Specialty Areas

12 units of Specialty Area coursework are required for the Communication Studies A.A. These elective courses are designed to give you an enhanced understanding of the field and create cross-disciplinary connections that will help you better articulate the strengths of a Communication Studies degree, as well as make you more marketable.

You can select 12 units from any discipline so long as they can present a convincing connection between the coursework and the field of Communication Studies and meet our “TIE” criteria:


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?).

Expands (Understanding)

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

Creating a specialty area can be challenging with so many available courses at De Anza. If you're feeling overwhelmed with choices, you might consider the pre-designed specialty areas in the table below. Clicking on the course number in the "Classes" column will take you to the official course outline for the class, which can help with the "E" area of the "TIE" criteria.

Although we've provided multiple options for courses, remember that you only need to take a minimum of 12 units for your specialty area.

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.

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