Communication Studies

Transfer Students and Course Scheduling

Welcome to Communication Studies at CSU, Chico

Welcome to the Communication Studies Program at Chico State, we are excited to have you join us!  You will find a well-designed major with challenging course and activities that will prepare you for a variety of career paths.  An important task you have each semester is to plan ahead and create a strong schedule that includes:

  1. The Right Classes (to transfer, for Major, Minor, GE, other Univ. Requirements)
  2. An Appropriate Workload (good schedule with time to be successful in courses)
  3. Attention to Your Graduation Goal (progress towards degree)

To help you get stated, please print out the CMST Advising Sheet for the Option you plan to pursue – Communication and Public Affairs (CMPA) or Organizational Communication (ORGC).

If you are not sure which option is best for you, that’s ok for now, just use one to get started. Once here, you can meet with an adviser to talk more about the options, but for your first two semesters almost all courses will be ones all majors complete.

What are the right classes to complete prior to transferring?

Before your first semester at Chico State, a transfer student will hopefully have completed in addition to all GE courses, most or all of the lower-division courses required by the major if possible, and those are:

Required Core Courses

  • CMST 131: Speech Communication Fundamentals (public speaking, also GE)
  • CMST 132: Small Group Communication (also GE)
  • CMST 233: Interpersonal Communication
  • CMST 235: Intercultural Communication (also GE, US Diversity)

Option and/or Electives

  • CMST 234: Gender and Communication (elective course)
  • CMST 255: Argumentation and Debate (also GE Critical Thinking course, and CMPA required course or ORGC elective course).

If you are unsure if the classes you have completed will transfer, you can check on to determine if a California Community College or University course will automatically transfer to CSU, Chico. If you need additional assistance, contact the Admissions Office or the Communication Studies office.

Note about Minors: The Communication Studies Major requires the completion of a Minor for the degree. This requirement is an important part of the major, as it enhances and expands the knowledge, skills, and experiences of our majors in beneficial ways. Please see the separate section on Communication Studies Advising: Formal Minor Requirement, for additional information and guidance on how to select the Minor. As you will see below, your minor classes are part of your course planning starting semester one, if possible.

What are the right classes to take in my first semester as a CMST major?

Course Options for First Semester

Depending on your available time and whether you are going full or part-time, the list below identifies the best classes to make up your first semester as a CMST major. If 5 classes are too many, then you will need to make choices about which courses to prioritize and some advice is offered below.

CMST Major Core Choices:

  • CMST 330*:  Introduction to Communication Studies
  • CMST 331W*:  Communication. Scholarship (writing intensive, must have C- or better in ENGL 130)
  • CMST Lower-Division course(s) listed above if not done (consider completing in winter/summer)

* = Prerequisite courses that must be completed with C- or better prior to other CMST classes.

General Education:

  • One GE Upper-Division Pathway Class (review Pathways on GE Planning Form)

Minor Class: Begin this as early as possible, (see CMST Advising-Formal Minor Requirement)

  • First Minor Course 
    See catalog or academic plan or minor adviser to determine which course(s)


If any lower-division GE is not completed, prioritize that over the Pathway and Minor course

Course Options for Second Semester

 CMST Major, Minor, GE Courses:

  • CMST 350 & 370 (must have C- or better in CMST 330/331)
  • Any other Core Course(s) not 400-level (CMST 200 or 300 level electives or core)
  • Other Pathway and/or Minor courses 

Pay close attention to the pre-requisites for all classes, they lay out a clear path as to what classes to take in which order. Failing to follow the pre-reqs or failing to pass pre-reqs, in GE, Major, or Minor classes, can delay progress towards graduation

What do you mean by "appropriate workload?"

To be successful, the student must have the available time to devote to their studies and the demands of each course taken in a given semester. It is easy to enroll in 4, 5 or 6 classes – but you must ask yourself, “can I be successful in all those classes?” 

As a transfer student, you are now taking upper division courses, each requiring approximately 2-3 hours work outside of class for each hour of meeting in class (50 min).

See the University Catalog(opens in new window) for explanation of credit hours.

The upper-division courses will require a higher level of work and achievement, so you need to factor that into your schedule, as well as the other obligations you have that will require your time. A 5-class schedule is considered full-time or approximately 40+ hours per week, if you also have a part or full-time job, extra-curricular activities, and/or other personal obligations, this many classes may not be appropriate, as you may not have the time to be successful and could delay graduation.

There is no perfect calculation for determining what is the appropriate workload for you, but you know your abilities, you know your obligations, you now have some idea of the time needed for upper-division classes, so you can give it some thought. You can also speak with advisers to ensure you can be successful with the schedule you have created and the time you have available.

Attention to your graduation goal, use the tools and resources provided

Depending on whether you are taking your classes full-time or part-time, you should start your degree having a realistic graduation goal in mind, 2 years, 3 years? There are several tools available to you that can assist in staying focused on your progress towards your degree, once you get going in the major. You have the responsibility for being aware of your progress, so be sure to use these tools often and always when course planning. 

Degree Planner Tool, located in your Student Center.

This tool provides a recommended plan for each remaining semester, through graduation, based on the courses you have already completed.  This tool works with the required courses for your Major, Minor, and GE. It will pre-populate each semester so you can adjust the schedule to fit your individual needs (increase or decrease units, swap courses) using a simple drag and drop feature for revising each term. This allows you to see which order of courses is recommended and how long it will take to finish, and if needed, where you could make adjustments to graduate sooner or take more time if desired.

Degree Progress Report, located in your Student Center.

This tool shows your current status for all University, GE,

Major, Minor Requirements, as either met (green), in-progress (yellow), or unmet (red). This report is in real-time, so it includes any course you have completed, are currently taking, or are enrolled in for the next semester, and it presents a clear tally of what is still needed to be completed to graduate. The difference is it can tell you the exact classes or requirements still needed, whereas the Degree Planner will lay out those unmet requirements for you by semesters.

Advisers: Academic Advising (GE, transfer), Major, and Minor.

There are advisers for your Major, your Minor, and for GE and Transfer questions, it is essential you meet with the right adviser when necessary. You can answer a lot of questions using the Degree Planner and DPR tools, but there are other questions you may have that need to be addressed by an adviser.

You can do this!

You have the information and support you need, via the tools noted above, online, in the catalog, and from meeting with advisers. The most important task you have is planning ahead, seeking out the needed information, and working well in advance of your registration dates, in order to create that strong schedule that includes: 

  1. The Right Classes
  2. An Appropriate Workload
  3. Attention to your Graduation Goal

That strong schedule and planning will enable you to maximize your time and resources, achieve at your highest levels, and gain as much as you can out of your Chico State Experience in Communication Studies.

Once more, welcome! We look forward to meeting you in class.