Master of Arts (MA) in Communication

The MA in Communication offers areas of specialization that reflect the expertise of the faculty within the program. Our faculty work within sociocultural and sociotechnical perspectives to help students gain knowledge in key areas in the field of communication, including social media, strategic communication, intercultural communication, emerging information and communication technologies, journalism, and communication policy and planning.

Learn more about the Communication Program.

Contact Us

(808) 956-8881

COM Courses

Additional Details

Prospective MA students in Communication are encouraged to familiarize themselves with our faculty. We welcome applications from individuals whose academic interests match our expertise.


The application deadline for Fall admission is January 15. We offer Fall admissions only.

The application process has two steps:

Step 1: Complete Online Graduate Divison Application

Applicants must complete the online application as provided by Graduate Division. All questions concerning the application and associated requirements should be directed to Graduate Division. There is an application fee. GRE exam results are not required.

Step 2: Submit Supplemental Documents

Applicants must submit the following documents, if applicable:

  • Statement of Objectives (1-2 pages) describing your academic objectives and how our program will help you meet these objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic accomplishments, like former professors, are preferred.
  • English Proficiency Exams
    • TOEFL scores: For students from non-English-speaking countries the minimum score is 80.
    • IELTS scores: Minimum score is 6.5 for the overall band test results.

The MA in Communication requires the completion of 33 credit hours with at least a 3.0 grade point average including:

1. Foundation Courses (6 credits, each passed with a B or higher)

  • COM 611: Communication Theories (3)
  • COM 612: Communication Inquiry (3)

2. Core Courses (6 credits)

Students must complete at least two core courses from our three areas of specialization:

  1. Organizational and Intercultural Communication
    • COM 623: Strategic Organizational Communication (3)
    • COM 643: Intercultural Communication (3)
  2. Telecommunication and New Media
    • COM 633: Information and Communication Technologies (3)
    • COM 634: Social Media (3)
  3. Global Communication and Journalism
    • COM 644: Global Communication and Journalism (3)
    • COM 645: Digital Storytelling (3)

3. Communications Seminar (3 credits)

  • COM 691: Communication Topics (3) (repeatable for different topics, up to six credits)

4. Program Electives (12 credits)

These credits can be earned from any combination of the following:

  • Additional core courses or seminars
  • COM 646: Intervention in Multicultural Organizations (3)
  • COM 660: ICT Policy and Planning (3)
  • COM 692: Communication Research Seminar (3)
  • COM 699: Directed Reading and Research (V)
  • COM 695: Communication Practicum (V) (repeatable up to six credits)
  • Courses from the Telecommunication and Information Resource Management (TIRM) certificate program: COM 680, 681, 682, 683, 684
  • 400-level augmented undergraduate courses (maximum 6 credits, requires the approval of committee chair)
  • Graduate courses outside the program (maximum 6 credits, requires the approval of committee chair)

5. Capstone Activity (6 credits)

  • For Plan A students: COM 700: Thesis (V) (repeatable up to six credits)
  • For Plan B students: COM 695: Communication Practicum (V) (repeatable up to six credits)

Additional Notes

MA students assume the primary responsibility for their own progress. As such, students are expected to:

  • Understand the program requirements.
  • Make timely progress through the various stages of the program.
  • Assume responsibility for the timely completion and submission of the required progress forms.

Students are also expected to familiarize themselves with the requirements Graduate Division and the University of Hawaiʻi as described in the University Catalog and on the Graduate Division website.

Students earning an MA in Communication will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate subject mastery in areas of communication relevant to personal research interests.
  2. Identify research questions on a contemporary issue in communication, and perform a critical, written analysis of the relevant literature.
  3. Develop specific research questions related to personal research interests.
  4. Identify an appropriate, empirical methodology (or media approach) to address the selected research problem.
  5. Demonstrate mastery of the methodology and techniques specific to the field of study. Analyze and interpret research data.
  6. Present and discuss, in written form, the findings and relevance of the research project to the field of communication and to broader society.
  7. Present, discuss, and defend the findings and relevance of the research project to the field of communication in an oral defense.

Public relations professionals; Social media strategists; Strategic planning professionals; Public policy analysts; Communication technology specialists; Multimedia production professionals; Non-profit fundraiser and outreach specialists; Intercultural specialists and trainers; New media producers.