Master’s in Communication in California

The Golden State offers a wealth of graduate level communications programs across the state. From online courses, traditional classroom programs and hybrid formats, there is sure to be a master's in communication program to suit every prospective student and in every region of the state.

California's major industries, including agriculture, entertainment, technology and tourism all have a need for expert communications specialists. A large number of small businesses and professional communications firms also offer ample job opportunities for graduates of master's in communication programs.

See below for details about master's in communications programs available in each region of California.

Los Angeles Metro Area / Southern California Master’s in Communication Programs

One of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, the Los Angeles area offers several options for master's-level communication degrees. Major industries in L.A., including entertainment, media, tourism, finance and technology offer a wealth of potential job opportunities following graduation. Sample job titles may include public relations account executive, publicist, writer/editor, and advertising executive, among many others.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University in Riverside offers an online Master of Arts in Communication program.

What to Know: The 30-credit hour online only program aims to prepare students for a variety of communication careers in the areas of business, public health communication, community relations, advertising and market research, teaching and law.

What Does It Cost?: The cost for per unit is $585, with a total program cost estimated to be around $17,000.

Anything Else?: The program is generally completed in 12 months.

California State University - Fullerton

California State University in Fullerton offers a traditional classroom Master of Arts in Communication program with three options for concentrations.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication program allows students to choose from three concentrations: Communication, Tourism & Entertainment, Professional Communications and Communications Research and Theory.

What Does It Cost?: Graduate level tuition and fees for California residents taking seven or more units per semester is estimated at $4,143 per semester, with an additional $396 per unit fee charged to non-residents.

Anything Else?: The program admits new students in the fall quarter with a deadline of May 4.

California State University - Long Beach

California State University in Long Beach offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies program as a traditional on campus program.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program provides students with advanced instructions in the major theories and research methods in communication with graduates typically going on to doctoral programs or to become communication instructors.

What Does It Cost?: The yearly tuition and fees for in-state students is $6,302 and for non-residents is $11,882.

Anything Else?: The program admits new students in the fall semester only with a deadline of February 15.

California State University - Los Angeles

California State University in Los Angeles offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies program as a traditional on campus program.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program is designed to provide students with an understanding of research methods and theories that explore the nature and functions of human communication in various areas including interpersonal and organizational communication, intercultural communication, and performance studies among others. The program requires that students select and develop an area of specialization.

What Does It Cost?: Graduate level tuition and fees for California residents taking seven or more units per semester is estimated at $4,033 per semester, with an additional $396 per unit fee charged to non-residents.

Anything Else?: The program admits new students in the fall semester with a deadline of February 15.

California State University - Northridge

California State University in Northridge offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies program as a traditional on campus program.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program provides advanced study in human communication to prepare students to pursue academic and professional career paths. The program includes coursework in performance, language and cultural studies, rhetorical studies, and communication theory.

What Does It Cost?: Graduate level tuition and fees for California residents taking seven or more units per semester is estimated at $4,152 per semester, with an additional $270 per unit fee charged to non-residents.

Anything Else?: The program is comprised of 33 units of coursework, and students will choose to finish the program with comprehensive studies, a thesis or an applied scholarly project.

California State University - San Bernardino

California State University in San Bernardino offers an on-campus Master of Arts in Communication program with two tracks for students to choose from.

What to Know: Students of in the Master of Arts in Communication program allows students to choose from a Communication Studies track or an Integrated Marketing Communication track. The Communication Studies track requires 47 units of study and four core classes, and the Integrated Marketing Communication track requires 50 units of study and five core classes. Both tracks have the capstone options of thesis, project or comprehensive exam.

What Does It Cost?: For in-state students, tuition and fees are $2,779 per quarter for full-time graduate students. For non-residents there is an additional fee of $264 per unit.

Anything Else?: The program only accepts students for the fall term. Completed applications received by February 28 receive first priority, while applications received between February 28 and May 15 receive second priority.

Chapman University

Chapman University in Orange offers a Master of Science in Health & Strategic Communication program that focuses on the intersection of health and communication.

What to Know: The Master of Science in Health & Strategic Communication program, which can be completed in one or two years, allows students to study the role of effective communication in medical settings, health promotion and education and physical and mental well-being.

What Does It Cost?: The cost per credit for the program is $1,095, which does not include additional mandatory fees.

Anything Else?: Chapman University School of Communication reviews applications for admission on a rolling basis.

University of Southern California

The University of California at Davis offers several masters-level communications degrees, including one online program and many traditional on campus programs.

What to Know: The University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism offers several master's level programs including a Master of Journalism program, Master of Specialized Journalism, a Master of Communication Management, a Master of Digital Social Media, and a graduate program in Strategic Public Relations. USC also offers two dual degree programs, and an online Master of Communication Management program. The Master of Communication Informatics program is a cross-disciplinary joint degree from USC Annenberg and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering that prepares students to be experts in the emerging field of data science for communication. The dual degree in Global Communication is a joint degree program between USC Annenberg and the London School of Economics & Political Science that allows students to study in California and London. The fully online Master of Arts in Communication Management program is aimed at new and experienced working professionals who want to become leaders in their chosen communication fields.

What Does It Cost?: Tuition for master's students at USC is estimated at $36,000 per year for students taking a full-time course load of up to 10 credits per semester.

Anything Else?: Application deadlines vary depending on the program selected. For a full listing of application deadlines, see the USC Annenberg Admissions page.

San Francisco Bay Area Master’s In Communication Programs

The San Francisco Bay Area, the country's leading technology industry hub, offers aspiring communications professionals several options for master's in communications programs. Several programs specifically prepare students for work as digital media content producers, social media managers and digital media strategists.

California State University - East Bay

California State University - East Bay in Concord offers a Master of Arts in Communication program in a traditional classroom format.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication program is a 45-credit hour program that culminates in a thesis, project or comprehensive exam. Students construct programs based in theory and research and complemented with specialized seminars in rhetoric, organizational or interpersonal communication, media studies and political communication.

What Does It Cost?: Graduate level tuition and fees for California residents is estimated at $8,268 per year, and $14,604 per year for non-residents.

Anything Else?: The program admits new students in the fall quarter only. The deadline for applications for early review is February 25th and the deadline to submit materials for late review is May 31st.

San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies program in an on campus format.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program has a focus on social justice and includes advanced study of communication processes to understand complex human problems and discern ethical choices in local and global communities.

What Does It Cost?: Graduate level tuition and fees for California residents taking seven or more units per semester is estimated at $4,346 per semester, with an additional $396 per unit fee charged to non-residents.

Anything Else?: Full-time students generally take two years to complete the program.

San Jose State University

San Jose State University offers two graduate level communication programs on campus: a Master of Arts in Communication Studies program and a Master of Science in Mass Communications program.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program is a 35-unit program that combines study of the following areas: Intercultural Communication, Organizational Communication, Performance Studies, Cultural Studies Interpersonal Communication and Crisis and Conflict Resolution. The Master of Science in Mass Communications program is designed to help public relations, advertising and journalism professionals expand their knowledge and develop research and multimedia skills needed for leadership positions in their respective fields. Courses are taught mostly in the evening to accommodate students working daytime jobs.

What Does It Cost?: Graduate level tuition and fees for California residents taking seven or more units per semester is estimated at $4,577 per semester, with an additional $396 per unit fee charged to non-residents.

Anything Else?: The application deadline for the Master of Arts in Communication Studies is March 1 for admission to the fall semester. The application for the Master of Science in Mass Communications is April 1 for admission to the falls semester.

Stanford University

Stanford University offers a co-terminal Master of Arts in Communication degree program for undergraduate students at Stanford to complete a bachelor's degree and master's degree simultaneously.

What to Know: Students can choose from two tracks within the co-terminal program: Journalism or Media Studies.

What Does It Cost?: Students can calculate tuition for their co-terminal program based on their undergraduate tuition group by checking with the Registrar's Office.

Anything Else?: The application deadline for the Master of Arts in Communication program is January 31st. Master’s admissions offering is ONLY for Stanford undergrads.

Sacramento / Northern California Master’s In Communication Programs

As the capital of California, Sacramento offers graduates of master's in communication programs several job opportunities in politics and local and state government as political consultants, campaign strategists, lobbyists, communications directors for non-profit organizations and public relations strategists.

California State University - Chico

California State University in Chico offers a traditional classroom Master of Arts in Communication Studies program.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program offers coursework in rhetoric, communication theory and philosophy, political communication, interpersonal and intercultural communication, and allows students to choose between either thesis or comprehensive examination plans of study.

What Does It Cost?: Graduate level tuition and fees for California residents taking six or more units per semester is estimated at $4,393 per semester, with an additional $396 per unit fee charged to non-residents.

Anything Else?: Qualified graduate students may apply for graduate teaching assistant-ships that come with stipends and provide students with professional teaching experience.

California State University - Fresno

California State University in Fresno offers a Master of Arts in Communication program in a traditional classroom format.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication program is a 30-credit hour program that culminates in a thesis, project or comprehensive exam. The program involves study focused on diverse communication contexts, including communication theory, rhetorical study, organizational communication, interpersonal communication, research methods, group communication, family communication, health communication and intercultural communication.

What Does It Cost?: Graduate level tuition and fees for California residents taking seven or more units per semester is estimated at $4,012 per semester, with an additional $396 per unit fee charged to non-residents.

Anything Else?: The program admits new students in the fall quarter with a deadline of April 1.

California State University - Sacramento

California State University in Sacramento offers a Master of Arts in Communication Studies program as a traditional on campus program.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program provides advanced study in instructional, organizational, interpersonal, health, rhetorical, mass and digital communication. Students develop expertise in their chosen area of study through coursework, collaborative projects and mentoring relationships.

What Does It Cost?: For in-state students, tuition is $6,738, without fees. For non-residents, there is an extra fee of $372 per unit.

Anything Else?: Deadlines for application are January 15 for fall admission and September 15 for spring admission.

University of California - Davis

The University of California at Davis offers an on-campus Master of Arts in Communication program.

What to Know: Students gain advanced qualitative and quantitative skills necessary for professional research and teaching in the areas of social interaction, mediated communication and the development of communication theories.

What Does It Cost?: The current graduate tuition cost for California residents is $13,608 per year and $28,710 for non-residents.

Anything Else?: The priority application deadline is January 5, and the general application deadline is April 15.

San Diego Masters In Communication Programs

San Diego's major employers are military and defense, biotechnology and medical, tourism and hospitality, and information technology industries. A wide variety of industries and businesses to choose from, graduates may seek careers as healthcare communication experts, technology and corporate communications experts, hospitality publicists and government relations liaisons among many others.

National University

National University in La Jolla offers an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program aims to prepare students for professional positions in communications by teaching theoretical and practical approaches to developing strategic communications programs.

What Does It Cost?: The cost per unit for graduate level courses at National University is $416.

Anything Else?: The program learning outcomes include production of multi-public, multi-channel communication campaigns, manage campaigns by developing budgets, task lists and schedules, applying formative research to campaigns and messages, create persuasive campaigns, deliver communication presentations online and demonstrate leadership and collaborative skills.

San Diego State University

The School of Communication at San Diego State University offers a Master of Arts in Communications Studies program in a traditional, on campus format.

What to Know: The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program prepares students for a career in academia or developing their research and analytic skills for careers in corporate, non-profit and governmental organizations.

What Does It Cost?: Tuition and fees for graduate students who are California residents is $8,922 per year and $16,050 per year for non-residents.

Anything Else?: Full-time students generally take two years to complete the program.

California Colleges That Offer Master's in Communications Programs

SchoolContact Information
California Baptist University
10370 Hemet Street, Suite 200
Riverside, CA 92503
(951) 343-3900
California State University - Chico
Tehama Hall, Room 201
Chico, CA 95929
(530) 898-5751
California State University - East Bay
3011 Meiklejohn Hall
Hayward, CA 94542
(510) 885-3292
California State University - Fresno
5201 North Maple Ave
Fresno, CA 93740
(559) 278-2826
California State University - Fullerton
2600 Nutwood Ave., CP 400
Fullerton, CA 92834
(657) 278-5434
California State University - Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90840
(562) 985-4301
California State University - Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 343-4200
California State University - Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street - Manzanita Hall Rm 220
Northridge, CA 91330
(818) 677-3135
California State University - Sacramento
Mendocino Hall 5014 - 6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 278-6688
California State University - San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway, University Hall, Room 018
San Bernardino, CA 92407
(909) 537-5815
Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 997-6815
National University
11255 N Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037
(714) 429-5311
Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
(310) 506-4211
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92812
(619) 594-8512
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-1597
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192
(408) 924-3240
Stanford University
Building 120, Room 110 - 450 Serra Mall
Stanford , CA 94305
(650) 723-1941
UC California - Davis
462 Kerr Hall - One Sheilds Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 752-3464
UC California - Santa Barbara
4005 Social Sciences & Media Studies
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
(805) 893-4479
University of Southern California
3551 Trousdale Pkwy
Los Angeles, CA 90089
(213) 284-7976