Communication, M.A.


Department of Communication

Kevin J. Macy-Ayotte, Chair
Speech Arts Building, Room 15
FAX: 559.278.4113

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Communication, B.A.
MA in Communication, M.A.
MN in Communication, Minor

Courses Offered

Our aim is to prepare students to understand and provide leadership in a competitive communication-oriented society. We offer a balance of humanistic and scientific instruction in communication skills people need to function effectively in teaching, business, law, nonprofit organizations, public service and administration, public relations, government, and management. Outside the workplace, these skills will also enhance students' ability to be active in civic engagement and community service.
Our program requires a comprehensive understanding of the breadth and depth of our discipline, as well as its major theoretical frameworks and research methodologies. Both the major and minor are grounded in the fundamental communication contexts including public, interpersonal, group, organizational, instructional, and intercultural communication. Additionally applied contexts in business communication, gerontology communication, technology, and leadership are available. Students investigate problems in diverse cultural settings, which make the San Joaquin Valley - with its tremendous ethnic diversity - an ideal location for study.

The Communication Skills for Professionals Certificate program recognizes development in such areas as presentational speaking, problem solving and decision making, leadership, and interpersonal communication.

Our program offers a variety of exciting activities to enrich students' educational experience. We have an active student organization, the Professional Communication Association, and a debate team that participates in competitive intercollegiate tournaments and hosts public debates on campus. Our annual Peach Blossom Festival brings more than 5,000 elementary-age students to campus to present prose and poetry.

We offer you personalized advising. Our major builds on a sound core of foundation courses and is completed by courses selected to meet your needs and career objectives. Our major requirements are flexible and easily integrated into a host of minors.


Master of Arts Degree in Communication Requirements

Graduate Program

The Master of Arts degree program in communication is designed to be a comprehensive program reflecting the history and breadth of the communication discipline. Four objectives serve as measures for competent M.A. graduates of the program. First, all graduates will have a comprehensive understanding of the historical and philosophical assumptions of the communication discipline, as well as the various theoretical perspectives underlying scholarship in the discipline. Second, all graduates will recognize and be able to use appropriate communication strategies in formal, informal, professional, and personal contexts. Third, all graduates will understand quantitative and qualitative methods of research in communication. Fourth, all graduates will understand various communication perspectives and will have a clear understanding of their own personal perspective and ideologies.

Master of Arts Degree Requirements

The graduate program in communication is designed to extend the competencies of students in the study of human communication. Graduate teaching assistantships provide students with opportunities for financial assistance and additional educational experiences.

The graduate program in communication assumes undergraduate preparation equivalent to a California State University, Fresno major or minor in communication. The Communication Department offers a 30 unit Master of Arts degree with coursework in three areas of human communication: rhetoric and public address, communication, and applied communication. Coursework in these areas provides preparation for a variety of career opportunities including teaching and doctoral work in communication and rhetoric,* business and industry, public service, law, and government.**

Program Requirements

Admission Requirements for Classified Standing. See Admission to Graduate Degree Programs with Graduate Standing in the Division of Graduate Studies of this catalog.

COMM 241 and 262(6 units)

COMM 205, 214, 215, 242M, 243, 262, 263, 264M, 265, 266, 268, 275, 276 or 290(15 units)

Electives (3-9 units)

Culminating experiences (0-6 units)
Select one of the following:
A. Comprehensive Examination (0 units; take at least 9 units of approved electives)
B. COMM 298: Graduate Project (3-6 units; additional approved communication electives if needed)
C. COMM 299: Thesis (3-6 units; additional approved communication electives if needed)

Minimum total (30 units)

* For those individuals pursuing careers in teaching and doctoral work, the Communication Department highly recommends selecting 12 units from among the following core requirements: COMM 205, 215, 242M, 243, 214, 263, 264M, 265, and 266.

** For those individuals pursuing professional careers such as business and industry, public service, law, and government, the Communication Department highly recommends selecting 12 units from among the following core requirements: COMM 205, 214, 215, 263, 264M, 265, 266, 268, 275, and 276.

Advising Notes

  1. At least 21 units in the student's program of study must be in 200-level (seminar) communication courses.
  2. One methods seminar (COMM 242M or 264M) is required in every program.
  3. In order to fulfill the university's Graduate Writing Skills Requirement, students are asked to submit an academic writing sample for evaluation prior to advancement to candidacy. Consult the department's Graduate Handbook or graduate coordinator for further details on the policy.
  4. Elective requirements can be met by any approved communication seminar, upper-division undergraduate communication course, or appropriate course outside the department. Any undergraduate course counted toward the M.A. must include additional work to make it commensurate with a graduate-level experience; verification is the responsibility of the student and the student's graduate adviser. Elective requirements are approved by the student's graduate adviser and the graduate coordinator.


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