Program of Study
The Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree program provides students with a comprehensive knowledge of the nature of communication, its varied forms and uses, and its multiple social, cultural, and cognitive effects. Courses introduce students to the significance of communication within their own lives, showing its relevance to the complex relationships they enter into as participants in families, communities, and organizations; as representatives of one or more cultures; and as consumers of information distributed through mediated channels.
As the world becomes more complex, so do the forms of communication needed to interact. This is especially evident within contemporary institutions where gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social class differences must be negotiated on an ongoing basis through everyday communication activities. The study of communication in everyday settings is essential for:
- Judging whether communication processes are effectively meeting the needs of institutions and the people involved with them;
- Analyzing systems of communication in order to identify areas for change;
- Devising plans to improve communication practices and systems.
Student Learning Outcomes
The Bachelor of Arts in Communication teaches analytical, critical, and practical skills that will help students to understand and improve communication practices and systems in all types of social settings. More specifically, students who graduate with a B.A. in Communication will be able to:
- Make knowledgeable and relevant contributions to intellectual conversation pertaining to communication phenomena.
- Argue convincingly and respond constructively to positions regarding the problems, applicable standards, and communication practices, enabling improved functioning of communication processes and systems.
- Conceptualize and appreciate the point of view of one’s counterparts in communicative interaction while attempting respectfully to incorporate their viewpoints into one’s own.
- Analyze forms and contexts of communication from a variety of intellectual perspectives (philosophical, historical, theoretical, and practical).
- Make cooperative, civil, appropriate, and timely contributions in talk, written, and mediated discourse, to advance the direction and purpose of the communication event.
Communication is increasingly recognized as an extremely significant, multifaceted phenomenon that deserves our focused attention. Increasingly, both private and public sectors are emphasizing the importance of communication skills in their hiring decisions and assessments of potential for career success. Consistently, business leaders have identified that potential employees must have effective communication skills and be able to work collaboratively with people of diverse backgrounds.
The growing telecommunications and digital information industries are very receptive to communication majors, as are private and public organizations and agencies, which often hire communication majors as specialists and consultants to improve organizational communication. A communication degree offers interesting career opportunities in the areas of business management, public health communication, community relations, government, public affairs, international trade, conflict mediation, advertising and market research, foreign service, teaching, and law.
High school students should take four years of English, including composition. Social Science and civics courses, including History and Economics, are encouraged. A familiarity with computers is also desirable.
Community college transfer students may transfer a maximum of nine (9) lower-division units in Communication. Students must have earned a grade of C+ (2.5) or higher in the coursework to be counted for credit toward the major.
Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Arts in Communication
All courses counted toward the major, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. A minimum of eighteen (18) units of upper-division credits must be earned at CSUSM.
No more than six (6) hours of independent study and/or internship may be applied toward the major. Independent study may be applied to field distribution requirements at the discretion of the instructor under whose supervision the student is doing the study. Communication majors must complete nine (9) upper-division units selected from at least two of the social sciences.
Preparation for the Major (9 Units)
(Other introductory statistics courses may be accepted upon approval of the communication advisor.)
Major Requirements (39 Units)
Eighteen (18) Additional Upper-Division Units (18 Units)
Eighteen (18) additional upper-division units in at least two of the three areas of communication (Communication Culture and Social Context, Mass Communication, Communication Theory and Methods) MASS courses may be used to fulfill the Mass Communication area units.
Approved Electives (9 Units)
Nine (9) units of upper-division courses selected from at least two of the social science disciplines, including (but not limited to) Economics, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology
Upper-Division Communication Courses
Upper-division Communication courses are grouped into three categories. These categories are: Communication Theory and Methods (CTM), Communication, Culture and Social Context (CCSC), and Mass Communication (MC). Specific courses under these designations are given below and described within the Communication course listings.
Communication Theory and Methods (CTM)
Communication, Culture and Social Context (CCSC)
Minimum Total (120 Units)
Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120