Major in Communication Studies

The Communication Studies Major requires completion of 44 units of course work subdivided into two areas: Foundations (12 units); Methods (8 units); and Advanced Area Studies (24 units).

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • articulate and define major theories and concepts used in the study of communication
  • design a research project that engages scholarly literature to address significant and appropriate questions/issues
  • demonstrate the ability to select and analyze text(s), collect and analyze data, and answer research questions and/or test hypotheses
  • craft effective messages by identifying and addressing social context(s)/specific audiences
  • be able to identify how communication produces, reinforces, and critiques social inequalities and power relations


44 units

Foundations (12 UNITS)

Foundations courses are recommended for the second semester of the First year (or first semester for transfer students), as they provide an introduction to key processes in human communication and the fundamentals of reading, writing, and doing research in communication. Methods courses are recommended for the Sophomore and Junior Years.

  • COMS 202 Rhetoric and the Public Sphere
  • COMS 203 Communication and Everyday Life
  • COMS 204 Communication and Culture (CD)

Methods (8 units 2 courses)

  • COMS 252 Critical and Rhetorical Methods
  • COMS 253 Quantitative Research Methods
  • COMS 254 Qualitative Methods

Advanced Area Studies (24 units 6 courses)

Advanced Area Studies courses are recommended for the Junior and Senior years. By carefully choosing Advanced Area Studies courses with the approval of a faculty adviser, students can fashion a constellation of courses to meet diverse educational and professional goals.

  • COMS 300 Interpersonal Communication
  • COMS 302 The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication
  • COMS 306 Family Communication
  • COMS 314 Intercultural Communication
  • COMS 315 Asian American Communication and Culture
  • COMS 320 Public Relations Principles and Practices *
  • COMS 322 Public Relations Law and Ethics*
  • COMS 323 Public Relations Writing *
  • COMS 326 Public Relations Campaigns *
  • COMS 332 Rhetorical Criticism
  • COMS 334 Rhetoric and Citizenship
  • COMS 335 Rhetoric of Social Movements
  • COMS 336 Rhetoric of Law
  • COMS 337 Rhetoric of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
  • COMS 350 Nonverbal Communication
  • COMS 352 Health Communication
  • COMS 356 Organizational Communication
  • COMS 358 Persuasion and Social Influence
  • COMS 360 Language and Social Interaction
  • COMS 364 Communication for Justice and Social Change
  • COMS 365 Geographies of Communication
  • COMS 366 Ethnography of Communication
  • COMS 368 Communication and Aging
  • COMS 370 Message Design in Health Interaction
  • COMS 372 Communication, Disability, and Social Justice
  • COMS 373 Rhetorical History of the U.S.
  • COMS 398 Directed Study **
  • COMS 344 Environmental Communication
  • COMS 490 Topics in Communication
  • COMS 496 Communication Studies Internship

* Communication Studies majors may only count a total of three Public Relations courses toward the 24 units of Advanced Area Studies required for the major. If you are also a Public Relations minor, the four upper-division Public Relations courses may not double count for the Communication Studies major and the Public Relations minor.

** No more than four units of Directed Study may count towards the Communication Studies major.

Note: Students majoring or minoring in Communication Studies must maintain a "C" (or 2.0) grade point average or higher in the major/minor to graduate. Students must earn a C- (C minus) or higher in all Communication Studies courses in order to receive credit for that course toward the major/minor.