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Frequently Asked Questions

Undergrad FAQ

Who are eligible to receive departmental honors?

Students majoring in communication are eligible to receive honors in communication at graduation if the following conditions are met:

  1. At least one-half of the course work required by the major is completed at this university;
  2. At least a 3.5 grade point average in the major;
  3. An overall grade point average of 3.5 or better;
  4. An independent study course that culminates in a research presentation to the department;
  5. Recommendation for departmental honors by the Communication Studies faculty.

Students interested in this recognition must file a formal application with the department and enroll in an Independent Study at least one semester prior to graduation.

What is Advising?

Advising helps students graduate faster, focus their studies, streamline their path to graduation requirements, and help avoid speed bumps along the way like duplicate coursework. 

I'm about to graduate, what deadlines are important?

You should be talking with your faculty advisor and your graduation retention specialist regularly to make sure your specific deadlines are being met. You'll want to file a grad check early in your second to last semester with the Registry to avoid holds and late fees.

How do I view my campus email?

It is a good idea to check your campus email regularly as many university messages go there. If you are having trouble accessing this, contact ITS immediately to resolve your issue. They offer 24/7 support and it is free and included in your tuition.

I am totally overwhelmed, who can help?

Counseling and Psychological Services is confidential and just steps away and FREE for students! This is an amazing resource for anyone who feels overwhelmed.

When is my final exam?

Your final exam time and date may or may not be listed on your syllabus, but you can always find it yourself! Visit the academic calendar, look for 'final exam schedule' and click on the quarter you are in to get more information!

Should I major in comm?

Only you know for certain, but there are many great ways that a degree in comm can be helpful, no matter what your path may be. Visit and talk with your advisor to learn more.

What are office hours?

They are a time your instructor is specifically in his or her office and available for you! Office hours and contacts for faculty are listed online. It is a good idea to visit your instructors during their office hours regularly and discuss any valuable topics with them during your visit.

Where can I learn more about the different comm concentrations?

Read more about our concentrations, talk to your professors, and visit CAL advising.

Can I take the same practica twice for credit?

Yes! You can! You would not get credit for taking it a third time. It is always encouraged that you meet with advising regularly to confirm your particular circumstances.

I heard there is a really good deal for students on Adobe CS, where can I find this?

I need to leave something for a professor, is there a place I may leave it?

You may have specific instructions on what to do from your instructor. Faculty also have mailboxes in the department office at UH018 where items can be left for faculty for pickup. It is a good idea to notify your instructor and always keep a copy of anything you drop off.

I am having housing insecurity, where can I go?

Emergency housing resources are available through Coyote Basic Needs and the CARE team.

I need to get in touch with a professor. How may I reach him or her?

I am hungry, where can I go?

Paid dining options are available throughout campus. Free food is available for pickup at the Obershaw DEN.

What is CAL Advising?

CAL advising is open and available for you anytime. Their office in UH203 holds great hours and has professional advisors who are a great first meeting point for you with any of your advising questions. Visit them often, at least twice a year if not more, to make sure to stay on top of everything. Visit them regularly! Learn more...

I heard I can borrow a computer, where can I do this?

There is a laptop lending program at the Pfau library. iPads and other multimedia items can also be checked out from the library multimedia center.

Who is my advisor?

You may have an advisor assigned to you. You may also not know who your advisor is and need to ask at the department office. You can also get advising from CAL advising at any time.

Do you offer minors?

Yes, students can minor in Communication! Learn more about our minors...

Where is a computer lab? How can I find out my computer lab hours?

A list of labs and hours is available each quarter. Each lab may have different hours each quarter depending on classes and other factors, but there should be posted hours on the door. It is encouraged you write down or take a photo of these posted hours just to make sure you have the most updated information. 

How does advising help me?

In so many ways. An appointment with an advisor is time best spent while you are here with us at CSUSB.

What are the concentrations in Communication Studies?

You can major in Communication Studies with a concentration in Media Studies, Public Relations, or Relational and Organizational Communication. We also have a Specialized Concentration for those wishing to choose their own path (NB. this requires approval from a faculty member and the department Chair).

Hardware or software provided for my class isn't working, what should I do?

Contact ITS immediately. It is free and included in your tuition and available 24/7.

Strategic Communication FAQ

Do I have to be a strong writer to be in the Strat. Comm. concentration?

Not every student starts as a strong writer but through practice, hard work and dedication, they will become stronger writers by taking the series of writing-focused classes in the Strat. Comm. concentration. If writing is a challenge for you, don’t let that deter you! We have wonderful resources on campus to help you including our Writing Center

I like Public Relations. Is Strategic Communication similar?

Yes! PR and Strategic communication are both important management functions in today’s workplace. We offer opportunities for students to study and practice PR and Strategic Communication at all levels in their studies.

Relational Organizational FAQ

What can the Relational and Organizational Communication Concentration prepare me for?

Students in this concentration have gone on to work in human resources, sales & marketing, training & development, consulting, management, fundraising/development, recruiting, dispute resolution, or gone on to receive advanced degrees in law, business administration, and Communication Studies.

What jobs are there in Relational and Org Comm?

You might be interested in research, HR, training, or teaching. Or something else entirely! No matter what your path, you can learn more about your options at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Minors FAQ

Do you offer minors?

Yes, students can minor in Communication! Learn more about our minors...


Where can I find an internship?

Internship posting specifically for comm majors are listed for our students on the internship page where you will see a link that says 'find your internship'. You must be logged in and request permission to view the page. It is encouraged to consider these opportunities first as they were created specifically for you!

Can I take the same internship twice for credit?

Yes and no. You can intern at the same site multiple times, but you can not take the same internship class for the same number of hours and units more than once. You should take the internship for a different number of units and hours a second time.

What is an Appropriate Internship?

The major purpose of an internship is to provide students with the opportunity to gain new insights about an organization and a job and to develop skills they haven't had the opportunity to develop in a previous job. An internship also provides students with the opportunity to see the application of course material in theory in practice in a job setting, and students are encouraged to bring their internship experiences back into the classroom.

Internships are an academic experience - not just work experience. In your internship paper you are expected to draw relationships between what you learned in the classroom and what you observed and experienced in the internship.

Internships are important resume material in competitive job markets where actual work experience is valued and often expected. Graduate internships can be valuable research experiences that can be tied into final projects.

It is important to select an appropriate internship. One way to determine if an internship is appropriate is to consider how it ties in with your major and concentration. An internship should be a new challenge and one that 'fits' with educational goals.

Another important purpose of an internship is to give students the opportunity to try out a potential job or career. Perhaps you think you'd like television news production. An internship experience will tell you if this is the type of work you really want to do. Perhaps you are planning a public relations career. An internship will give you valuable insight into what it is like to work in the field.

In some professions, internships are expected by potential employers. This is particularly true in public relations. You will be competing with others for entry-level jobs who have completed an internship so if you have not done an internship, you are at a disadvantage. This is also true of many communication jobs.

Applying for an Internship

Applying for an internship is a process. Before you get started, there are a few important steps that you should follow. Having an updated resume and cover letter are essential. You can reference the Career Development Center for tips on how to create effective ones. Not all employers require a cover letter but it's a good idea to have one readily available that can easily be tailored to various positions. It is also recommended that you identify several internship leads and apply to at least 3-5 internships per week. Don't forget to follow up. An email or phone call is appropriate unless otherwise stated on the internship announcement.

If employers do not require a resume and/or cover letter, instead, you may be instructed to fill out an application online or in person. Whatever the method of applying may be, make sure to read the internship announcement carefully. If you are invited to an interview, take the time to prepare and practice. Do your research about the organization. You only get one chance at making a great first impression. For interviewing tips, check out the CSUSB Career Development Center website.

Locating an Internship

There are many ways to locate an internship. Internships are available in most industries ranging from Business, Government, Non-Profit Agencies, Education and the Entertainment Industry.

Coyotelink is your one-stop resource for locating an internship and is exclusively for CSUSB students. Registering for an account grants you instant access to hundreds of opportunities. You will have the availability to search for local internships by zip code. Check out the CSUSB Career Development Center for step-by-step instructions on how to create your free Handshake account today!

When should I do an internship?

It is never too early to begin thinking about lining up an internship. Some students are offered jobs at the end of their internships and your internship can be a springboard to many opportunities and a bright future. 

If you are doing an internship to explore a particular type of job, it might be best to take it earlier rather than later in your college course work. This way, if you find out it is not what you expected or want to do, you can do another type of internship.

You need to strategically plan your internship. Why are you doing an internship? Do you want to try to get a job as a result of the internship? Do you just want to try different things to get an idea of what you want to do? Answering these questions will help you decide when and where to do an internship during your college career.

You may also choose to do more than one internship. Internships are 2-5 units and undergraduate students can complete up to 10 units of internship credits toward the major as long as they have electives available. It's important to check with your advisor about when and how many internships you might want to do and can do.

Internship Etiquette

Here are a few guidelines to follow so that you make the best impression at your internship.

  1. Be on time. If you are to arrive at 1:00 p.m., arrive at 1:00 p.m., not 1:10 p.m. If you are unavoidably detained (accident, flat tire, etc.) and you are able, call your supervisor to let him/her know what happened.
  2. Dress appropriately. On your first day, it's always best to dress in business attire. If you're not sure of what is considered appropriate business attire, ask the internship coordinator, or ask your internship supervisor what she or he prefers you wear to the office.
  3. Meet the hour requirement of your internship. If you are to complete 15 hours per week, then make sure you complete 15 hours per week. Failure to complete the hours required for the units taken can result in no credit for the internship. You have made a contractual obligation with your internship supervisor to work a certain number of hours. Failure to do this reflects on your professionalism.
  4. Think and act as a professional - be responsible and dependable.

Remember that you are there to learn. People always respect those who are teachable.

If you are having problems of any kind at your internship, please contact the department internship coordinator if you are an undergraduate student or the graduate coordinator if you are a graduate student.

Good luck and good learning.

Getting Credit for Your Internship

Registration and Contract Requirements

Internships can be taken for 2-5 units. The number of units dictates the number of hours during the quarter you are to work at the internship. The hours you are to work are specified what you must do to get credit for doing your internship.

If you have obtained an internship, undergraduates must pick up the contract from the department internship coordinator. Graduate students can pick up the contract from the graduate coordinator, Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb (UH 201.23). Discuss the hours and responsibilities with the supervisor. Once you have agreed upon the nature of the work and the hours, complete the contract, including the supervisor's signature. Submit the contract to the department internship supervisor for final approval. For graduate students, the final approval comes from the graduate coordinator. All this must be completed the quarter prior to the quarter in which you actually do the internship. Once the contract is approved, you will be notified and permitted to register for the units.

To receive credit for your internship, you must:

  1. Complete the total hour requirement for the units for which you have registered;
  2. Submit a weekly log/journal of your internship experience;
  3. Write a final paper describing what you learned during your internship experience and discussing how the experience relates to your education;
  4. Undergraduates must prepare resumes. Resumes should be prepared prior to obtaining internships, but if not, they must be turned in before the quarter ends;
  5. Additionally, the department will send an agency evaluation form to your internship supervisor. The supervisor must complete and return the form to the department before you received credit for the internship.
  6. These materials are due by Tuesday of finals week. Turn them in to the department internship coordinator.

Prospective Students FAQ

What do you offer?

We have undergraduate majors, minors, and a graduate program.

If you are thinking about joining us to study for your bachelor's degree you can choose from four concentrations in Communication Studies: Media Studies, Relational & Organizational Communication, Strategic Communications, and we have a Specialized Concentration for those wishing to choose their own path.

You can also get a Minor in Communication Studies.

And, if you are returning to university to develop your career and/or research, you could join the M.A. in Communication Studies.

What do I need to know about your department?

The Department of Communication Studies is a great stepping stone into your future as an academic or a professional. Communication studies intersects with a wide variety of careers, and is a great way to enhance any career path. Also many of our students go on to Ph.D. programs, teach, and become scholars. Check out what our alumni have achieved here ...

Our department has a diverse and internationally acclaimed faculty, whose expertise and experience covers media theory, medial production (film, video, radio, social media), public relations, all other forms of strategic communications, relational and organizational communications, ethics of communications, social justice in communications, etc.

Specialized Concentration FAQ

What is a Specialized Concentration?

Students may propose a unique, individualized and specialized 18-unit concentration if the proposed concentration is viable and if it fulfills objectives that cannot be met through one of the other Communication Studies concentrations (e.g., Media Studies, Relational and Organizational, and Strategic Communication). To be eligible for the Specialized Concentration, students must complete a proposal (see document link for the proposal draft in the FAQ below) for their program plan, including all the communication courses that they intend to take in the concentration and a rationale for the course of study.  The proposal will be reviewed by a Communication Studies faculty advisor before a student can be approved for this concentration.  Before declaring this concentration, a student must have completed the following core classes:  COMM 2101, COMM 3101, and COMM 3102. Only 9 units of Communication Studies course work completed prior to such approval can be applied toward the specialized concentration. Importantly, this specialized concentration is not intended to bypass normal graduation requirements or to avoid certain requirements of a regular concentration offered by the department. 

Where is the form I need to complete to declare a Specialized Concentration?