Flexible Study Plans

Completing your master’s degree in communications provides you with the critical thinking and knowledge you need to compete and excel in media professions. Use our extensive networking system to enter a media profession, or, use your professional project degree to advance into executive or management positions at your present workplace. You can also use your master’s degree to teach in the community college system or to enter a Ph.D. program by writing a thesis. See the flexible study plans webpage for details about the concentration in Mass Communications Research and Theory and the concentration in Professional Communications and Communications in Tourism and Entertainment.

Before completing the first 9 units of coursework, you will design a study plan, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, which will map out your course of study. Study plans can be amended, but they provide a sense of direction at the outset. Students may transfer up to 9 semester units of approved graduate study plan coursework from other accredited institutions.

In designing a study plan, you may select from courses in mass communication, advertising, entertainment and tourism, journalism and public relations. The uniquely interdisciplinary curriculum may also incorporate courses from other departments such as American studies, business, psychology, public administration, and sociology. In consultation with the graduate advisor, students are able to customize a course of study to meet their own academic, personal, or professional goals and objectives.

Graduate Study Plans: Concentrations In Mass Communications Research & Theory, Professional Communications, And Communications In Tourism And Entertainment.

Course Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Communications with a Concentration in Mass Communications Research & Theory

Study Plan: Mass Communications Research & TheoryPDF File PDF File

Core Courses (9 units)

Take all three:

  • COMM 500 Theory & Literature of Communications (3 units)
  • COMM 508 Humanistic Research in Communications (3 units)
  • COMM 509 Social Science Research in Communications (3 units)

Elective Courses (15 units)

  • A total of 15 units consisting of:
  • 3 units of COMM 599, Independent Study.
  • a minimum of 6 units of 500-level courses (including COMM 599) and a maximum of 9 units of 400-level courses.

Note: 400-level courses are optional. All courses may be 500-level. Undergraduate prerequisite courses must be completed and do not count toward the graduate degree.

Graduate students must complete at least one additional assignment beyond that required of undergraduate students in 400-level courses.

Exit Option

  • COMM 598 Thesis. (6 units taken over-2 semesters )
  • 3 units of independent work leading to the successful development & oral defense of a thesis proposal.
  • 3 units of independent work leading to the successful completion & oral defense of a scholarly thesis.

Total Units - 30


 

Course Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Communications with a Concentration in Professional Communications.

Study Plan: Professional Communications ConcentrationPDF File PDF File

Core Courses (9 Units) 

Take both:
 

• COMM 500 Theory & Literature of Communications (3 units)

• COMM 507 Communication Research Design & Analysis (3 units)

 
 
Take one of the following:
 
 

• COMM 508 Humanistic Research in Communications (3 units) or

• COMM 509 Social Science Research in Communications (3 units) or

• COMM 525 Advanced Communications Management (3 units) or  

• COMM 534 American Media History (3 units)

Elective Courses (18 units)

 A total of 18 units consisting of:

  • a minimum of 6 units of 500-level courses and
  • a maximum of 9 units of 400-level courses.
Note: 400-level courses are optional. All elective courses may be 500-level. Undergraduate prerequisite courses must be completed and do not count toward the graduate degree.
 
Graduate students must complete at least one additional assignment beyond that required of undergraduate students in 400-level courses.
 

Exit Option

  • COMM 597 Project (3 Units)

Total Units - 30


 

Course Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Communications with a Concentration in Communications in Tourism and Entertainment.

Study Plan: Communication In Tourism And Entertainment PDF File PDF File

Core Courses (9 Units)

Take both:
 
• COMM 500 Theory & Literature of Communications (3 units)
 
• COMM 507 Communication Research Design & Analysis (3 units)
 
 
Take one of the following:
 
 
• COMM 508 Humanistic Research in Communications (3 units) or
 
• COMM 509 Social Science Research in Communications (3 units) or
 
• COMM 525 Advanced Communications Management (3 units) or
 
• COMM 534 American Media History (3 units)

 

Elective Courses (18 units)

A total of 18 elective units consisting of:
 
• a minimum of 9 units of 500-level tourism-related electives
• a maximum of 9 units of 400-level courses

 

Note: 400-level courses are optional. All elective courses may be 500-level. Undergraduate prerequisite courses must be completed and do not count toward the graduate degree.

Graduate students must complete at least one additional assignment beyond that required of undergraduate students in 400-level courses.

Exit Options

  • COMM 597 Project (3 Units)

Total Units - 30

Note: Check the University Catalog at http://www.fullerton.edu/catalog/ for a full list of avaliable courses.

Exit Options

Students in the Professional and Communications in Tourism and Entertainment Concentrations complete degree requirements with COMM 597, a three-unit graduate project (see details below). Students in the Research & Theory Concentration will complete degree requirements by writing a six-unit thesis over two semesters.

The Thesis (6 Units) For Students In The Research & Theory Concentration

A thesis is the product of a systematic study of a significant communications-related topic. It defines the problem and theoretical dimension, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. Since a thesis is required for many communications doctoral programs, students interested in pursuing doctoral studies should declare the Research & Theory Concentration.

How to Start Your Thesis
Thesis units are earned in two stages, 3 units of proposal development and 3 units of thesis writing. Here is the procedure:
1. Identify a topic of interest and write up a 75 word abstract describing your idea.
2. Identify a committee chair who has expertise in your area of study.
3. Identify two additional committee members with expertise in methods, theory or the topic.
4. Complete a Thesis Proposal Request (available at http://communications.fullerton.edu/comm/thesis_proposal/thesis_proposal.php), attach your abstract, and have each committee member sign it, and obtain the graduate coordinator’s signature.
5. Register for COMM 598a to write your thesis proposal (the first 3 units). Once completed, arrange for a defense with your committee, usually near the end of your first semester of thesis work.
6. After your proposal has been successfully defended, enroll in the second 3 units and begin the thesis data collection, analysis, and writing. Upon completion, you will again arrange a meeting with your committee to defend the thesis. The committee must also sign a final Thesis Request, which is available at http://communications.fullerton.edu/comm/thesis_proposal/thesis_proposal.php.

Due to faculty schedules and registration and thesis deadlines, it’s best to plan ahead when requesting thesis units and scheduling defenses. The request forms must be approved before the end of the “add period” for the appropriate semester.

  • University format guidelines are included in a thesis manual , which has been developed to assist the student in the preparation of a thesis. Copies are available in the Office of Graduate Studies and on the Graduate Studies website. It is the student’s responsibility to make certain that all requirements are met . If a student’s committee has no specific requirements, students should use the most recent edition of the APA Stylebook as a guideline for writing and documentation styles.

In addition to the university requirements for bound copies of the thesis, an approved and bound copy of the thesis is required by the department before the degree can be awarded. It should be given to the Department of Communications office or to the office of the Graduate Coordinator. Copies of theses, proposals, and projects are kept in the Graduate Coordinator’s office and are available for use by both students and faculty.

Thesis Supervisory Committee
You are encouraged to choose committee members who can work with you on specific theories, research methods, or the topic appropriate to your thesis. Committee members must be from among the full-time faculty holding PhD degrees. You may select one committee member from outside the department, if special expertise is appropriate.

Although a minimum of three members serve on the thesis supervisory committee, it is possible for a qualified person who is not a regular CSUF faculty member to serve as visiting examiner for a thesis or project as a fourth member. This person serves as a fourth member of the committee.

Because not all faculty members are on campus during the summer or intersession, members of a supervisory committee may not be available to review manuscripts or attend defenses during those times. Students should therefore plan ahead. All work must be completed in ample time before the semester ends, so be sure to check with the graduate secretary, the Office of Graduate Studies and/or read the university catalog for thesis deadlines.

The Giles T. Brown Thesis Award
Each year, an award of $1000 along with an engraved plaque is given by the university to the student whose thesis represents the highest standard of scholarly accomplishment as determined by a panel of judges chosen from emeriti professors. Finalists from each school may also be recommended for Honorable mention by the judges and will receive a certificate and a $100 cash award. Interested students should contact the Graduate Coordinator or the Office of Graduate Studies for more information.

The Project (6 Units) For Students In The Professional Communications Concentration And Communications In Tourism And Entertainment Concentration.

A project is normally completed in a 3-unit class, COMM 597. If the class is not available, it may be done independently under the supervision of a faculty member. The project is directly practical in nature, addressing problems in business rather than the more academic focus of a thesis. Although a project is still grounded in communications theory and includes research, it tends to look more like a business report than an academic paper. A project typically includes a situation analysis, theory and research application and objective, as well as a review of literature, and it includes implementation and evaluation components. Examples of projects might include, but are not limited to, communication campaigns or audits, community industry analyses, case studies, analyses of new technology or explorations of a business problem. The project may also be comprised of a body of work, such as an in-depth series of newspaper or magazine articles written for a specific publication, or a photographic exhibition.

A project proposal is required and will be defended in front of your peers and your instructor. The remainder of the semester is dedicated to executing your project with the guidance of your instructor and advisor.

Final projects are presented during the final week of class. Final approval is granted by the instructor. Incomplete projects require students to enroll in GS700 the following semester to complete the project. Projects must be filed in the office of the Graduate Coordinator before the degree can be awarded.