a streamlined application process that requires only one letter of recommendation from a current Cal State East Bay faculty member.

The program accepts students in both Fall and Spring semesters.

Student Standing and Progress Toward the Degree

You may be admitted under one of the following:

“Classified Graduate” Standing

For admission with “Classified Graduate” standing to the M.A. program in Communication, students must:

  • Submit an application to pursue a specific program of graduate study and be accepted by the department and the university;
  • Have completed a baccalaureate major in Communication from an accredited institution, or appropriate preparatory coursework approved by the faculty;
  • Have maintained an overall grade point average of at least 3.00, and
“Conditionally Classified Graduate” Standing

If a student’s degree is in another field, it may be possible to be admitted with “Conditionally Classified Graduate” standing. In this case, students are admitted graduate students but may have additional course work to satisfy. Student status will remain conditional until the work is completed with a minimum of “B” or better average. 

Degree Requirements

The M.A. in Communication requires completion of 31 units in an approved program of study, with a “B” (3.0) or better.

All courses are four units unless otherwise specified. In cases of transferred credit, a minimum of 24 units must be completed at CSU East Bay.

Attainment of “Classified Graduate” Standing

To attain “Classified Graduate” standing, a student must have completed all prerequisites with grades of “B” or better. Notify the graduate advisor immediately upon completion, and request that s(he) complete the necessary paper work.

Advancement to Candidacy

To be Advanced to Candidacy for the M.A. degree in Communication, the student must:

  1. be a “Classified Graduate” student in good standing;
  2. complete 27 semester units beyond the prerequisites with at least “B” grades;
  3. choose a program advisor;
  4. submit a study plan for completion of the degree program to the program advisor;
  5. have the thesis proposal or project proposal approved by their graduate adviser, if applicable;
  6. show evidence of progress and ability to complete the program.

Communication Degree Requirements (31 units)

Core Requirements

All students must take 13 units of core courses:

Capstone Requirements

All students must complete one (1) of the following Capstone experiences for 2-6 units:

  • Units: 1-6
  • Upon approval of the student’s graduate committee, a student may elect the University Thesis for 6 units; the student will carry out research on a specific topic in the field and will report, review, and file the results, and will be examined on the thesis. Students electing the University Thesis capstone will sit for an oral defense of the thesis at its completion.

  • Units: 2
  • A student who selects the comprehensive exam capstone must elect a program made up entirely of a minimum of 31 units of approved coursework, including COMM 692 for 2 units. Satisfactory achievement on comprehensive written and oral examinations will be required of students electing the coursework and examination option. For the comprehensive examination, the student will be tested on all coursework taken during their graduate study, including all required courses and any coursework in progress during the semester of examination.

  • Units: 1-6
  • Upon approval of the student’s graduate committee, a student may elect the Project capstone for 6 units; enrollment commits the student to a production of a piece of work which is to follow prescribed forms; a permanent record is to be filed in the departmental office. Students electing the Project capstone will sit for an oral defense of their project at its completion.

Other Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

In addition to departmental requirements, every student must also satisfy the University requirements for graduation as described throughout this catalog. These include the 70% unit residence requirement; the five-year rule on currency of subject matter; the minimum number of units in 600-level courses; the “C” minimum grade for each graduate course; and the 3.00 cumulative grade point average.

Department Courses Listed by Course Type

Communication Courses

Department of Communication

Go to information for this department.



Communication: Graduate


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