San Diego State University has been ranked as the #1 small research university in the country and previously ranked twice by peers as among the top five M.A. communication programs in the country.

We offer outstanding academic preparation, as well as individualized attention, and a culture of 'working hard and playing hard.' If this sounds like a program you are interested in pursuing, the steps below will provide a complete explanation of the application process. In addition, attached is the advising sheet that lists all the seminars offered in our program.

Step 1

Read about the MA program and Graduate Teaching Associate Positions on the School of Communication Website

Our M.A. program provides students with the choice of preparing for a career in academe or for developing their research and analytic skills for careers in corporate, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. Instruction is designed to help students discover, analyze, and demonstrate how communication processes are centrally important in creating, shaping, and interpreting quality communities. This program is driven by the close mentorship relationships between faculty and masters' students. Priority is given to the development of students' expertise and skills in each of the following areas:

The School of Communication offers new and continuing graduate students the opportunity to teach undergraduate classes, primarily Communication 103 - an introductory course in oral communication. Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs) receive an annual stipend. Some GTA positions may include an out-of-state fee waiver. GTA positions are competitive and admission to the graduate program does not ensure the assignment of a teaching associate appointment. Please indicate in your cover sheet to the School of Communication that you are applying for a GTA position and list any teaching experience you may have had. If you have specific questions about the GTA position (requirements and benefits), please contact the Director of the Basic Course, Dr. Kurt Lindemann

Step 2

Log on to SDSU's MyGAP

We invite prospective graduate students to visit our Graduate Access Page, or MyGAP. https://sdsugrad.askadmissions.net/emtinterestpage.aspx?ip=grad Using MyGAP you can build a customized web page containing personalized information about SDSU graduate programs of specific interest to you. Please click on the icon below to create your own MyGAP web site.

Step 3

Contact the Director of Graduate Studies


If after reading the website you have questions about our program or the process of applying for our program, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies:

Dr. Patricia Geist-Martin, Professor of Communication

Director of Graduate Studies



Step 4

Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)


The School of Communication requires all applicants to meet minimum GRE requirements. Under the old exam, the minimums were 450 Verbal, 450 Quantitative, 950 total (i.e., combined verbal and quantitative), and 4.0 Written. The new exam has a different scoring system and we will follow their equivalents once they have been determined. The written score and minimum has not changed. For information about the GRE exam use the Educational Testing Services (ETS) website: www.ets.org Once you have taken the exam be sure it is sent to SDSU (Institution Code 4682). Students often ask if they can re-take the test. According to ETS:


In the School of Communication, we accept combined scores from two different tests (e.g. the verbal from one test time with the quantitative from another test time).

Since it often takes 6 weeks for the GRE scores to arrive at SDSU, it is important to plan ahead and take the exam at least two months BEFORE the deadline for applying to graduate school. If you want the option to re-take the test you will need to plan farther ahead.


Step 5

Contact Professors to Request Letters of Recommendation

In our program, there is no official form for letters of recommendation. We prefer that your letters are written by professors rather than employment supervisors. Your letter writers should speak to your ability to do well in graduate school and to your ability to teach if you are applying for a Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA) position. Take the time to follow the guidelines below in order to help your letter writers write the best possible letter of recommendation.


Process for Requesting Letters of Recommendation

1. Contact your professors and ask if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. If they say “yes” then indicate that:

2. Create a file folder for each professor with your name written clearly on the tab. Inside the file folder include the following:

  • A cover letter indicating what courses you took from the professor, when you took the courses, the grade you earned, and the name of the project you wrote for the class. Also indicate in this cover letter anything else about your time at your institution that might be worth mentioning in the letter of recommendation.
  • A page listing the program(s) you are applying to (description), the deadline for applying, and the name of the person and address to whom the letter should be directed. It is best to sequence this list based on the first deadline a letter is due.
  • A copy of your transcripts
  • A copy of the personal statement you will submit with your application.
  • A resume or vita
  • Anything else you can include that might assist the professor in writing the letter (e.g., sample of your writing)
  • Provide the addresses for the letters on self-adhesive labels, so the writers can peel and stick onto their own letterhead envelopes


Step 6

Apply to SDSU by the Deadline

You are required to complete a CSU application and pay your fee online via CSUMentor. International students should visit the International Student Center for International Student Application Procedures. http://www.isc.sdsu.edu/prospective/

SDSU only permits admissions to graduate programs in the Fall Semester. The target for submitting an application to the MA program in the School of Communication is February 1. While the university’s official deadline is March 1, applications submitted to the School of Communication by February 1st will be given priority in admissions and GTA appointments, particularly those applications that are complete with all supplementary materials including test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendations. According to university policy, applicants have until April 1st to complete their files with supplementary materials. However, applicants to the School of Communication that complete their files by March 1st will be given priority.

If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Director, Dr. Patricia Geist-Martin, at: comm.ma@mail.sdsu.edu

Step 7

Submit OFFICIAL Transcripts and GRE and TOEFL Test Scores to:

Graduate Admissions
Enrollment Services
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7416


(a) Transcripts: One set of official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) from all postsecondary institutions attended. (Students who attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for work completed since last attendance.) Students with international coursework must submit both the official transcript and proof of degree. If documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified English translation. Normally, we expect at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

(b) GRE Scores: The School of Communication requires all applicants to complete the GRE. Minimum expectations are: Verbal (V) = 150; Quantitative (Q) = 142; V+Q = 300; Written = 4.0.

(c) TOEFL Scores: If your medium of instruction was in a language other than English, then a TOEFL score is required (www.ets.org, SDSU Institution Code: 4682). A minimum score of 550 on the paper exam, 213 on the computer-based TOEFL, 79 on the internet exam, or 6.5 on the International Language Testing System (IELTS) is required.

Step 8

Submit Application Support Materials to the School of Communication

Application Support Materials

Send materials to:

Dr. Patricia Geist-Martin
Director of Graduate Studies
School of Communication
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-4560

1. Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation from academic or professional references that speak to your ability to succeed in graduate studies. We prefer that at least two of the letters be written by professors who can speak to your academic background and capabilities.

2. Personal Statement
A personal statement of purpose that: (a) describes your interest in communication, (b) describes your undergraduate and/or professional preparation for graduate studies in the communication program, and (c) articulates your personal and/or career objectives that graduate studies in communication will help you pursue. Take time and care with your personal statement. It is very important. It is the first thing we read and the first indication we have of who you are and why you should be selected over other very well qualified candidates, and (d) (optional) describes your interest in a Graduate Teaching Associate position, addressing how this desire relates to your interest in communication, your past academic and professional experience, and your career objectives.

3. Photocopies of Transcripts and Scores
It is essential to send photocopies of your transcripts and GRE scores (& TOEFL scores, if applicable) to the School of Communication. Eventually, we will receive the official transcripts and scores from Graduate Admissions. However, we may be in a position to review your material and make admission and GTA decisions before the materials arrive from the Graduate Admissions office.

For your information we have provided in another section of this website:

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