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The Department of Communicology offers a master’s degree (M.A.) program emphasizing the central processes and functions of human communication: message processing, interpersonal communication, persuasion/social influence, and intercultural communication. Students in our M.A. program usually have a strong undergraduate background in Communicology, Communication, Psychology, or a related discipline.

Graduate Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the M.A. program in Communicology, students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate mastery of theories of communication, particularly in the areas of relational, persuasion/social influence, and message processing functions;
  • Demonstrate mastery of fundamentals of research design and analysis in communication;
  • Demonstrate an integrative and systematic understanding of the human communication process;
  • Conduct independent social scientific research;
  • Orally articulate ideas/positions and respond to questions cogently and thoughtfully;
  • In written form, articulate ideas/positions and synthesize research; and
  • Demonstrate presentation and teaching effectiveness.


The Department offers two tracks for completing a M.A. degree: Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis: applied project or comprehensive exams). Students must choose between Plan A and Plan B by the end of their second semester of study.

Plan A Overview

The Plan A option involves the completion of an original empirical research project overseen by a level 2 or level 3 graduate faculty member. Thesis projects are intended to be scholarly work in the field of communication. A thesis must be initially proposed and later defended to an advisory committee comprised of graduate faculty members (an advisor and two other graduate faculty members). Thesis candidates must present an acceptable written thesis and pass a final oral examination of the thesis.

Plan B Overview

Plan B is a non-thesis option that requires candidates to complete either (a) an applied research project or (b) pass a written comprehensive exam. This option is overseen by a level 2 or level 3 graduate faculty member. Candidates must also pass a final oral examination based on their research project or written responses in the comprehensive exam. The advisory committee for an applied project or comprehensive exam consists of an advisor and two graduate faculty members.

(a) Applied Research Project Option. The applied research project requires a candidate to complete a project that draws on research and theory in communication. There is flexibility in the format that these projects take. Examples of possible projects include conducting a study designed to assess the state of affairs in a local organization and proposing solutions; testing a problem-solving solution in a local organization or other context; and writing a text (e.g., book or training manual) for a specific audience addressing communication-related issues.

(b) Comprehensive Exam Option. The comprehensive exam option requires a candidate to provide written responses to questions developed by his or her advisory committee and to orally defend those responses to the advisory committee. All candidates must respond to questions assessing their understanding of communication theory and research construed broadly. Additionally, candidates must respond to questions specific to their individual course of study.


To earn a M.A. degree, all students must complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate work. Of these credits, at least 27 must be completed in Communicology courses numbered 601 and above. All students are required to take and successfully complete COMG 601 (Theories of Communicology) and COMG 602 (Research Methods in Communicology). Students who wish to complete the thesis option are also required to take and successfully complete COMG 702 (Advanced Research Methods in Communicology).

Courses from allied disciplines may be counted toward the M.A. degree in Communicology and, on rare occasions, an upper-division undergraduate Communicology course may be used toward the M.A. degree in Communicology. However, prior written approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the candidate’s faculty advisor MUST be obtained before either enrolling in a graduate course outside of Communicology or enrolling in an upper-division Communicology course for graduate course credit.

Click here for course descriptions in UH Mānoa Course Catalog:
UHM Course Catalog

Click here for sample graduate course syllabi:
Course Syllabi

Click here for class availability:
Course Availability

Click here for course schedule draft:
Schedule Draft


DEADLINE EXTENDED: Priority Deadline for Fall 2019: February 28, 2019. Applications accepted and considered on a rolling basis after this date.

Step 1: Complete the University of Hawai‘i Graduate Division Application

To apply to the M.A. program in Communicology, you first need to apply to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Please see and follow the instructions from the Graduate Division: How to Apply.
Apply to UH Manoa

Step 2: Complete the Department of Communicology Application

  1. Take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and send your GRE scores to the Department of Communicology's Director of Graduate Studies. International applicants must also take the TOEFL. A minimum TOEFL score of 100 (Internet)/600 (paper) is required for admission to the Department of Communicology's M.A. program.

  2. Write a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies expressing your interest in the graduate program. If you are seeking a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA), indicate this request in your letter and discuss your teaching aspirations and capabilities. Applicants should be aware that you may be asked to participate in either an in-person or remote (online) interview.

  3. Send three letters of recommendation to the Department of Communicology Director of Graduate Studies, preferably written by professors with whom you have studied.
  • Complete, print, and sign three copies of the Recommendation Form for the Graduate Program in Communicology and provide one form to each individual who will be writing you a letter of recommendation.
  • Recommendation Form

  • Writers of letters of recommendation should comment on your preparation and potential for success in graduate school.

  • If you wish to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship, writers of your letters of reference should also comment on your teaching potential.
  • 4. Submit your Department of Communicology application materials to:

  • Director of Graduate Studies
    Department of Communicology
    University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
    2560 Campus Road, George Hall 326
    Honolulu, HI 96822


The Department of Communicology recognizes graduate students with two annual awards.

Outstanding Graduate Student Award

This award recognizes academic excellence, outstanding research that leads to a conference paper(s) or publication(s) and/or departmental citizenship.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

This award recognizes a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Communicology who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in teaching.

Click here for award information (includes deadlines, eligibility, selection criteria, and previous winners.) and nomination form.
Award Info

Click here for nomination form:
Nomination Form

External Funding Opportunities

Click here for financial information for graduate students:
Financial Info

Click here for general financial aid information from UH Mānoa:
Financial Aid

Click here for achievement scholarships:
Learn More


Our M.A. graduate students are prepared for a range of careers within and outside of academia.

Academic Careers
Lecturer – University of Hawaiʻi system and mainland universities | Instructor – University of Hawaiʻi system and mainland universities | Professor – University of Hawaiʻi system and mainland universities | College Preparation Coordinator | Program Director | University Administrator | Administrative Support | Research Support | Academic Advisor

Careers Outside of Academia
Community Coordinator | Training Coordinator | Case Manager | Volunteer Services Manager | Marketing Executive | Human Resources Manager | Researcher | Business Owner | Writer and Editor | Consultant

Click here to view additional careers of our M.A. students:
More Careers
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