College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Humanities and Communication

HCOM major concentrations

Communication Studies

Students in the Communication Studies concentration develop a deep understanding of communication theories and apply this knowledge to become effective and ethical communicators in a variety of contexts: relationships, teams, organizations, communities, and the public sphere. Effective and ethical communicators balance the interests of multiple stakeholders, assess a situation’s communication needs, and select appropriate communication strategies to meet those needs. They create and evaluate messages by understanding how verbal and nonverbal language can influence audiences and mobilize social change. Through the Communication Studies concentration, students prepare themselves to contribute to society in the areas of media production, marketing, public relations, advertising, education, business, human resources, and/or law. Ultimately, by strengthening their knowledge, skills, and values of communication, Communication Studies students enrich their personal, professional, and public lives.

Creative Writing and Social Action

The Creative Writing and Social Action concentration (CWSA) offers students the opportunity to deepen and advance their studies in creative writing and social action. The concentration teaches depth in “writing as representation,” believing that everyone’s stories matter and need to be heard. Social action writing is a form of engaged critical inquiry and an act of social responsibility. It is writing that witnesses, breaks silences, and transforms lives. Students with an HCOM major and CWSA concentration are well prepared to enter any career that values strong writing, cross-cultural communication, tech/media skills, community responsiveness, and creative and critical engagement with social issues. CWSA students have gone on to become poets, fiction or creative non-fiction writers; editors, journalists, law students, grant writers, Peace Corps workers, political organizers, coordinators of community-based and cultural arts programs, among others.

English Studies

English Studies concentration is an in-depth concentration designed to develop students’ abilities in critical thinking, empathic understanding, and analytical reasoning. Through the study of literature, rhetoric, composition, and theory, students acquire experience in interdisciplinary inquiry, enhance their cross-cultural communication skills, and cultivate their capacity to understand and appreciate texts reflecting diverse backgrounds and experiences. Students learn to interpret and compare positions, to read closely, critically, and with empathy, to conduct research, to weigh evidence, and to communicate with insight and expertise.

English Subject Matter Preparation

The Major in Humanities and Communication with the Concentration in English Subject Matter Preparation meets the California Teaching Commission standards for subject competency in English for secondary teaching. Satisfactory completion of this Major and Concentration waives the CSET subject matter examination as a requirement for entry to a fifth-year credential program and as a requirement for obtaining the secondary teaching credential.

Ethnic and Gender Studies (enrollment suspended due to new Ethnic and Gender Studies major)

The Ethnic and Gender Studies concentration provides an interdisciplinary course of study examining the ways in which multiple social identities -- including ethnicity, race, class, gender, sexuality, and/or ability -- intersect and shape our lives. Students in this concentration learn how race, gender, power and culture impact individuals and communities, and the ways cultural representations and practices reflect group identities, values, and beliefs. Ethnic and Gender Studies concentration students learn about the experiences of marginalized people and communities, social movements, and ongoing struggles for social justice. Students completing this concentration will be prepared to take what they learn and apply it to work as educators, community organizers, advocates, and leaders, and are prepared to pursue many professions where knowledge of diverse communities is essential for success. Students in this concentration can also pursue graduate studies in many fields including ethnic studies, feminist and gender studies, and American Studies.

Historical Studies

This concentration provides students the opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of the past, including social, political, cultural, and ethnic histories as well as also how different kinds of communities frame, interpret, and engage with the past. With a firm grounding in humanities-based research methods, including oral history, and the close study of a variety of historical time periods and contexts, students develop skills in oral and written communication, historical thinking and analysis, and engagement of history in community contexts.

Journalism and Media Studies

Students studying media and journalism in the 21st century are both producers and consumers of content. Our unique program emphasizes the necessity for media professionals to engage in their geographic and interest-based communities. Courses in the Journalism and Media Studies concentration will prepare you for careers in multiplatform journalism, the media industry, social media, public relations, academia and more, while building and broadening your skills in engaging multiple publics and telling their stories in ethical, inclusive ways to foster dialogue and community building.

Legal Studies

The Legal Studies concentration offers an intensive, interdisciplinary education in argumentation, reasoning, and an understanding of law in society. All students complete courses in philosophy and ethics, ethnic and cultural studies, legal/constitutional focused studies, and a research intensive experience. Students may choose options in such other areas as history, global studies, rhetoric, communication, legal studies and/or an internship. This concentration is good preparation for law or graduate school, or if you intend on pursuing careers in such areas as community organizing, advocacy, government, politics, conflict resolution, mediation, or criminal justice.

Philosophy and Applied Ethics

The concentration in Philosophy and Applied Ethics immerses students in understanding philosophical theory and applying it to ethical reasoning about significant issues. Classes address a range of topics, including: moral reasoning and critical reflection; theories of rights and responsibilities; theories of knowledge; and ethical and effective decision making.