Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

School of Communication

Undergraduate Degrees

The School of Communication offers programs of study leading to a B.A. degree and minors in Communication and the Entertainment Industry, Interactive Media and the Culture of New Technologies, Global Communication, Health Communication, Professional and Managerial Communication, Sports Media Studies, and Communication Law and Media Policy. Many communication majors pursue, with the school’s encouragement, a double major with another discipline or a minor to complement the major. Through careful planning, students can complete these options within four years.

Students must consult with an undergraduate academic adviser at least once each semester to explore course selections within the major, the minor, general education offerings and electives.


Admission is competitive. Fall 2011 incoming freshmen had an average GPA of 3.70 with an SAT score of 1945-2180 (middle 50%). Transfer students had an average college GPA of 3.67. For admission information and deadlines, refer to the USC Admission Website. All transfer applicants must review the transfer admission application guidelines on the Annenberg Website. Contact the Annenberg Admissions Office for more information. USC exclusively uses the Common Application for freshman and transfer admission. Applicants must submit the Common Application and USC Supplement, both of which can be accessed at

Students currently enrolled at USC who wish to change their major to communication must file a formal application with all supporting documents through the Annenberg Student Services Office. Students who entered USC as freshmen must have 32 units completed with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students who entered USC as transfers must have 16 units completed at USC with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The 3.0 GPA is a minimum standard and does not guarantee admission.

Upon admission to the School of Journalism, students will lose transfer credits earned in journalism and public relations course work completed at another college or university.

For current USC students, the application period is the first week of classes each fall and spring semester. No applications will be accepted after the first week of classes.

Students who have not been admitted to the communication major or one of the minors may complete a maximum of 20 communication (COMM) units at USC. No further communication course work may be taken until the student is admitted. Students who complete the maximum number of units without gaining admission to the school will be advised to select another major. Students are encouraged to contact the Annenberg Student Services Office, ASC 140, (213) 740-0900, for advisement on change of major criteria and major requirements. In certain cases, students may be referred to Dornsife College Advising, CAS 120, (213) 740-2534, to consult with an adviser to select another major.

Bachelor of Arts in Communication

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program requires six courses in different categories, plus writing, foreign language and diversity requirements, which together comprise the USC Core. See here and here for more information.

Course Requirements
Required courses Units
Select 16 units from the following list:
COMM 200 Communication and Social Science 4
COMM 201 Rhetoric and the Public Sphere 4
COMM 202 Communication and Technology 4
COMM 203 Communication and Mass Media 4
COMM 206 Communication and Culture 4
COMM 207 Economic Thinking for Communication and Journalism, and 2
COMM 208 Media Economics: Perspectives on Communication Industries 2
and two of the following three:
COMM 204 Public Speaking 4
COMM 301L Empirical Research in Communication 4
COMM 322 Argumentation and Advocacy 4
electives Units
Five 300-400 level COMM courses 20
One 400-level non-cross-listed COMM course (excluding COMM 443, COMM 490, COMM 494, COMM 499) 4

Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 overall GPA in upper division course work applied toward the major. Further, no more than 16 upper division elective units may be taken prior to completion of the entire core. No more than 4 units of COMM 380 may be counted toward the department major. The School of Communication is committed to ensuring that all declared communication majors follow the necessary requirements. Mandatory advisement is required of all communication majors each semester prior to registration. All students taking communication classes are held to the highest academic integrity standards and may be denied admission or have admission revoked as a result of conduct violations.

Qualified non-majors (generally, students with junior/senior status, a minimum 3.0 GPA and a declared major elsewhere at the university) with appropriate academic preparation may be permitted to enroll in communication electives without fulfilling prerequisite requirements. Application for a waiver should be made to an undergraduate adviser.

Academic Integrity Policy

The School of Communication maintains a commitment to the highest standards of ethical conduct and academic excellence. Any student found responsible for plagiarism, fabrication, cheating on examinations, or purchasing papers or other assignments will be reported to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards and may be dismissed from the School of Communication. There are no exceptions to the school’s policy.

Curriculum Areas of Study

By design, the courses in the curriculum tend to cluster into different areas of study. These areas represent important foci in the communication discipline and are areas in which the school’s faculty possess special expertise. Four such areas of study are described below. They are not mutually exclusive, nor do they exhaust the curriculum; rather, they represent partially overlapping areas of unusual depth. Students may specialize in one of these areas or may design individual programs of study by choosing other combinations of electives that best meet their needs and career objectives. Relevant courses for the clusters are posted on the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Website (

Media, Law and Politics Option: This option is designed for students who are interested in careers in government and public service, the law, and political and legal consulting, as well as advanced graduate study. Students examine communication processes in the public sphere and learn how to participate competently in these practices. Courses emphasize: the role of persuasion in the political and legal processes; the techniques used by individuals, institutions and social movements to influence public affairs; the history, design, implementation and evaluation of political campaigns; the role of public opinion; ethical issues in public communication, including the influence of media in the political and justice systems, the role of the First Amendment and the changing nature of freedom of expression in a mass-mediated environment, and problems of public participation.

Organizational and Interpersonal Communication Option: This option is most relevant to students interested in careers in business, management, human resources and development, corporate communication, and consulting, as well as advanced graduate study. Courses emphasize: interpersonal communication processes that affect and reflect personality, motives, beliefs, attitudes and values; communication’s role in the development, maintenance and disintegration of social, family and intimate relationships; managing interpersonal conflict; communication between superiors and subordinates and in teams; communication’s role in determining organizational culture; managing information in organizations; and the role of information technology in processes of globalization.

Communication and Culture Option: This option will be attractive to a broad range of students whose careers have an international or multicultural dimension, from those interested in foreign service, travel and consulting to those seeking careers in the arts. In addition, students taking this option will be well prepared for advanced graduate study. Courses emphasize: communication as an essential component of culture and cultural production; cultural forces that shape communication practices; cultural barriers to communication; gender and diversity issues in human and mass communication and cultural production; media representations of race, ethnicity and gender; the production of meaning in diverse modes such as art, religion, popular culture and technology; and cultural criticism.

Entertainment, Communication and Society Option: This option is for students who wish to pursue careers in the entertainment industry, as well as students interested in the relationship of communication and entertainment to popular culture, globalization, cultural studies, marketing, advertising and ethics. Students taking this option will be well prepared for graduate study; they will also be able to enter the entertainment industry with a grounding in the theory, roles, issues and effects of entertainment. Courses emphasize: the theoretical underpinnings of entertainment studies; the historical context of entertainment; the roles and effects of entertainment concepts in “high art” and popular culture; the impact of entertainment on politics; advertising in an entertainment society; the blurring of marketing and entertainment and the effects of this on culture; the effects of entertainment in general and specifically on constructions of race and childhood; issues in the blurring of fact and fiction; ethical dilemmas; and the globalization of entertainment industries.

Progressive Degree Program

This progressive degree program allows USC students to complete a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Communication Management in as little as five years. Students with a 3.0 overall GPA or higher in all classes taken at the university level are eligible to apply for admission to the degree program during their junior year, however a 3.0 GPA does not guarantee acceptance.

Current students must attend a mandatory information session conducted by Annenberg Admissions before initiating the application process. Students admitted into the progres-sive degree program begin taking master’s level courses in their senior year and may complete the master’s degree in year five. For information on the application process, refer to the Annenberg Website, Click on progressive degree. For further details on progressive degree programs, see here.