Communication is the study of basic human social processes: the creation and dissemination of meaning and information. The major prepares students for graduate study or professional positions in such fields as interpersonal and organizational communication, journalism, media production and criticism, political communication, and public relations. Students develop skills and knowledge that put them at the edge of a rapidly changing communication industry. Majors learn to construct and evaluate messages across platforms—web, print, audio and visual.


Students pursuing this degree must complete 39 credits within the major, with a minimum grade of C in each course.

Of the 39 credits applied to the major, no more than 10 credits may be from courses listed in the Degree Requirements. In addition to 12 credits of core courses, students take 21 credits of courses in a concentration and 6 credits of additional communication courses. Of these last 27 credits, at least 12 credits must be at the 300-400 level, no more than 6 credits may be in COMM 450 Internship in Communication, and no more than 3 credits may be in COMM 452 Media Production Practicum. COMM 479 Digital Media and Web Design Capstone cannot be used toward the major.

For policies governing all undergraduate degrees, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Banner Code: LA-BA-COM

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Core Courses

COMM 200Communication Theory3
COMM 300Rhetorical Theory and Criticism 13
COMM 305Foundations of Intercultural Communication (Mason Core)3
COMM 400Research Methods in Communication 23
Total Credits12

Must first complete COMM 200 Communication Theory with a grade of C or better.


Must first complete six credits from COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, COMM 301 Relational Communication Theory, or COMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication (Mason Core) with a grade of C or better.


Students must complete coursework in one concentration. Students may also declare a second concentration. No more than six credits can count between the two declared concentrations and no credits used within the declared concentration(s) can be used to satisfy communication elective credits. Students must declare a concentration before they earn more than 75 credits. Transfer students with 60 or more credits are encouraged to declare a concentration by the end of their first semester. COMM 399 Special Topics in Communication or other special topics courses from other concentrations may be applied toward a concentration when the topic is relevant to the concentration with prior written approval of the undergraduate director.

Concentration in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication (IOC)

Required Courses
COMM 301Relational Communication Theory (core course)3
COMM 335Organizational Communication (core course)3
Select one course from the following:3
Small Group Communication
Nonverbal Communication
Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace
Select 12 credits from the following:12
Small Group Communication
Case Studies in Persuasion
Foundations of Health Communication
Issues in Intercultural Communication
Business and Professional Communication
Nonverbal Communication
Family and Health Communication
Children and Media
Special Topics in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication
Special Topics in Health Communication
Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace
Environmental Communication
Digital Communication
Ceremonial Speech Writing and Performance
Topics in Communication and Gender
Total Credits21

Concentration in Journalism (JNL)

Required Courses
COMM 203Introduction to Journalism3
COMM 309Writing across the Media3
COMM 475Journalism Law3
Select three credits from the following:3
News Writing and Reporting
News Editing
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Newspaper Workshop I
Podcasting and Radio Workshop I
Introduction to Media Production
Media Theory
Newspaper Workshop II
News Writing and Reporting (if not taken as a required course)
News Editing (if not taken as a required course)
Broadcast Journalism
Video: Performance and Writing
Online Journalism
Multimedia Storytelling
Feature Writing
Sports Writing and Reporting
Political Journalism
Special Topics in Journalism
Free Speech and Ethics (Mason Core)
Total Credits21

Concentration in Media Production and Criticism (MPC)

Required Courses
COMM 208Introduction to Media Production3
COMM 302Media Theory3
COMM 360Digital Postproduction3
COMM 380Media Criticism3
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Podcasting and Radio Workshop I
Media and Society
Voice and Articulation
Writing across the Media
Performance for Communication Arts
Cable TV Programming and Marketing
Podcasting and Radio Workshop II
Mass Communication and Public Policy
Broadcast Journalism
Radio Production and Podcasting
Video: Performance and Writing
Multi-Camera Studio Production
Media Management
Media Career Seminar
Gender, Race, and Class in the Media
Children and Media
Sports and the Media
Digital Advertising and Promotions
Special Topics in Mass Communication
Special Topics in Production
Digital Communication
Media Production Practicum
Total Credits21

Concentration in Political Communication (PCOM)

Required Courses
COMM 302Media Theory3
COMM 327Political Communication3
COMM 430Persuasion3
COMM 454Free Speech and Ethics (Mason Core)3
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Forensics Seminar I
Forensics Seminar II
Debate Seminar I
Debate Seminar II
Case Studies in Persuasion
Basic Debate Theory and Practice
Theories of Argumentation
Business and Professional Communication
Rhetoric of Social Movements and Political Controversy (Mason Core)
Forensics Seminar III
Forensics Seminar IV
Debate Seminar III
Debate Seminar IV
Argument and Public Policy (Mason Core)
Political Journalism
Media Criticism
Special Topics in Political Communication
Politics and the Mass Media
New Media and Democracy
Environmental Communication
Topics in Communication and Gender
Total Credits21

Concentration in Public Relations (PR)

Required Courses
COMM 204Introduction to Public Relations3
COMM 308Writing for Public Relations3
COMM 331Public Relations Campaigns3
COMM 430Persuasion3
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Introduction to Journalism
Introduction to Media Production
Media Theory
Business and Professional Communication
Organizational Communication
Media Management
Argument and Public Policy (Mason Core)
Digital Advertising and Promotions
Public Relations and Social Media
Special Topics in Public Relations
Public Relations for Associations and Nonprofits
Case Studies in Public Relations
Public Relations Study Abroad
Public Relations in Practice
Environmental Communication
Free Speech and Ethics (Mason Core)
Total Credits21


Select six credits of COMM courses in consultation with an advisor 16
Total Credits6

COMM 100 Public Speaking (Mason Core) and COMM 101 Fundamentals of Communication (Mason Core) cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.

Courses Limited to 10 Credits

Of the 39 credits applied to the major, no more than 10 credits may be in these courses. In addition, no more than 6 credits of COMM 450 Internship in Communication or 3 credits of COMM 452 Media Production Practicum may be applied to the major.

Forensics Seminar I
Forensics Seminar II
Debate Seminar I
Debate Seminar II
Newspaper Workshop I
Podcasting and Radio Workshop I
Forensics Seminar III
Forensics Seminar IV
Debate Seminar III
Debate Seminar IV
Newspaper Workshop II
Podcasting and Radio Workshop II
Research Practicum in Communication
Internship in Communication
Facilitating Communication Education
Media Production Practicum
RS: Honors Research Project in Communication
RS: Research Projects in Communication
Independent Study in Communication

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated as writing intensive in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in communication fulfill this requirement by successfully completing COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following:3

Note that the following courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement:

  • PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 327 Contemporary Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 393 Humanities College to Career 
  • PHIL 460 Senior Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Additionally, PHIL 253RELI 235RELI 333, and RELI 339 cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 13
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography (Mason Core)
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of Eastern Europe and Russia
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia

The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and Mason Core requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. 


HIST 100 and HIST 125 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
American Sign Language (ASL) I
American Sign Language (ASL) II
American Sign Language (ASL) III

Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)3
ANTH 300Civilizations3
ANTH 302Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ANTH 307Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)3
ANTH 308Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)3
ANTH 309Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)3
ANTH 313Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)3
ANTH 314Zombies3
ANTH 317East Asian Cultures3
ANTH 330Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western3
ANTH 332Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)3
ANTH 381Medical Anthropology3
ANTH 396Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core)3
ARAB 360Topics in Arabic Cultural Production3
ARAB 420Survey of Arabic Literature3
ARAB 440Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core)3
ARTH 203Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 204Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 206Survey of African Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 318Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt3
ARTH 319Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core)3
ARTH 320Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core)3
ARTH 382Arts of India (Mason Core)3
ARTH 383Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core)3
ARTH 384Arts of China (Mason Core)3
ARTH 385Arts of Japan (Mason Core)3
ARTH 482RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art3
CHIN 318Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core)3
CHIN 320Contemporary Chinese Film3
CHIN 325Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core)3
CHIN 470Special Topics in Chinese Studies3
DANC 118Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core)3
ECON 361Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ECON 362African Economic Development (Mason Core)3
FREN 454Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture3
GGS 101Major World Regions (Mason Core)3
GGS 316Geography of Latin America3
GGS 317Geography of China (Mason Core)3
GGS 325Geography of North Africa and the Middle East3
GGS 399Select Topics in GGS3
GOVT 332Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa3
GOVT 333Government and Politics of Asia3
GOVT 338Government and Politics of Russia3
GOVT 340Central Asian Politics3
GOVT 341Chinese Foreign Policy3
GOVT 345Islam and Politics3
GOVT 433Political Economy of East Asia3
HIST 251Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 252Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 261Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 262Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 271Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 272Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 281Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 282Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 326Stalinism3
HIST 327The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II3
HIST 328Rise of Russia (Mason Core)3
HIST 329Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core)3
HIST 353History of Traditional China3
HIST 354Modern China (Mason Core)3
HIST 356Modern Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 357Postwar Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 358Post-1949 China (Mason Core)3
HIST 360History of South Africa (Mason Core)3
HIST 364Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 365Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 366Comparative Slavery3
HIST 387Topics in Global History (Mason Core)3-6
HIST 461Arab-Israeli Conflict3
HIST 462Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core)3
HIST 465The Middle East in the 20th Century3
JAPA 310Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core)3
JAPA 340Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core)3
JAPA 380Japan in Motion3
KORE 300Korean Culture and Society3
KORE 320Korean Popular Culture in a Global World3
KORE 385Introduction to Korean Linguistics3
MUSI 103Musics of the World (Mason Core)3
RELI 211Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core)3
RELI 212Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core)3
RELI 312Islam3
RELI 313Hinduism (Mason Core)3
RELI 314Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions3
RELI 315Buddhism (Mason Core)3
RELI 317Daoism3
RELI 318Korean Philosophy and Religions3
RELI 338Qur'an and Hadith3
RELI 342Comparative Study of Mysticism3
RELI 344Muhammad: Life and Legacy3
RELI 358Islamic Thought (Mason Core)3
RELI 367Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics3
RELI 368Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights3
RELI 490Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core)3
RUSS 353Russian Civilization (Mason Core)3
RUSS 354Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core)3
WMST 407Transnational Sexualities3

A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Global History3
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.


Minimum 3 credits required.

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sample Plan of Study 

A sample four year graduation plan and degree planning worksheet can be found at The plan is a recommended sequencing of courses based on prerequisites and scheduling. This may not fit every student's needs and is a guideline, not a requirement. Students should confirm major requirements with their academic advisor each semester and with their PatriotWeb Degree Evaluation to ensure they enroll in the proper courses and are on track to graduate.

Honors in the Major

Highly-qualified students may pursue advanced coursework leading to graduation with honors in the major.


Students are eligible to apply for honors coursework if they meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of a minimum of 75 credit hours, including COMM 200 Communication Theory and two of COMM 300 Rhetorical Theory and CriticismCOMM 301 Relational Communication TheoryCOMM 302 Media TheoryCOMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication (Mason Core).
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25 in all coursework completed at George Mason.
  • GPA of 3.50 in all communication coursework completed at George Mason and applied to the major.

Honors coursework in communication is a fall-spring sequence. Applications may be submitted by eligible students for fall semester enrollment. The deadline is March 15 each spring, for the sequence beginning the following fall. Student eligibility will be dependent on the GPA at the time of application. If accepted to pursue honors coursework, the student must then enroll in COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication. Under the guidance of the COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication instructor, the student will complete a research prospectus for an honors project to be implemented in the following semester in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication.

Honors Requirements

To remain eligible for honors coursework, the student must

  • receive a grade of 3.00 (no lower than B) in COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication;
  • have the research prospectus approved by the COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication instructor and the honors director; and
  • maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 and a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all COMM coursework completed at George Mason University and applied to the major.

In the following semester, the student enrolls in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication. The student conducts his/her research and prepares a written project conforming to the standards set by the instructor. Upon completion of the project, the COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication instructor and the honors director will determine if the project is of honors quality, which is then indicated by the grade earned in COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication. For honors designation, the student must achieve an average grade of 3.50 across COMM 490 Honors Research Methods in Communication and COMM 491 RS: Honors Research Project in Communication and must also maintain minimum GPA eligibility requirements outlined above.

Program Outcomes

  1. Students should be able to explain the origins of the Communication discipline, summarize the broad nature of the Communication discipline, and identify intellectual specialization(s) in the Communication discipline.
  2. Students should be able to explain, synthesize, apply, and critique Communication theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts.
  3. Students should be able to evaluate and design communication research, including the following steps: (1) articulate and refine a question or problem appropriate for Communication scholarship, (2) locate, interpret, and evaluate existing communication scholarship, (3) apply existing communication scholarship to frame inquiry, (4) distinguish between personal beliefs and evidence, (5) identify relevant ethical issues and follow ethical principles, (6) choose an appropriate research method for scholarly inquiry, and (7) explain how scholarly inquiry has value to society.
  4. Students should be able to demonstrate (1) effective writing skills, (2) effective oral presentation skills, and (3) the ability to produce and disseminate effective messages via the modalities and platforms most central to the student’s chosen concentration.
  5. Students should be able to identify meanings embedded in messages, discuss the cultural, social, and/or political significance of messages, and recognize the impact and influence of messages.
  6. Students should be able to identify ethical perspectives, explain the relevance of various ethical perspectives, and articulate and evaluate the ethical dimensions of a communication situation.
  7. Students should be able to articulate the connection between communication and culture, appreciate the influence of individual and cultural similarities and differences on communication and social interaction, understand how communication can sustain and/or challenge existing relations of power and authority, and respect diverse perspectives and the ways they influence communication.

Many accelerated master's programs are available for any bachelor's degree at Mason. See the full list of degrees with accelerated programs at George Mason.