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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
Email: comm@hawaii.edu
Web: www.communications.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*A. Auman, PhD (Chair)—journalism, media ethics
*J. Winter, PhD (Graduate Chair)—emerging communication technology and policy
*W. Buente, PhD (Undergraduate Chair)—information and communication technologies
*P. Buskirk, MFA—multimedia, visual media
*F. Dalisay, PhD—mass communication
G. Kato, MA—broadcast news, law, reporting
*T. Kelleher, PhD—public relations, social media
*H. Kramer, PhD—intercultural communication
*M. Moody, MFA—video and film production

Cooperating Journalism Graduate Faculty

J. C. Ady, PhD—organizational communication
T. Brislin, PhD—mass communication, ethics
C. Ho, PhD—communication technologies
D. Lassner, PhD—telecommunication, public relations
N. Okamura, PhD—telecommunication
M. Shapiro, PhD—political science

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

C. Clarke, MA—intercultural organizational intervention
W. Dissanayake, PhD—intercultural counseling
R. Halverson, PhD—telecom, political communication, software development
K. Kawamoto, PhD—digital media, health communication
S. Wu-Bott, PhD—mediated interpersonal communication

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 active learning and inquiry in fundamental communication processes with specific emphasis on media arts (digital cinema and multimedia), communication in communities (local, global, organizational, and intercultural), and information and communication technologies (ICTs) 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 laboratories. The internship program facilitates the merging of academic knowledge with applied experience in students' fields of interest.


The East-West Center, Pacific Telecommunications Council, Telecommunications and Social Informatics Research Program (TASI), 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 advisor. 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 advisor 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 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 one or more of three areas of concentration: media arts, communication and communities, and ICTs and policy.

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete 33 credit hours of communication courses, including the following:

  • Introduction to Communication (COM 201)
  • three foundation courses (COM 310, 320, and 330)
  • one capstone course (COM 476, 477, 478, or 479)

To declare a major in communication, students must be enrolled in, or have completed with a B (3.0) or better in COM 201, Introduction to Communication, and have completed at least 12 credit hours with a 2.5 GPA. Upon declaration of their major, students are assigned a personal faculty advisor 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. Students are also responsible for meeting the prerequisite requirements for at least one of the capstone courses in order to graduate in a timely manner. Students must earn a C (2.0) or better in every course counted toward the major degree requirements.

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.

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 intercultural communication, global communication, information and communication technologies, social media, public relations, and communication policy and planning. Both individual faculty members and the program as a whole work within sociocultural and sociotechnical perspectives. The goal of our program in terms of student learning is to help our students build and exchange knowledge in areas relevant to the broad field of communication and to our specific areas of specialization.

Qualified applicants are admitted to the program in the fall semester only. Applicants are not required to have an undergraduate communication degree. All applicants must fulfill the UH Manoa Graduate Division's admission requirements. 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. Students applying from non-English-speaking countries must have a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based) or 250 (computer-based). Applicants whose academic objectives match 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 advisor who assists the student in the initial planning of his or her degree program. The student may, at any time, change that advisor 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 his or her permanent advisor. The student remains, however, primarily responsible to ascertain that all program requirements are met in a timely fashion.

Each student must complete a minimum of 33 credits with at least a 3.0 grade point average. These credits are to be distributed by taking:

  • Both foundation courses 611 Communication Theories and 612 Communication Inquiry (6 credits).
  • Two core courses (6 credits) from our specializations in Organizational and Intercultural Communication (623 and 643), Telecommunication and New Media (633 and 634), or Global Communication and Journalism (644).
  • One seminar 691 (3 credits) (repeatable up to 6 credits).
  • One capstone activity (6 credits) selected from 700 (Plan A-Thesis) or 695 (Plan B-Practicum).
  • The remaining 12 credits are selected from: additional core courses, advanced courses 646 and 660; courses from the school's Graduate Certificate Program in Telecommunication and Information Resource Management (TIRM) 680, 681, 682, 683, 684; Directed Research 699; 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 33 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 course work, 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 his or her capstone activity. At the same time the student selects the chair and members of the 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 the university with at least two of those members, including 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 Institutional Review Board (IRB). At the completion of the student's program, he or she must take a two-hour oral exam on their knowledge of the field and defense of their thesis or practicum report.

For further information please visit our website at www.communications.hawaii.edu/com/graduate/.

Doctoral Degree in Communication and Information Sciences

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

COM Courses