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George Mason University
    George Mason University
  Sep 21, 2017
2016-2017 University Catalog


Phone: 703-993-1090


Professors: Botan, Decker, Kreps, Lichter, Maibach, Nicotera (chair), Rowan, K. Wright

Emeritus professors: Boileau, Friedley, Looney, Lont, Manchester, McAuley, Taylor

Associate professors: Cai, Gibson (associate chair), Hopson, Muir, Zhao

Assistant professors: Broeckelman-Post, Clarke, Craig, Fisher, Vraga

Term professor: Pober

Term associate professor: Finn, Roser-Renouf, C. Wright, Yook

Term research assistant professor: Akerlof

Term instructors: Dickerson, Hodgson, Jannery, Miller, Samoilenko, Schmeidler, R. Smith, Steele, Tomasovic


The Communication Department offers all courses designated COMM in the Courses  section of this catalog.

Undergraduate Programs

The department offers a BA in communication, which prepares students for graduate study or professional positions in such fields as interpersonal and organizational communication, journalism, media production and criticism, political communication, and public relations.

Students majoring in communication complete a concentration from one of these areas: interpersonal and organizational communication, journalism, media production and criticism, political communication, or public relations.


The department has an active internship program. Many students include an internship during their senior year as a way of gaining practical experience with national and international businesses, associations, or government agencies.

Student Activities

All students are encouraged to participate in the following communication-related student activities: Fourth Estate, Debate, Forensics, GMView, Mason Cable Network, Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), Lambda Pi Eta, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), or WGMU.

Honors in the Major

Highly qualified students may pursue advanced course work leading to graduation with honors in the major. Students are eligible to apply for honors coursework if they meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of a minimum of 75 credit hours, including COMM 200  and two of COMM 300 , 301 , 302 , 305 .
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25 in all coursework completed at George Mason.
  • GPA of 3.50 in all communication coursework completed at George Mason and applied to the major.

Honors coursework in communication is a fall-spring sequence. Applications may be submitted by eligible students for fall semester enrollment. The deadline is March 15 each spring, for the sequence beginning the following fall. Student eligibility will be dependent on the GPA at the time of application. If accepted to pursue honors coursework, the student must then enroll in COMM 490 - Honors Research Methods in Communication . Under the guidance of the COMM 490  instructor, the student will complete a research prospectus for an honors project to be implemented in the following semester in COMM 491 .

To remain eligible for honors coursework, the student must

  • receive a grade of 3.00 (no lower than B) in COMM 490 ;
  • have the research prospectus approved by the COMM 490  instructor and the honors director; and
  • maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 and a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all COMM coursework completed at George Mason University and applied to the major.

In the following semester, the student enrolls in COMM 491 - RS: Honors Research Project in Communication . The student conducts his/her research and prepares a written project conforming to the standards set by the instructor. Upon completion of the project, the COMM 491  instructor and the honors director will determine if the project is of honors quality, which is then indicated by the grade earned in COMM 491 . For honors designation, the student must achieve an average grade of 3.50 across COMM 490  and 491  and must also maintain minimum GPA eligibility requirements outlined above.


The department offers minors in communication, health communication, journalism, political communication, and sport communication. The political communication minor is offered jointly with the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, and the sport communication minor is offered jointly with the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism in the College of Education and Human Development. The department faculty also participate in these minors: Film and Media Studies Minor , Multimedia Minor , Consciousness and Transformation Minor , and Women and Gender Studies Minor .

Students majoring in communication may choose to minor in any discipline that offers an undergraduate minor.

Graduate Programs

The department offers both MA and PhD degrees in communication with three major areas of emphasis: strategic communication, health communication, and science communication. The programs provide students with a strong foundation in communication theory and research while at the same time encouraging students to apply their skills in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

The faculty in strategic communication, drawing on their expertise in organizational, public relations, and political communication theory and research, teach courses on planning, developing, executing, and evaluating public communication campaigns and interventions. Faculty in health communication teach courses which explore the relationship between communication practices and the health and well-being of individuals and communities. This includes how to improve cooperation and coordination between health care providers and consumers, how to effectively utilize health information technologies, and how to develop influential health promotion campaigns. The faculty in science communication offer courses designed to improve students’ knowledge of the particular challenges involved in making science and technology understandable to a variety of audiences, as well as exploring solutions to those challenges. Science communicators work in media and in other organizations and agencies involved in promoting and disseminating science, as well as facilitating public engagement in considering science-related issues.

Strategic, health, and science communication are three of the most rapidly expanding specialties within the broad field of communication. Graduates of these programs find a very welcoming employment market for their expertise.


The department offers graduate teaching and research assistantships, which are awarded on a competitive basis. Other sources of funding such as grants, loans, and employment on campus are also available. Students awarded assistantships must register for a minimum of six credits a semester and show satisfactory progress toward their degree.


    Undergraduate Degree(s)Undergraduate Minor(s)Master’s Degree(s)Master’s Level Certificate(s)Doctoral Degree(s)