What is the Specialty Area?
The Specialty Area is a required component to earn an Associate’s of Arts degree in Communication Studies at De Anza College (our A.A. degree, not our A.A.T. degree).
The Specialty Area is a 12 unit combination of courses from outside the Communication Studies major courses that together create a cohesive theme that serves to expand your understanding of the field of Communication Studies and it’s applications, and also provides insight to a related field that aligns with your specific interests and goals.
Why do I need one?
Communication Studies is very wide-ranging academic discipline, and scholars in the discipline will often focus their work in a particular specialty area; the National Communication Association describes several on their website.
How do I satisfy this requirement? What do I do?
First, coordinate with a Communication Studies faculty member to create a theme for your specialty area and 12 units of coursework that will create that theme.
- The 12 units of coursework must come from outside the Communication Studies Major courses.
- The 12 units of coursework can satisfy other requirements as well, such as general education requirements or certificate of achievement requirements from a discipline other than Communication Studies.
- The theme of your Specialty Area should align with your interests, passions, and goals in your personal life, academic life, or professional life.
- Please see the National Communication Association website for recommended Specialty Areas, see below for sample Specialty Area course combinations, and meet with a Comm Studies faculty member to discuss your plan for your Specialty Area.
Second, write a letter to the Communication Studies Department detailing what your Specialty Area is and how it relates to the Communication Studies Discipline.
The letter will ultimately be in a 5-paragraph essay format.
You must clearly state which courses (with course number and title) create your specialty area, and how many units each course is credited for.
- You must clearly articulate the title/theme of your Specialty Area.
You must clearly articulate how each Specialty Area course is related to the Communication Studies discipline.
You must clearly articulate how the Specialty Area courses together create the theme of your Specialty Area
You must clearly articulate how this Specialty Area advances your understanding of the Communication Studies discipline.
- Please take a look at the sample student letter as well as the AA Letter Evaluation Rubric for an idea of what the final product should look like.
Third, submit this letter to the Communication Studies department for recommendations or approval. (This may take several revisions: please begin this process the quarter before your intended graduation).
Finally, once your Specialty Area Letter is approved by the department, complete the steps for your A.A. degree application. Hooray!!!
Sample Specialty Areas
|Specialty Area Title||Classes|
|Leadership & Social Change||ICS17, ICS27, ICS 19 (*)|
|Social Media||JOUR90, JOUR61A, JOUR61C, JOUR62|
|Public Relations & Marketing||JOUR80, JOUR21B, BUS90 (*)|
|Communication Education||CD50, CD68, EDUC1 (*)|
|Interpersonal Communication||CD12, PSYC8, SOC35|
|Legal Communication||PSYC63, ADMJ5, ADMJ54 (*)|
|Intercultural Communication||CETH11, AFAM10, ASAM1 (*)|
|Environmental Communication||ES1, ES2, ES56|
|Health Communication||ANTH1, HLTH21, NUTR10|
|Performance Studies||HUMI1, HUMI2, HUMI5 (*)|
|Organizational Communication||BUS21, BUS56, BUS60 (*)|
|Gender Communication||WMST8, HIST9, ICS26 (*)|
|Political Communication||POLI17, ICS55, SOC5 (*)|
|Visual Communication||F/TV1, F/TV6A, F/TV10 (*)|
* - this particular combination of courses also fulfills most of the requirements for a Certificate of Achievement in that discipline.
Don't feel like you're limited to only the options above! Substitutions and variations are possible to reflect your needs. 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.