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California State University, Long Beach
2012-2013 CSULB University Catalog

Communication Studies

Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

This degree allows the student to construct a personalized program that draws from the following areas: rhetorical, interpersonal, organizational, or intercultural communication, performance studies, forensics or instructional communication.


1. Application for Admission to the University. The office of Enrollment Services processes applications to the University (forms available through that office) and forwards those meeting University criteria to the Department.

2. Application to the Department. In addition to the University application, prospective students are also required to submit an application and supporting materials directly to the Department. An application form along with detailed instructions are available on-line at the Department's website ( Generally, the department accepts students who have a minimum 3.0 Overall Undergraduate GPA and a minimum combined score of 900 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam (minimum of 400 per section) on August 1, 2011, the GRE revised the test and scoring system. For tests taken after, August 1, 2011, applicants will need a minimum combined score of 297 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections, with no less than 146 on either section. The decision to admit is never based on a single indicator. Students who do not meet these requirements may seek admission through appeal.

3. Admissions Appeal Policy. Students whose GPA and/or GRE scores are below the minimum may seek admission through an appeal letter to the Graduate Advisor. The Graduate Advisor shall distribute copies of any appeal letters to the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee shall consider the merits of each appeal letter and determine whether an exception ought to be made with regard to the GPA and/or GRE requirements. The decision of the Graduate Committee is final. Students who are not accepted into the program may not enroll in graduate courses in the Department of Communication Studies. Graduate courses taken through Open University will not apply to the student's degree program in the Department of Communication Studies.

4. Teaching Associateships and Graduate Assistantships. Employment as a Teaching Associate or Graduate Assistant falls under the jurisdiction of the Personnel Committee of the Department. The positions pay approximately $950.00 per month. Tuition is not waived. Interested students should send letters of application, transcripts, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation to: Chair, Department of Communication Studies, California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., MHB-717, Long Beach, CA 90840-2407.

5. Advising. Consult the Graduate Advisor to plan a program of study and to receive information regarding Department procedures prior to enrollment. The Graduate Advisor and/or a faculty mentor will guide students through their programs.

General Considerations

  • 1. Requirements
    • A. All requirements date from the time at which a student receives approval for Advancement to Candidacy, not from when a student begins graduate study.
    • B. The Department requires a minimum of thirty semester hours (including four thesis credits in the Thesis Option) for the Master's Degree. The University requires a minimum of twenty-four graduate credits be completed in residence.
    • C. Students must either pass the Department's comprehensive examination or write an acceptable thesis.
    • D. The Department expects its graduate students to possess the writing skills necessary for advanced study. Fulfill the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students should fulfill the GWAR no later than the end of the first semester of graduate study.If you believe you have taken an examination equivalent to fulfillment of the GWAR, consult the Graduate Advisor.
  • 2. Prerequisites
    • A. Units obtained fulfilling prerequisites or deficiencies do not count toward the minimum of thirty semester hours needed to complete the Master's degree.
    • B. Students must meet all prerequisites before enrolling in graduate courses, except for COMM 541 or 546. Individuals may petition for waiver of this rule prior to registering for courses if compelling reasons warrant such a waiver.
  • 3. Students must comply with all University regulations outlined in the CSULB Catalog.


Individuals with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies (or its equivalent) from a fully-accredited college or university must have approved coursework in the following:

  • COMM 300, 301, 306, 307, 309


  • 1. A minimum of thirty hours of graduate work in Communication Studies distributed as follows:
    • A. Complete prior to advancement to candidacy and preferably within the first semester of graduate work:
      • COMM 541 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism I (3)
        Prerequisites: None
      • COMM 546 Communication Theory and Research I (6)
        Prerequisites: None
    • B. Complete preferably in the second semester:
      • COMM 640 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism II (3)
        Prerequisite: COMM 541.
      • COMM 646 Communication Theory and Research II (6)
        Prerequisites: COMM 307 (or equivalent) and 546.
    • C. 18 units of graduate level electives or 15 units of electives plus 3 thesis units
  • 2. No more than 3 units may be taken outside the Communication Studies Department or transferred from another institution. The graduate advisor must approve any courses taken outside the department or transferred from another institution.
  • 3. Completion of the Department's Comprehensive Examination or of an acceptable thesis.
  • 4. Please note that Internships and student teaching cannot be included in the required thirty units.


Any questions not answered in these pages should be directed to the Department Graduate Advisor.

Graduate Courses in Communication Studies

Students may apply the following graduate courses in Communication Studies toward the Master's Degree:

  • COMM 531, 541, 546, 590, 610, 611, 614, 620, 630, 633, 634, 635, 636, 637, 639, 640, 646, 649, 650, 697, 698

Undergraduate Core Courses

  • COMM 300, 301, 306, 307, 309, and 330.
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Communication Studies

Undergraduate Programs

Graduate Programs