College of Social Sciences
2560 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8715
Fax: (808) 956-5589
*T. Brislin, PhD (Chair)-mass communication, journalism, ethics
*D. M. Davis, PhD (Graduate Chair)-social impact of communication technologies, telecom services, communication and gender
*M. R. Ogden, PhD (Undergraduate Chair)-telecommunication, Asia and Pacific Islands, communication networks
*J. C. Ady, PhD-intercultural and organizational communication
*G. Fontaine, PhD-intercultural and organizational communication
*J. I. Kim, PhD-communication theory and research, development communication, network analysis, diffusion of innovations
*E. N. Kunimoto, PhD-health communication, intercultural communication
*M. Tehranian, PhD-political economy of communication, telecommunication policy and planning, communication and international development
*R. Vincent, PhD-media systems and institutions, policy, processes and effects
*D. J. Wedemeyer, PhD-communication policy and planning, telecommunication, forecasting
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
A. R. Arno, PhD-communication law, ethnography of communication
A. Auman, MA-journalism
R. Brislin, PhD-cross-cultural communication
L. D. Frazier, EdD-public relations
C. Ho, PhD-communication technologies
M. Jackson, PhD-library sciences/information services
B. Keever, MS-journalism
W. Remus, PhD-decision sciences
M. Shapiro, PhD-political science
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
E. Buck, PhD-popular culture
E. Casino, PhD-intercultural communication
G. C. Chu, PhD-communication and cultural change
W. Dissanayake, PhD-intercultural communication and communication theory
M. Jussawalla, PhD-telecommunication economics
S. A. Rahim, PhD-communication and cultural change
Degrees Offered: BA in communication, MA in communication, PhD in communication and information sciences (interdisciplinary)
The Academic Program
The Department of Communication (COM) provides undergraduate and graduate students an academic climate consistent with the mission of the College of Social Sciences. The department focuses on research and active learning in fundamental communication processes with specific emphasis on the areas of interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, international communication, organizational communication, telecommunication, and multimedia production as preparation for fruitful careers, enlightened citizenship, and lifelong learning.
In addition to the faculty and staff, department resources include both a state-of-the-art media laboratory, computer-communication laboratory, and teleconferencing room. The department offers an internship program to facilitate the merging of academic knowledge with applied experience in the students' fields of interest.
The East-West Center, Pacific Telecommunications Council, PEACESAT, Hawai'i Interactive Television System (HITS), and the many international conferences dealing with Asian/Pacific affairs provide a stimulating environment for international and intercultural communication.
The department assigns each undergraduate a faculty adviser. In addition, an undergraduate chair and graduate assistant provide a general point of contact for aspiring and declared majors. The graduate program parallels the undergraduate advising structure. However, once a student is admitted to candidacy, the student chooses a permanent adviser for the remainder of his or her program.
The undergraduate program offers courses that provide students with a sound understanding of fundamental communication processes in contexts ranging from dyads and small groups to formal organizations, the community, and society at large. The program also provides students the opportunity to select courses that allow them to specialize in a variety of interest areas within the field, including interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, international communication, organizational communication, telecommunication, and multimedia production.
Students must complete 36 credit hours of communication courses with a 2.5 GPA, including the following:
- Introduction to Communication
- At least 12 credits at the 400 level
- Senior Thesis Project (COM 490)
To declare a major in communication, students must complete the Introduction to Communication (COM 201) with a "C" or better and have at least a 2.5 GPA in all University of Hawai'i courses. Upon declaration of their major, students are assigned a personal faculty adviser to assist them in their progress through the program. Students select the remaining number of credit hours from courses that will support their personal and career interests. To assist in that selection, there are a number of "specialization pathways" through the curriculum identified by the faculty, for example, in areas such as organizational communication, intercultural communication at home and abroad, and media, multimedia and telecommunications. Alternatively, students with the assistance of their faculty adviser can follow their own specialization pathway through the curriculum.
The department offers a graduate program leading to the MA degree in communication. The program areas of specialization-in management communication, telecommunication, and global communication-reflect the expertise of the graduate faculty in interpersonal, organizational, intercultural, and international communication; telecommunication; and communication policy and planning. Both individual faculty members and the program as a whole work within sociocultural and sociotechnical perspectives. Detailed information may be obtained directly from the department.
Career opportunities for graduates with an MA in communication are numerous and varied. In recent years, for example, graduates have been employed as college-level instructors, as managers of communication companies and training programs, as consultants, and as specialists in social action programs and in research units. Some graduates continue their studies in a professional school or PhD program. Surveys of career characteristics of alumni are made every five years, and copies of the most recent survey are available on request.
Qualified applicants are admitted to the communication program in the fall semester only. Applicants are not required to have a communication degree for admission, but they may be required to make up undergraduate deficiencies. The following information supplements the general requirements and procedures of the Graduate Division.
All applicants to the program must submit directly to the department a statement of academic goals and how the program's areas of specialization relate to those goals. In addition, the student should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be mailed directly to the department. These letters should be written by persons who are in a position to assess in detail the academic accomplishments of the student. Letters from former professors are preferred. Qualified students whose academic goals are in harmony with the resources of the department will be admitted into the program as classified students on a space-available basis.
Each classified student in the program is assigned a committee chair, who assists the student in planning his or her degree program. During the first year, each student must complete COM 611 and 612. On completing COM 611 and achieving a GPA of 3.0 in all completed course work, the classified regular student is eligible for formal admission to candidacy. At the time of admission to candidacy, the student may change his or her committee chair. With the advice of the committee chair and with Graduate Division approval, a thesis or practicum committee is formed. That committee is responsible for supervising and evaluating the student's thesis or practicum activity. The primary responsibility for supervision is on the committee chair.
Each student must complete a total of 36 credits in the program. These must include the two foundation courses (COM 611 and 612); a pair of area courses (either COM 623 and 624, or 633 and 634, or 643 and 644); two seminars (COM 691 and 692); and, with the approval of the committee chair, 6 credits of COM 700 Thesis or COM 695 Practicum.
The student must, in addition, complete at least 12 credits selected from regular graduate course work in the department (COM 623 to 644, 650, 660, 691, 692, and 699) or, with the approval of the committee chair, up to 6 credits of graduate course work outside the department or approved augmented undergraduate course work (301 to 459). Each student is expected to take at least one 3-credit course or seminar each semester even while completing his or her thesis or practicum-exceptions require approval from the graduate chair prior to registration. For the total program, each student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. In pursuit of their academic goals, many students earn more than the minimum 36 credit hours. The program can be compressed into 15 months or stretched over 60 months; typically, however, students complete the program in 18 to 24 months.
Two degree plans, Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (non-thesis), are normally offered. For Plan A, the student enrolls for at least 6 credits of COM 700 Thesis. In Plan B, the student enrolls for at least 6 credits of COM 695 Practicum. At the completion of his or her program, each student must take a two-hour oral exam. Both degree plans require at least 36 credits and are equal in difficulty and merit.
The department is one of four academic programs that cooperate in an interdisciplinary doctoral program in communication and information sciences. See the "Communication and Information Sciences" section that follows for more information.