Journalism and Mass Communications

MS - Mass Communications

Admission Requirements

The school admits students in both fall and spring semesters. Applicants are responsible for obtaining information on admissions criteria and deadlines from the JMC School Graduate Coordinator or the main school office.

To be admitted to the program a student must:

1. Complete an application for admission to the university, submit required transcripts and pay the required application fees.

2. Complete a school application, including a 250-500 word essay on the applicant's career objectives.

3. Obtain two letters of recommendation from current or former professors and/or employers who can testify to the candidate's ability to pursue an advanced academic degree. At least one recommendation letter must be from a current or former professor unless the applicant has not taken any courses during the previous five years.

4. Foreign students must score at least 600 on the TOEFL and must demonstrate English proficiency in a written essay.

5. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required of all applicants. The GRE score for the verbal, quantitative and analytical sections should be about 1050; the verbal score should be about 550.

6. Grade point averages are given considerable weight in evaluating applications, but are not the sole criterion. An applicant should have an average of 3.0 or better (3.3 for foreign students) in the last two years of undergraduate study and the undergraduate major. Exceptions may be made for applicants if the candidate has had significant professional experience in the mass media, offers strong letters of recommendation, strong GRE scores or other evidence indicating a potential for success in graduate study. In addition to the school application, letters of recommendation and GRE scores should be sent directly to the graduate coordinator. In addition to sending official transcripts to the university, send unofficial copies of the transcripts to the graduate coordinator.

Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing

Students must meet requirements for admission to the Graduate Division; however, no particular specialization in undergraduate work is required of a candidate.

Requirements for Admission to Conditionally Classified Standing

Applicants who have less than a 550 verbal GRE score but who otherwise have strong records may be admitted, contingent on the completion of three to six units of writing courses in the School as prerequisites to the MS program. Prerequisites (writing and/or statistics courses) will not be included in the 30-unit program.

Requirements for Admission to Candidacy

To be admitted to candidacy for the Master of Science degree, a student must first meet the all-university requirements for the degree as stated in this catalog. The University requires that all graduate students complete the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) as a condition for advancement to candidacy. Please refer to the SJSU catalog section titled "Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement" for details. For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, please refer to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations website at

The applicant must demonstrate an aptitude for advanced work in communications, as measured by instructor appraisals, evaluation of previous academic work, recommendations by qualified professionals or other assessments.

The applicant will meet with the graduate coordinator to develop a formal course of study. The M.S. degree-approved program will be individually designed to meet the specific objectives of each student. It will take into consideration the nature of previous undergraduate work and post-graduate work completed, as well as any professional and related occupational experience. The proposed graduate program must be approved by the graduate coordinator before the student may be considered a candidate for the MS - Mass Communications.

Completing Requirements for the M.S. - Mass Communications

Plan A (with Thesis)

Plan A requires successful completion of an acceptable thesis and an oral presentation of the thesis to a faculty/student audience. The thesis proposal must be approved by the graduate committee which will assign three advisers to work with the candidate on the thesis.

Plan B (with Project)

Plan B requires a professionally-oriented project employing multiple media and an oral presentation to a faculty-student audience. Projects should reflect the values of journalism, advertising, or public relations. A project proposal must be approved by the graduate committee. When the proposal is approved, the graduate coordinator will assign two advisors to work with the candidate throughout the project. Presentation of the product must be in a form suitable for library storage.

Plan C (Comprehensive Papers)

This option requires taking an additional graduate elective in the School and completing three units of MCOM 298 by researching and writing two 30-40 page comprehensive exam papers: one in media communications and one in the candidate's specialty area.

New prerequisites for program: MCOM 063 (New Media) or equivalent. Demonstrated proficiency in media writing.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
Requirements of the Masters30
Plan A (Thesis)24
MCOM 210. Media and Social IssuesGWAR3
MCOM 215. New Media Visionaries3
MCOM 270. Communication Law and Public Policy3
MCOM 290. Theory of Mass CommunicationsGWAR3
MCOM 295. Mass Communications Research3
MCOM 298. Special Studies in Mass Communications1-6
MCOM 299. Master's Thesis3-6
Plan B (Project)24
MCOM 210. Media and Social IssuesGWAR3
MCOM 215. New Media Visionaries3
MCOM 270. Communication Law and Public Policy3
MCOM 284. Interactive Project Management3
MCOM 285. New Media Technologies3
MCOM 290. Theory of Mass CommunicationsGWAR3
MCOM 295. Mass Communications Research3
MCOM 298. Special Studies in Mass Communications1-6
University Electives6
Courses at 100- or 200-level in the school or other departments, related to the candidate's career objective, chosen with the coordinator's approval.

Total Units:30