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Communicology (formerly Speech)

College of Arts and Humanities
George 326
2560 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8202
Fax: (808) 956-3947
Email: COMG@hawaii.edu
Web: manoa.hawaii.edu/communicology


*Graduate Faculty

*R. K. Aune, PhD (Chair)—message and information processing, natural language processing, research methods
*A. S. E. Hubbard, PhD (Graduate Chair)—nonverbal communication, conflict and relational management, deception
*W. F. Sharkey, PhD (Undergraduate Chair)—family communication, interpersonal, conflict management, interviewing and interrogation
*K. S. Aune, PhD—relational management, emotion
*R. Boller, EdD—argumentation and debate, public speaking, interpersonal and intercultural communication, leadership
*R. E. Cambra, PhD—interpersonal and instructional strategies, negotiation, intercultural
*J. Gasiorek, PhD—social cognition, intergroup & intergenerational communication, research methods
*M. S. Kim, PhD—intercultural communication, persuasion and social influence
*H-R. Lee, PhD—health communication, campaigns, persuasion and social influence
*H. E. Lee, PhD—research methods, intercultural communication, interpersonal communication in business settings
J. Matayoshi, MA—public presentations, interpersonal and persuasive communication
*R. Tokunaga, PhD—communication technology in human relations, media selection and effects; statistical methods
*J. Zhang, PhD—interpersonal/intergroup communication, evolutionary theory and communication, research methods

Degrees Offered: BA (including minor) in communicology, MA in communicology

The Academic Program

The Department of Communicology (formerly Speech) (COMG) has as its primary objectives the development of knowledge in and instruction concerning the process of communication. This involves three fundamental areas of emphasis. The first area is human message processing, which involves understanding the function and structure of the various codes, verbal and nonverbal, used to form messages in communication as well as examining the encoding and decoding processes involved in communication. The second area is relational communication, which focuses on factors that influence growth, maintenance, and termination of relationships. The third area, social influence, deals with the processing of beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral modification, including gaining compliance, conflict resolution, persuasive campaigns, and propaganda.

Communicology is predominantly a discipline of systematic, purposeful thinking and communicating. Students obtain a liberal education of considerable breadth and depth in regard to communication theory. Furthermore, they are afforded ample opportunity to develop their communicative skills by applying theory in such diverse activities as interviewing, persuasion, group discussion, organizational communication, conflict management, intercultural communication, public speaking, relational communication, deceptive communication, and health communication. Indeed, the basic philosophy of this department–and it is stressed in every course and co-curricular program offered–is that there is no surer preparation for professional life and participation in society than an education that enhances the ability of the individual to maintain lifelong learning and the skills to communicate effectively.

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete 33 credit hours, including:

  • COMG 251, 301, 302, 364, 371, and 381
  • 5 upper division elective courses

COMG 301 and 302 should be taken no later than the semester after the major is declared. In residence policy: A minimum of 15 credit hours which includes COMG 302, must be taken in the Department of Communicology at UH Manoa. Introductory courses do not count as electives. Electives must have a prerequisite or be numbered 300 or above and only three (3) credit hours of COMG 399 or COMG 499 (or a combination of the two classes), and/or up to three (3) credit hours of COMG 453 may be applied to the communicology major degree.

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



Students must complete 15 credit hours of communicology, including:

  • COMG 364, 371, and 381
  • 2 upper division elective courses
  • Introductory courses, COMG 399, and COMG 499 do not count toward the minor. Electives must have a prerequisite or be numbered 300 or above and cover a specific content area.

Graduate Study

Master’s Degree

The Department of Communicology offers an innovative MA program emphasizing the central processes and functions of human communication. To that end, course work, seminars, and student research develop a cross-situational understanding of theory and research in the three areas central to the discipline: message processing, relational communication, and social influence. In addition, given our cultural and geographical advantages at UH Manoa, the Department of Communicology excels in teaching and research in intercultural communication.

All applicants for the MA program in communicology must supplement the application and transcripts required by the Graduate Division with three letters of recommendation (preferably from professors with whom the applicant has worked), a one-page statement of goals, and the GRE General Test scores. These supplementary items should be sent directly to the department.

Intended candidates for the MA should have a strong undergraduate preparation in communication or a closely allied discipline. Students who lack this preparation must make up deficiencies either before or during graduate study. In the latter case, the student will be admitted conditionally, pending removal of the deficiencies. Applicants may be interviewed as well.

Further details on the program may be requested from the graduate chair.


The department offers both Plan A (thesis) and Plan B/C (non-thesis: applied project or comprehensive exams) programs. The Plan A thesis program requires a minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate work, at least 27 of which must be in communicology courses numbered 600 and above, including 6 credit hours of COMG 700 Thesis Research. The Plan B applied project program requires a minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate work in courses numbered 600 and above, which includes at least 3 credit hours of COMG 500 Master's Plan B. The comprehensive exam program requires a minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate work in courses numbered 600 and above and one credit of COMG 500. Communicology courses numbered 400 to 499 and courses from allied disciplines may be counted toward the degree only with prior consent of the graduate chair. COMG 601 an 602 are required for both Plan A and Plan B programs. Plan A also requires COMG 702 (COMG 620 does not count towards the degree).

Successful completion of Plan A requires each candidate to present an acceptable thesis and pass a final oral examination based on the thesis. Plan B requires each student either complete an applied research project or pass written comprehensive exams. Plan B candidates must also pass a final oral examination based on either the research project or the comprehensive exams.

COMG Courses