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School of Communications
College of Social Sciences
Crawford 320
2550 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8715
Fax: (808) 956-5396
E-mail: comm@hawaii.edu
Web: www.communications.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

G. Kato, MA (Chair)—broadcast news, law, reporting
*G. Fontaine, PhD (Graduate Chair)—intercultural and organizational communication
*T. Brislin, PhD—mass communication, journalism, ethics
*D. M. Davis, PhD—social impact of communication technologies, telecom services, communication and gender
*R. Huard, PhD—new media, human-computer interaction
*J. I. Kim, PhD—communication theory and research, development communication, network analysis, diffusion of innovations
*E. N. Kunimoto, PhD—health communication, intercultural communication
*C. G. R. Macdonald—multimedia, telecommunication, research
*M. Moody, MFA—video and film production
*M. Tehranian, PhD—political economy of communication, telecommunication policy and planning, communication and international development
*D. J. Wedemeyer, PhD—communication policy and planning, telecommunication, forecasting

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

A. R. Arno, PhD—communication law, ethnography of communication
A. Auman,PhD—journalism
R. Brislin, PhD—cross-cultural communication
C. Ho, PhD—communication technologies
B. Keever, PhD—journalism
W. Remus, PhD—decision sciences
M. Shapiro, PhD—political science

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

M. Jussawalla, PhD—telecommunication economics
D. Lassner, PhD—telecommunication

Degrees Offered: BA in communication, MA in communication, PhD in communication and information sciences (interdisciplinary), Graduate Certificate in Telecommunications Information Resource Management

The Academic Program

Communication (COM) study provides undergraduate and graduate students an academic climate consistent with the mission of the College of Social Sciences. The program 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, resources include both a state-of-the-art media laboratory, and computer-communication laboratory. The internship program facilitates 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.


Each undergraduate major is assigned a faculty adviser. In addition, an undergraduate chair provides 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.

Undergraduate Study

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.

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete 36 credit hours of communication courses with a 2.5 GPA, including the following:

  • Introduction to Communication (COM 201)
  • At least 12 credits at the 400 level or above
  • Senior Thesis Project (COM 490)

To declare a major in communication, students must be enrolled in, or have completed with at least a B-(2.7) or better in Introduction to Communication (COM 201) and have completed at least 12 credit hours with a 2.5 GPA.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.

Graduate Study

Master’s Degree

The School of Communications offers a graduate program leading to the MA degree in Communication. The Program Areas of Specialization reflect the expertise of our graduate faculty in organizational/intercultural communication, telecommunication, and global Communication. Both individual faculty members and the Program as a whole work within sociocultural and sociotechnical perspectives.

Qualified applicants are admitted to the Program in the fall semester only. Applicants are not required to have an undergraduate communication degree, but may be required to make up undergraduate deficiencies. Applicants to the Program must submit to the School a statement of academic objectives and the planned role of our Program in helping meet those objectives. Applicants must also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to the School. These letters should be written by persons who are familiar with the student’s academic accomplishments. Letters from former professors are preferred. Qualified applicants whose academic objectives are in harmony with our program specializations will be admitted as classified students on a space available basis.

Each classified student admitted into our Program is assigned an interim adviser who assists the student in the initial planning of his or her degree program. The student may, at any time, change that adviser by informing the Program staff of the change. Once the student has selected a Thesis or Practicum Committee Chair (see below) that faculty member becomes her or his permanent adviser. The student remains, however, primarily responsible to ascertain that all Program requirements are being met in a timely fashion.

Each student must complete a minimum of 36 credits with at least a 3.0 grade point average. These credits are to be distributed by taking:

  • Both Foundation Courses 611 & 612 (6 credits), normally during the first semester in the Program.
  • Two courses which demonstrate competence in at least one Area of Specialization (6 credits). Typically these are the core courses in Organizational/Intercultural Communication (e.g., 623 & 643), Telecommunication (e.g., 633 & 634), or Global Communication (e.g., 644 & 645).
  • Two Seminars (6 credits) selected from 691 &/or 692 (either repeatable up to 6 credits) &/or 680 from the School’s Graduate Certificate Program in Telecommunication and Information Resource Management (TIRM).
  • One Capstone Activity (6 credits, 1 - 6 credits per semester) selected from 700 (Plan A—Thesis) or 695 (Plan B—Practicum).
  • The remaining 12 credits are selected from: Core courses outside the Area of Specialization; and/or advanced courses 624, 646, 650, 660; and/or TIRM courses 681, 682, 683, 684; and/or Directed Research 699; and/or 400 level augmented undergraduate courses, or graduate courses outside the Program (both the latter require approval of Committee Chair; maximum 6 credits).

Each student is expected to take at least one 3-credit course or seminar each semester. All substitutions, exceptions, and/or courses external to the Program must be approved by the Thesis or Practicum Committee Chair and noted in the student’s official records. If students are not enrolled for courses during a semester they must apply for an official leave of absence. In pursuit of their academic goals students often earn more than the minimum 36 credits. The program can be compressed into 15 months or stretched out over 60 months. Typically, however, students complete the program in 18 to 24 months.

On completing 611 and achieving a 3.0 grade average in all completed coursework, each classified student is eligible for admission to candidacy allowing him or her to formally identify a degree plan from the two options available. These options are to complete either a Thesis (Plan A) or Practicum (Plan B) as her or his Capstone Activity. At the same time the student selects the Chair and Members of their Thesis or Practicum Committee. That Committee is responsible for supervising and evaluating the student’s thesis or practicum activity. The Committee must be comprised of at least three members of the graduate faculty from UH with at least two of those members and the Chair from our Program. Both the Committee members and the topic of the activity must be approved by the Graduate Division and research to be conducted approved by the University’s Committee on Human Studies. At the completion of the student’s program he or she must take a two-our oral exam on their knowledge of the field and defense of their thesis or practicum report.

For further information please visit our website at communications.hawaii.edu/com/pages/graduate/grad.html.

Doctoral Degree in Communication and Information Sciences

The School of Communications is one of four academic programs that cooperate in an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Communication and Information Sciences. See the “Interdisciplinary Program” section for more information on that program.

COM Courses