Master of Arts

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

The Communication Studies Department offers a Masters of Arts degree in Communication Studies. Our program provides students with advanced instruction in the major theories and research methods in the academic discipline of communication. Our graduates typically go on to doctoral programs or become communication instructors at the community college level. We provide students with a broad foundation in the discipline of communication. As such, we do not offer areas of specialty, but students can take a variety of elective courses. To learn more about the program, see the University Catalog and List of Graduate Faculty.

Admissions Process:

Review of applications will begin on February 15, 2021 and will continue through April, should space remain. We encourage applicants to have all of their materials submitted to the university and the department by February 15th for best consideration.

**COVID-19 UPDATE:  Please do not send 2021 application materials by mail to the COMM Dept. office on campus — Our building is closed during the pandemic.**

Campus is closed, so no staff will be there to receive applications or letters of recommendation that are sent through mail. Instead, please email all application materials & have your recommenders email their forms/letters to Documents should only be sent as PDF files.

Applicants will get a notification of receipt once you submit materials by email.


Applicants must complete a University Application using  Cal State Apply AND a Department Application and Checklist by the February 15, 2021 deadline.

International students must apply to the University through International Admissions AND submit a Department Application and Checklist.

Admission Requirements:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year college or university posted by the start of the Fall semester. The bachelor’s degree does not need to be in the field of communication. However, students with degrees in other areas may be asked to take several prerequisite courses.
  2. For international students, either a TOEFL score of 80 (internet based version) or 550 (paper version), or other exam formats like the IELTS are accepted. For more information on international admissions, visit International Admissions. International applicants should apply through Cal State Apply and be sure to submit an International Application for admission instead of the general graduate application. For more information about supporting application documents required by the university, international students should visit
  3. Good fit with the department goals and faculty.
  4. A minimum GPA of 3.0.
  5. GRE scores of 292 with at least 146 verbal and 146 quantitative. If you took the GRE before 8/1/11, you need a combined score 900 with no less than 400 verbal and 400 quantitative.
  6. Applicants must have three (3) completed Recommendation Forms received by February 15, 2020. Click here for fillable PDF version of recommendation form: Graduate-Recommendation-Form_COMM.

Graduate Handbook:

For the policies and procedures of our graduate program, please visit the University Catalog and the Graduate Handbook.

Graduate Courses:

We offer elective courses in the following areas: interpersonal communication, conflict, gender and family, organizational communication, intercultural communication, rhetorical criticism, performance studies, public address, popular culture, persuasion, instructional communication, and study abroad opportunities. Each semester we offer required courses and two or three electives. The program is 30 units. Most students finish in 2 years by taking 2 or 3 courses per semester. For more information about courses, see the Course Descriptions in the University catalog.

Program Costs:

Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice. To understand how this breaks down into a cost per semester, please see the tuition schedule for the University here:

State University Grant:

The State University Grant (SUG) program provides need-based awards to eligible undergraduate and graduate/postbaccalaureate students who are California residents or otherwise determined as eligible, such as AB 540-eligible students. When you apply for financial aid via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act application (CADA) you are considered for a SUG by your campus. 

For more information, click here (

State University Grant (SUG) Program

The State University Grant (SUG) program provides need-based awards to eligible undergraduate and graduate/post-baccalaureate students who are California residents or otherwise determined as eligible, such as AB 540-eligible students.


Students in good standing are eligible to be hired as both a Teaching Associate and Graduate Assistant with a total combined hours of no more than 20 a week (see TA and GA position details below).

Teaching Associates:

Students in good standing are eligible to be hired for teaching associate positions (TA). Typically, TAs receive a stipend of up to $668.00 to $682.00 per month, per 3-unit course, paid out in six months.  If qualified, TAs typically teach multiple sections of lower division activity sections including interpersonal communication, public speaking, and argumentation and debate. 

Graduate Assistants:

Students in good standing are also eligible to be hired as graduate assistants (GA). GAs perform a combination of duties, which may include assisting professors with large lecture courses, assisting with department programs such as the Hauth Center, InterACT Troupe, or Speech and Debate. The stipend for a GA position can range from $668.00 to $1075.00 per month depending on hours assigned.  This is paid out in four months.

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These positions do not include a waiver for tuition or fees. Additional funding opportunities may be available through our Centers and Programs.

Please see the following link for a complete description and requirement of duties:


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is graduate school like at CSULB?

See our Masters FAQ for any other questions you may have.

If you have questions about the program or the admission process, please contact the graduate advisor, Dr. Christopher Duerringer at