Department of Communication
Statue of Jane Adams in the Peace Garden silhouetted by the Library.
The Master of Arts (M.A.) graduate program in the Department of Communication is a comprehensive 30-unit course of study reflecting the breadth of the communication discipline. The graduate program is rooted in the diverse backgrounds and interests of the department faculty. The program also reflects the faculty’s commitment to a program grounded in the traditional as well as contemporary approaches to the study of rhetoric, culture, and communication studies.
The program is committed to providing a quality education to students in two primary categories: (1) students pursuing an advanced degree in preparation for further graduate study and/or for teaching in higher education, and (2) students pursuing a graduate degree that will further equip them with knowledge and skills in the discipline of rhetoric, culture, and communication studies.
Our degree program involves 30 units of intensive study covering a range of communication topics including: Communication Theory, Rhetorical Theory, Communication Science Research Methods, Argumentation, Cultural Communication, Environmental Communication, Organizational Communication, Mediated Communication, Performance Studies, and Rhetorical Criticism.
Our unique curriculum offers a thesis, applied project, or comprehensive examination option to complete the Masters degree.
Apply to the Communication Master of Arts program
The Communication M.A. program accepts applications once a year for students to commence enrollment in the following academic year. For Fall 2023, you can begin application as early as October 1, 2023. The Communication M.A. program has set a priority deadline for admission as February 1, 2024. We have a final deadline for admission of April 1, 2024. Applicants must apply to the university and submit all program application materials through Cal State Apply. Applicants must meet both university and program admission requirements. The Director of Admissions and Recruitment will contact you with official communication regarding an application decision.
Steps to Apply
Step #1: Learn More about the Discipline
Learn more about our discipline by looking at information from the International Communication Association, National Communication Association, or the Rhetoric Society of America. Look up articles in journals in our field, like the Communication, Culture, & Critique; Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies; Communication and Race; Critical Studies in Media Communication; Human Communication Research; Journal of Communication; Journal of International and Intercultural Communication; Quarterly Journal of Speech; Text & Performance Quarterly; Visual Communication; the Western Journal of Communication, and Women's Studies in Communication. Your university library probably has a subscription to Communication & Mass Media Complete (EBSCO), and you can search for articles in a lot of these journals there.
Step #2: Learn More about the Communication M.A. Program
Familiarize yourself with the Communication M.A. program at California State University, Fresno. Read about the graduate program and our faculty on the Communication department website. Look at our Graduate Handbook. Attend an information session. Contact the Graduate Coordinator with questions. Envision how you might fit within our program. Make a list of the courses you are excited to take with us. Begin to plan your application.
Step #3: Apply to the University
Apply for university admission by following the link to Cal State Apply. The university requires a $70 application fee and official transcripts. If you are an international student, you may need to submit a TOEFL score. International applicants should follow the link to the International Office for current requirements and submit your application via their site.
Step #4: Seek Financial Support
Apply for financial aid and scholarships, as needed. Fill out a general scholarship application for California State University, Fresno, as will as a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).The deadline for these applications are earlier than the university and program application. The Division of Research and Graduate Studies also offers several funding opportunities for incoming students. Seek external scholarships and grants, and apply for any that pertain to your situation.
You may (but are not required to) apply for a position as a Graduate Teaching Associate.
A separate employment application is requred; these associateships are awarded competitively.
The deadline to apply for a Graduate Teaching Associateship is February 1, 2024. For
more information, visit the Teaching Associates Program tab on this website.
Program Admission Requirements
The Communication M.A. program uses a holistic admission review process that considers standard academic metrics like transcripts, confidential outside assessment like recommendations, demonstrated abilities like the writing sample, and self-offered appraisement and declaration of goals like the statement of purpose. We consider the applicant's fit with our program as well as their demonstrated potential to succeed at advanced study.
Communication M.A. Admission Overview
For All Students: GRE Not Required
For All Students: 3.0 GPA or Higher (Campus or Cumulative) Required
For All Students: Specific Materials Required via Cal State Apply
- Applicants must submit a writing sample. This writing sample should be an academic essay devoted to a sustained analysis of a text, communication phenomenon, or theory. This academic essay should be a mimimum of 3,000 words in length. The essay should demonstrate sound argumentation, logical organization, advance an innovative claim, adhere to a specific style guide (e.g., APA, Chicago, or MLA), and be free of mechanical errors (e.g., grammar, spelling, punctuation). Most applicants supply a revised version of an essay they developed for an undergraduate course.
- Applicants must have at least three letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf. The recommendations should speak to the applicant's ability to excel in graduate school. For example, these letters often address reading and writing skills, time and project management skills, and a pattern of initiative, creativity, and/or academic excellence. These letters will be uploaded by the persons writing the recommendation, not by the applicant. When completing the overall application, the applicant will provide the contact information for the recommendation letter writers within Cal State Apply. The university will then contact the letter writers via email, instructing them how to upload the recommendation letter. The applicant need not wait for the recommendation letters to complete the remainder of the application.
- Applicants must submit a statement of purpose (note: this is different from a personal history!). Explain why you want to join our Communication M.A. program at California State University, Fresno. The applicant's statement of purpose should be a minimum of 500 words and address the following questions: (a) What goals and objectives do you hope to accomplish by completing a master's degree? (b) How might our program in particular support your goals and objectives? (c) What areas do you want to study and research? Which faculty members do you anticipate working with if you are accepted to our program? (d) What specific academic and/or professional experiences have prepared you for graduate study? and (e) If necessary, account for any areas of your application that do not meet our minimum requirements.
For International Applicants: TOEFL Required
For international students, the program requires a minimum TOEFL CB/PB/IB score of 250/600/100. The TOEFL score should be submitted to the International Office. If you earned a degree at an English-speaking institution outside of the United States (e.g., Nigeria), note the International Office's site lists those countries exempted from this requirement.
Links and Forms
Graduate Course Rotation
Incoming, first-year students all are required to take Introduction to Graduate Studies in Communication during their first semester. In addition, all students are required to complete COMM 241, COMM 262, and at least one of the two methods courses (COMM 242M or COMM 264M) to complete the degree. You can find complete details about the requirements for the course of study for master's students in the Graduate Handbook.
Graduate Teaching Associates
A number of Graduate Teaching Associateship (GTA) positions are available to students who are accepted to and enrolled in the Communication M.A. program. Qualifications for an associateship include previous records of outstanding achievement in academic work, outstanding subject matter competence in Communication, and the special qualities necessary to the teaching duties assigned. These associateships are awarded competitively. The exact number of positions available vary each year.
GTAs typically teach two sections of a lower-division General Education course (COMM 3 or Fundamentals of Public Communication (Public Speaking)) under the close supervision of the Graduate Teaching Associate Coordinator.
Eligibility for an initial associateship requires both (1) possession of a baccalaureate degree and (2) admission to the Communication M.A. program. Subsequent appointments require that students maintain a 3.0 GPA, be enrolled in coursework toward their graduate degree, and demonstrate satisfactory progress toward completion of the Commmunication M.A.
Application to be a Graduate Teaching Association is separate from the application for admission to the Communication M.A. program. To apply to be a GTA, please submit materials to the follow link. If you are a continuing Communication M.A. graduate student but are applying to be a Graduate Teaching Associate for the first time, submit materials to the following link and also please email submission of a PDF of a writing sample and PDFs of three letters of recommendation from faculty to the Graduate Teaching Associate Coordinator.
The deadline to apply is February 1, 2022. However, applications are accepted as early as October 1, 2021.
Teaching Associate Coordinators
Graduate Teaching Associate Coordinator
Dr. Diane Blair
email@example.com | Phone: 559.278.8578