Graduate Admissions

How to apply

The Master’s program in Communication Studies admits students once a year for Fall semester start only. Candidates should submit all application materials directly to the Cal State Apply portal. March 1st is the priority admission deadline to be considered for Fall semester start of the same calendar year. If there are slots available in the program after the initial offers of admissions, the graduate admissions committee will consider applications that are completed after March 1st on a rolling basis. Please note that the Communication Studies department does not offer training specific to journalism and mass media. (Please see the Broadcasting and Electronic Arts department website at SFSU for focus in these areas)

The following applications materials must be uploaded to Cal State Apply for the admissions committee to consider your application complete:

  • A statement of purpose should focus on the applicant’s objectives for pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies at San Francisco State. The statement of purpose should also ideally demonstrate that the applicant has considered the characteristics of this particular program and should address how the program is a good  fit for the applicant’s background, interests and goals.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended will be required initially. The Graduate Studies office will require official transcripts if the applicant is offered program admission.  
  • Two to three letters of recommendation should be provided from former professors who can evaluate the applicant’s capacity for doing graduate-level work in communication studies. Assessment of the applicant’s oral and written communication skills are particularly important. The letters should be on department letterhead and the e-mail link the recommender uses to upload the letter must be an institution e-mail.
  • Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores are required. The department puts the greatest emphasis on the analytic writing (essay portion) of the exam. Applicants are expected to achieve a 4.0 in order to be admitted with standard “classified” standing.  
  • Urgent Update:
    As the conditions around COVID-19 continue to rapidly change, the Communication Studies Department recognizes the impact this change can have on our prospective students. As ETS testing centers are closing, we decided that the GRE will not be required this admission cycle, even if the applicant submitted it. All applicants will be equally reviewed using writing samples in lieu of GRE score. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Fatima Alaoui: 


  • A sample of academic writing should be uploaded and should be a significant research paper written for an upper-division course.

Admission Criteria

Applicants to our program generally have an undergraduate major in Communication Studies, an overall or upper-division grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, and a 4.0 or higher score on the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE.

Applicants who have not majored in Communication Studies as undergraduates may still be considered for admission if their undergraduate course of study is closely related to Communication Studies. If admitted, applicants without a Communication Studies undergraduate degree may be required to complete upper-division courses in Communication Studies as prerequisites to achieving fully admitted “classified” standing. Applicants who did not receive a 4.0 on the GRE may be considered if their overall academic record is strong and they are a good match with the program mission and focus. Applicants admitted with a less than a 4.0 on the analytic writing portion of the GRE will be asked to take an approved writing course in their first semester and will be considered conditionally admitted until they have successfully completed an approved writing skills course and it is clear they do not struggle with writing in the program. Any courses completed as prerequisites for advancement to classified standing will not be applied toward the 35-unit program requirement.

Timelines, further instructions, and related information are available at SF State’s Division of Graduate Studies.

Please e-mail if you have any questions.