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About our Undergraduate Curriculum

Communication occupies an especially exciting position in contemporary scholarship and education. We have seen over the past generation the emergence of new media forms as fundamental to the fabric of our social, economic, scientific, and cultural life as was the invention of the printing press in the 15 century. The ever-expanding centrality of information technology and communication industries; the mass migration of social interactions to the digital world; the substitution of mass media for other institutions of socialization and intermediation; the life-altering impact of globalization, which makes mediated relationships across distance and community boundaries increasingly important; and the growing attention to how built and digital environments assume and shape as well as foster particular forms and practices of life - all have motivated increased attention across the social sciences and humanities to mass media, information technology, and processes of mediation. The "linguistic turn" in many disciplines, subsequently broadened to include visual and other discourses, have similarly increased the centrality of our discipline and the range of its connections to other fields.

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As you traverse the website, the department’s unusual approach to the field of Communication will undoubtedly become apparent. Our faculty come from fields across the Social Sciences and Humanities and bring multiple disciplinary traditions and methodologies to bear in the study of communication as an institutional, technological, cultural, architectural, and cognitive phenomenon, inextricably anchored in and shaped by questions of democracy, diversity, social justice, and social change.

What this means for our undergraduates majoring in Communication is a more theoretically-oriented investigation of how discourses, communication infrastructure, media institutions, and the spatial dimensions of human activity together shape economic, political, and cultural life.

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Although we do not provide pre-professional training in journalism, advertising, public relations, or business communication, our curriculum is nevertheless rich in hands-on learning opportunities for students interested in designing and producing media, conducting fieldwork, or bridging the university- community divide through participation at a number of our faculty directed, regionally-based labs and community-based sites. Students in Communication can expect to graduate with analytical tools applicable to a variety of careers, not only in the industry sectors traditionally categorized as “Communication,” such as journalism, broadcasting, advertising, and marketing, but in other fields where communication systems and processes are increasingly central, for example, government and public policy, law, business and non-profit organizations.

New Undergraduate Grading Policies during COVID-19

During the Spring 2020 quarter, the Academic Senate has approved letter grades as well as Pass/No Pass (P/NP) grades to be taken in undergraduate courses. In an effort to provide students with flexibility during this time, the Communication Department has agreed to comply with this policy for its majors and minors. 

However we wish to bring to your attention, that not all students should choose this option. 

What should I consider before taking a course Pass/No Pass instead of a letter grade?

  • Students should carefully consider taking additional units under the assumption they will need to devote less time to each course if it is graded P/NP. The expectation is students will apply the same amount of time and energy towards each enrolled course regardless of how the course is graded. If adequate time is not planned for each course, a student could easily find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of work required for the quarter.
  • Students who plan to retake a course to replace a previously earned grade, must retake the course using the same grading method. If the previously earned grade was a letter grade (“D”, “F”), the course must be retaken using the same grading format. For example, a student who took FA19 COMM 102C  and earned an “F,” would have to retake SP20 COMM 102C as letter-graded (P/NP is not an option).
  • Students who plan to apply for postgraduate study. Graduate, medical, and other professional schools may not accept a grading option of P/NP for some courses. Students will need to check with the specific graduate/professional school they are applying to and inquire what courses are required to apply and if those courses can be graded as P/NP. 
  • Students who are veterans and receive financial assistance need to check with their campus Veterans Affairs liaisons to determine how taking a course as P/NP will impact their financial support.
  • Students trying to raise their GPA, especially in an effort to return to good academic standing. Students who need to raise their GPA above a 2.0 to be in good standing or for purposes of financial aid may be harmed in taking P/NP grades.
  • Students maintaining satisfactory academic progress for financial aid. In addition to GPA, a student must maintain “Satisfactory Academic Progress” (SAP). Students should always check with the UCSD Financial Aid Office to verify how taking courses as P/NP would impact their aid.
  • Students should consider the grading scale for Pass (“A”-”C-”) and No Pass (“D”-”F”) courses. The Communication Department accepts grades of “D” or better for our major and minor requirements. Therefore, a student who takes SP20 COMM 101 as letter-graded and earns a “D” will be able to use this course towards their COMM major or minor requirements. However, if the same student takes SP20 COMM 101 as P/NP, they will earn an “NP” and will not be able to use the course towards their major or minor requirements. S 

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of potential unintended consequences. Students who are uncertain of the effects of this decision are encouraged to seek guidance from their academic advisors to understand the full implications of their choices.

Looking for courses?

Need to find current or upcoming courses?

If you are looking for Communication courses offered this academic year visit our Quarterly Descriptions for Seminars and Topics Courses page

Take me to Quarterly Descriptions for Seminars and Topics Courses

Need to find previous courses?

If you are looking for Communication courses previously offered in the last year, use this link:

Take me to Previous Couses

Need to find future courses?

If you are looking for the proposed course schedule for the 2020-2021 academic year use this link:

Proposed Course Schedule

Quarter by Quarter Plans

Our academic advisers have developed detailed quarter-by-quarter plans to help you successfully navigate your journey as a Communication scholar at UC San Diego

Learn more

Looking for something?

Are you looking for forms and petitions? They have moved to Undergraduate Academic Advising.

Take me to forms

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Looking for Advice?

Our Undergraduate Academic Advisers are available to help you navigate our program. Academic Advising is available to all UC San Diego students who are registered and enrolled in classes. We also provide information about when and how to speak with your College advisor, your Major/Minor Advisor, and Career Services.

Connect with an adviser

Do you think you might need Disability accomodations?

It is important to register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) BEFORE beginning classes so that you receive accommodations in time.

Go to the Disability Accommodations