Specialty Areas

12 units of Specialty Area coursework are required for the Communication Studies A.A. Degree.  You will need to draft a proposal that is designed to give you:

  • A deeper understanding of the field of Communication Studies
  • Cross-disciplinary connections that broaden your skillset
  • More confidence and greater marketability

Select 12 units from any discipline so long as they can present a convincing connection between the coursework and the field of Communication Studies.  First, all courses in your specialty area should connect together and form a cohesive, named theme (such as “Public Relations” or “Health Communication”).  Second, you should be able to describe a clear connection between these courses, which exist outside of the discipline, to coursework you have completed in Communication Studies (in other words, how does Business Law [BUS18] connect to what you’ve learned in your major courses?).  Finally, articulate how this coursework has enriched and expanded your knowledge of communication concepts. For example, you could discuss how NURS 81L taught you about caregiver-patient interactions, which connects with Interpersonal Communication (COMM 16).

Remember: You can complete these units at any time rather than waiting until you have finished all of your major coursework. Still, the best way to ensure you finish the specialty area in a timely manner is to meet with a full-time Communication Studies instructor (see our Faculty page) as early as possible -- ideally 3 quarters in advance -- to begin planning.

Sample Specialty Areas

Specialty Area Title Classes
Intercultural Communication ICS4, ICS9, ICS17
Environmental Communication ES1, ES2, ES56
Health Communication ANTH1, HLTH21, NUTR10
Business & Professional Communication BUS56, BUS59, BUS85
Organizational Communication BUS56, BUS65, BUS96
Gender Communication WMST8, ICS26, ELIT21
Marketing and Communication BUS21, BUS55, BUS90

Don't feel like you're limited to only the options above! If you want to do a specialty area outside of the ones listed above, our faculty will work with you to design a specialty area that meets your educational goals.

What Do I Need to Do:

5 steps you need to take for your A.A. 12-unit specialty proposal:

1.) Considering the field of Communication Studies, think of what SPECIFIC AREA OF INTEREST you would like to explore after you leave De Anza.  See above sample specialty areas for reference

2.) Identify 3 classes (12 units that you've ALREADY taken) that support your SPECIFIC AREA OF INTEREST.  These can be a combination of classes (cannot be classes used for COMM requirement).  You do not need to take additional units. 

3.) Come up with a proposal that is about a page (5 paragraph essay) that explains how your 12 units worth of classes support your specific area of interest.  Attached are 2 samples.  In each of the body paragraphs, identify a specific THEORY, TEXT, or COMMUNICATION EXAMPLE from a paper/project you completed.  Use the De Anza Course Outlines to help you with this:


4.) Submit your proposal to a full-time Comm Studies Instructor (i.e. Hong, Kaur, Gainer, Kramer, Anderson, Chivers.).  They will need to approve it our Dept. Meeting before the final sign off.  You may need to make some revisions before/after this.

5.) Sign Declaration form (attached).  Bring the signed form to Admissions and Records.

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