Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

College of Creative Arts
Dean: Keith Morrison

Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts
CA 133
Fax: 415-338-1168
Web Site:
Chair: Philip Kipper

Graduate Coordinator: Brent Malin


Professors—Barsotti, Blosser, Compesi, Hewitt, Houlberg, Khani, Kipper, Patterson, Reist, Smith, C., Whitney, Wolf

Associate Professors—Gonzalez, M., Shrivastava, Smith, M.

Assistant Professors—Barnaby, Camacho, Heo, Ibrahim, Mahoney, Malin, Zhang


B.A. in Radio and Television
M.A. in Radio and Television

Program Scope

The Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) Department offers course work leading to the B.A. and M.A. in Radio and Television. The curriculum is designed to provide extensive educational experience for those who intend to use the modern media of electronic communication to serve the artistic, cultural, educational, and informational needs of society. The program involves both theory and practice, and students are expected to work successfully in both types of courses and activities. Graduates of the program are prepared for work in the broadcasting and entertainment industries, in cable and on-line media, in video and audio production, and other areas related to electronic communication. Many graduates go on for graduate-level study in the field of mass media.

The B.A. program includes a core drawn from classes in the history and structure of electronic media in the United States, media aesthetics, media research, audio and video production, media ethics and regulation, mass communication theory and criticism, and writing and performance for the electronic media. In addition, students may elect to pursue one of the nine areas of emphasis within the department: audio production and recording, broadcast journalism, business aspects of the electronic media, educational and instructional media, mass communication theory and criticism, interactive media, radio production and programming, television/video production, and writing for the electronic media, or they can design an individualized area of emphasis in consultation with a department adviser.

The M.A. program reflects a comprehensive view of the communication discipline with an integration of theory and practice. Emphasis areas include media aesthetics, audio and video production, news and documentary, interactive media, writing, management, and mass communication theory and criticism.

Two important co-curricular activities are open to students of the BECA Department. KSFS, the campus radio station, is broadcast on-line on the World Wide Web and is distributed in San Francisco on stereo cable. The Television Center produces newscasts, dramas, interviews, musical performances, and other productions for distribution to the San Francisco community through cable television. Collegiate chapters of the Audio Engineering Society, College Students in Broadcasting (an affiliate of American Women in Radio and Television), International Students in Broadcasting, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers provide opportunities for service and fellowship in the department and in the professional community. The San Francisco Bay Area provides a wealth of media organizations that cooperate with the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department in a large, active internship program.

Centers and Institutes

The Institute of International Media Communication, housed in the BECA Department, offers training and educational opportunities for television professionals from around the world through production workshops and seminars. The Center for Graduate Opportunity in Broadcast and Electronic Media provides academic support to minority and international students enrolled in the department's M.A. program.


The department's instructional laboratories include some of the most extensive audio and video production facilities in Northern California, including three color television studios (the largest measures 4,700 square feet), videotape editing laboratories equipped with off-line and broadcast quality on-line editing systems, an interactive media laboratory, an audio recording studio, a radio station, and audio post-production laboratories. These facilities are dedicated exclusively to the support of the instructional programs in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts and afford students exceptional opportunities for "hands-on" media production experience.

Career Outlook

Graduates of the BECA Department are to be found working in media organizations around the world, and include some of the top names in broadcast journalism, entertainment television, radio, and audio and video production. The long term career outlook for graduates is excellent. Most seek work with radio and television stations, audio and video production companies, networks, cable television companies, and in corporate and institutional media departments.

Many graduates of the department continue their education and pursue advanced degrees in mass communication or related fields. Students with the appropriate credential or graduate degrees in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts may teach in elementary and secondary schools, community colleges, or universities. A significant number of the department's M.A. graduates have competed successfully for admission to the leading doctoral programs in the field of mass communication.


Application Filing Periods

Applications for admission to the radio and television major are accepted by the university's Office of Enrollment Services only during the application filing periods of October 1 to November 30 (for admission the following fall) and August 1-31 (for admission the following spring). Applications received outside of these two filing periods will not be considered.

Change of Major Applicants

Undeclared majors and students enrolled in other disciplines at San Francisco State University who seek to change their major to radio and television must complete the nine units of prerequisite core classes with a grade of C or better in each (BECA 200, 300, 340) before applying for a change of major. Note: Because of high demand, enrollment priority is given to BECA major students in the prerequisite core courses, as well as in many other departmental classes.

Degree Requirements

The major includes a core requirement of 25 units and an additional requirement of 20 units of electives in an area of emphasis drawn from the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts curriculum. Enrollment in some departmental courses is restricted to BECA majors, and courses numbered 300 and above are not open to freshmen. Enrollment in courses requiring "departmental permission" is contingent upon satisfactory completion of nine units of prerequisite core courses.

Students majoring in radio and television are encouraged to take additional course work in other disciplines related to their program of study in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts.

Prerequisite Core and Departmental Permission: All radio and television majors must complete the prerequisite core courses (BECA 200, 300, 340) with a grade of C or better in each (C- is not acceptable). Completion of the core fulfills the departmental permission requirement, which is a condition for enrollment in the production sequence and many other advanced classes. The prerequisite core courses are normally taken during the sophomore year. Transfer students admitted to San Francisco State as radio and television majors should plan to complete the prerequisite core during the first semester of their junior year. A minimum of six of the nine units must be completed at San Francisco State.

Writing Competence: Good writing skills are necessary for success in the major. Completion of second year written composition (ENG 214 or equivalent) with a grade of C or better is a prerequisite for BECA 300, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Research. Students who have passed the Junior English Proficiency Essay Test (JEPET) may also be admitted to BECA 300. Students who are poor writers should improve their skills by taking composition courses or by completing writing tutorials. Students are also urged to take the JEPET as soon as they become eligible.

Mandatory Advising

Early in the BECA program. When students complete the prerequisite core—BECA 200, 300, 340, they must see an adviser and obtain a signature on the departmental permission form. The signed form is proof of completion of this requirement and allows the student to enroll in the production sequence or other advanced classes.

Upper division advising. All BECA students must receive advising when they have two full semesters remaining before they intend to graduate, typically 18 to 25 units left to complete in the major. To fulfill this requirement, students must obtain the department’s graduation checklist/course equivalency form from the department office. Faculty advisers will assist students in completing the checklist and will approve transfer course equivalencies. In addition, the student will be asked to list on the form a proposed "itinerary" of required and elective courses to be taken in the last two semesters. This advising is meant to help the student graduate in a timely manner. The form must be signed by the adviser and returned to the department office.

At graduation. All students must obtain advising when they fill out their graduation petition. The petition must be signed by a faculty adviser and by the department chair.

On-line course descriptions are available.

Prerequisite Core Units
BECA 200 Introduction to Electronic Communication 3
BECA 300 Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Research 3
BECA 340 Media Aesthetics 3
Total for prerequisite core 9
Core Foundation Areas
Units selected from the following areas. At least one course or course sequence must be taken in each of the four areas, plus one additional course from any of the four areas: 16
Audio and Video Production
BECA 230 Audio Production and  
  BECA 231   Audio Laboratory (1)
BECA 240 Video Production and
  BECA 241   Video Laboratory (1)
Regulatory, Economic, and Ethical Perspectives
BECA 324 Law and Regulation of the Electronic Media  
BECA 423 Economic Aspects of Electronic Media
BECA 460 Introduction to News on Broadcast and Electronic Media
Mass Communication Theory and Criticism
BECA 321 Critical Study of Popular Culture  
BECA 390 The Age of Information
BECA 422 Social Aspects of Electronic Media
Writing and Performance for Electronic Media
BECA 350 Media Performance  
BECA 370 Writing for the Electronic Media
Total for core 25
Electives in an Area of Emphasis
Units chosen from courses in BECA or other departments with approval of a BECA faculty adviser. Units from core courses not used to fulfill core requirements in any of the areas listed above may be counted as electives in an area of emphasis with the approval of a BECA faculty adviser.
Minimum total for major 45

Areas of Emphasis

Twenty units of elective courses in BECA or related areas are required for the major. These courses should be upper division and should be taken within one of the areas of emphasis listed below or in an individualized area of emphasis designed by a student in consultation with a department adviser.

The areas of emphasis are advisory and are meant to provide guidance for students so they develop extensive knowledge or expertise in one subject area. Students should meet regularly with a department adviser to decide which specific courses to take and how many to choose from the ones listed for a given emphasis.

Upon approval of a departmental adviser, units used in the 20-unit block of electives may include transfer units from another college or university, as well as units taken in other departments in this university. BECA Department courses identified as core classes, but not used to fulfill core unit requirements, may be included in the 20 units of electives. Variable topic and experimental courses and senior seminars (BECA 495, 595, and 600) may also be included in the 20 units of electives.

Audio Production and Recording
BECA 330, 335, 430, 433, 435, 437, 530, 533, 535, 576, DAI 332, and/or other courses by advisement

Broadcast Journalism
BECA 460, 462, 550, 560, 561, 562, 576, 591, 660, 661, 665, and/or other courses by advisement

Business Aspects of Electronic Media
BECA 324, 423, 428, 505, 576, 623, 640, and/or other courses by advisement

Educational and Instructional Media
BECA 370, 425, 536, 546, 576, 580, 625, 626, 640, and/or other courses by advisement

Mass Communication Theory and Criticism
BECA 321, 324, 390, 422, 460, 485, 487, 490, 500, 576, 590, 600, and/or other courses by advisement

New Communication Media
BECA 390, 437, 547, 549, 590, 591, 593, 626, 648, 670, 693, and/or other courses by advisement

Radio Production and Programming
BECA 305, 310, 435, 437, 505, 510, 576, 665, and/or other courses by advisement

Television/Video Production
BECA 370, 415, 425, 440, 462, 515, 516, 545, 546, 547, 549, 555, 562, 576, 580, 640, 646, 647, 648, 655, and/or other courses by advisement

Writing for the Electronic Media
BECA 370, 425, 462, 470, 560, 561, 562, 570, 576, 670, and/or other courses by advisement


Admission to Program

Graduate students are accepted twice a year, for fall and spring semesters. Students wishing to enter the master's program must apply to the university and, separately, to the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department. Applications must be received between November 1 and March 1 for fall, and between September 1 and October 15 for spring. Both university and departmental files must be complete by the last day of the application period (March 1 or October 15). Student applications to the BECA Department are evaluated during the month immediately following the due date. Applicants are notified of departmental recommendation regarding admissions approximately six weeks after the respective due date. The official notice of admission status is forwarded to the applicant by the university's Division of Graduate Studies.

Applicants must meet all university requirements for admission. Applications to the department must include: (1) BECA Department graduate application; (2) applicant's statement of purpose in pursuing the M.A. degree; (3) three letters of recommendation, preferably from former teachers; (4) transcripts of all previous college work; (5) current Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Students who speak English as a second language and whose formal education was in a language other than English must supply the department and the university with the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in lieu of GRE scores. Students for whom English is a second language must also provide the department with their score from the Test of Written English (TWE), which is administered with the TOEFL.

Before applying to either the university or the department, send for descriptive materials about the program and details on how to apply. Write to: Graduate Coordinator, BECA Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. This information may also be obtained on-line at or by e-mail at

Although undergraduate preparation in media or mass communication is desirable, students from other academic disciplines who have demonstrated interest in the electronic media are encouraged to apply. Students may be required to take up to fourteen (14) units of undergraduate courses as prerequisites. All students must take BECA 200, 340, and one production sequence (either 230 and 231 or 240 and 241). Students who choose a creative project involving production as their culminating experience may be required to take both audio and video production (230 and 231 plus 240 and 241). These prerequisites may not be used as part of the Graduate Approved Program. Students admitted to the program are admitted in conditionally classified status. Students must advance to classified status by: (1) completing or demonstrating knowledge of the content of the prerequisite courses; (2) completing BECA 700 with a grade of C or better; and (3) passing the Graduate Essay Test (GET), thus completing the first level written English proficiency requirement; and submitting the Graduate Approved Program (GAP).

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Each graduate student must demonstrate the ability to write standard American English correctly and effectively. To assure that each graduate student has the desired proficiency in written English, two distinct assessments are made by the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department during each student's program of study. Level One: newly admitted students are required to take the Graduate Essay Test (GET) administered by the Testing Center, before enrolling in their first semester in the M.A. program. If the student does not pass the GET, remedial work in appropriate writing classes will be required. Students must pass the GET or complete the required remedial work before enrolling in 700- or 800-level courses other than BECA 700. This requirement may delay the student’s progress through the program. Level Two: in the process of completing the master's degree, the student will demonstrate an advanced level of writing proficiency by successfully completing the master's written comprehensive examination, the master's thesis, or the creative project.

International Students

The BECA Department welcomes applications from international students. Many distinguished alumni of the program are working in media industries around the world. The department has an active international student association. Approximately one-third of the current graduate students are from abroad. International students should note the special requirements that pertain to them presented on these pages. If they have questions or concerns, they should contact the BECA graduate coordinator or the university Office of International Programs.

Advancement to Candidacy

In order to be advanced to candidacy, applicants must: (1) meet all university requirements for advancement to candidacy; (2) have advanced to classified graduate student status; (3) submit an approved Graduate Approved Program to the graduate coordinator, who then forwards it to the associate dean of the College of Creative Arts and to the university's Division of Graduate Studies.

Core Requirements Units
BECA 700 Introduction to Graduate Study (taken in first fall semester) 3
BECA 702 Ethics and Responsibility in the Electronic Media 3
Units chosen from the following courses: 3
 BECA 701 Formula and Creativity in the Public Arts  
 BECA 703 Seminar in Theory and Research
 BECA 706 Seminar in Media Aesthetics and Production Theory
Other Requirements
Electives: undergraduate, upper division/graduate courses in BECA or other departments as approved by the graduate adviser 6
One of the following options: 15
Thesis Option
Three graduate-level courses, excluding BECA 700, 702, 894, 896, 897, 898, and the 700-level course used to fulfill the theory and methods requirement within the core, as approved by the graduate major adviser (9);  
BECA 897 Research for Thesis and Creative Project Proposals (3); and
BECA 898 Master's Thesis (3)
Written Comprehensive Examination Option
Four graduate-level courses, excluding BECA 700, 702, 894, 896, 898, and the 700-level course used to fulfill the theory and methods requirement within the core, as approved by the graduate major adviser (12);  
BECA 896 Readings for the Written Comprehensive Examination (3); and
Master's Written Comprehensive Examination
Creative Project Option
Three graduate-level courses, excluding BECA 700, 702, 894, 896, 897, 898, and the 700-level course used to fulfill the theory and methods requirement within the core, as approved by the graduate major adviser (9);  
BECA 897 Research for Thesis and Creative Project Proposals (3); and
BECA 894 Creative Work Project (3)
Minimum total 30

Thirty credits are a minimum for graduation. Because of individual student background, needs, interests, and adviser recommendations, the graduate student may be required to complete more than 30 credit units.

The culminating experience may be completed through one of three options, described below. Students must consult with an adviser before determining which of the three options they will pursue.

Master's Thesis. Students who pursue the master's thesis option must complete a written master's thesis, a scholarly document that reports on some kind of research. The research builds upon theory, and addresses one or more research questions or tests one or more hypotheses. Research questions or hypotheses reflect a scope appropriate for M.A.-level work. Research methods are selected for their appropriateness to the question or problem at hand.

Master's Written Comprehensive Examination. Students who pursue the examination option must complete a written comprehensive examination. The examination consists of two questions. The first is a general question, drawn from these categories: aesthetics and production; criticism and analysis; history and structures; models and processes; and ethical issues. The second is a question tailored to the student's individual interests and expertise by the student's three-member faculty committee. A candidate who fails the written comprehensive examination may re-take it once.

Master's Creative Project. Students who pursue the creative project option must execute a project, the scope of which is defined by the student in collaboration with a committee of three faculty members, and prepare a written document to accompany the project. The project may take the form of a production created for the broadcast or electronic media, a script for such a production, or another type of product that employs the broadcast or electronic media. The accompanying document provides an introduction; a statement of the project's significance, value, and objectives; a literature review; a description of the creative methodology employed; a discussion of the completed project; a conclusion; and a production appendix.

SFSU Home   Search   Need Help?  

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415) 338-1111

Last modified July 05, 2012 by