Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts  {SF State Bulletin 2011 - 2012}

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Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

College of Arts and Humanities

Dean: Paul Sherwin


School of the Arts
Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

CA 133
Phone: 415-338-1787
Fax: 415-338-1168
Chair: Scott J. Patterson
Graduate Coordinator: Nancy “Sami” Reist



Professors: Barsotti, Blosser, Compesi, Dunaway, Gonzalez, Hewitt, Houlberg, Khani, Patterson, Reist, Shrivastava, Whitney, Wolf
Associate Professors: Camacho, Ibrahim, Provenzano, M. Smith, Zhang
Assistant Professors: Chan, Drennan, Jacoby, Lee



B.A. in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

M.A. in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts


Program Scope

The Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) offers course work leading to the B.A. and M.A. in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts. 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 electronic media.


The B.A. program includes a core drawn from classes in the history and structure of electronic media, media aesthetics, media research, audio and video production, media ethics and regulation, 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 music recording, broadcast journalism, business aspects of the electronic media, educational and instructional media, 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 communication theory and criticism.


Two important co-curricular activities are open to students of the department. KSFS, the campus radio station, is broadcast on-line on the World Wide Web and is distributed in San Francisco on stereo cable. Television Center produces newscasts, dramas, interviews, musical performances, and other productions for distribution to the San Francisco community through cable television and via the Internet. Collegiate chapters of the Audio Engineering Society, College Students in Broadcasting (an affiliate of American Women in Radio and Television), 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 department, offers training and educational opportunities for television professionals from around the world through production workshops and seminars.



The department's instructional laboratories include some of the most extensive audio and video production facilities in Northern California, including three high-definition 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, a writing laboratory, an electronic journalism lab, and audio post-production laboratories including surround sound mixing environments. 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 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 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 communication.


Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

Application Filing Periods

Applications for admission to the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts 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 to September 30 (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 Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts must complete the 9 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 9 units of prerequisite core courses.


Students majoring in broadcast and electronic communication arts are encouraged to take additional course work in other disciplines related to the major.


Prerequisite Core and Departmental Permission: All BECA 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 BECA majors should plan to complete the prerequisite core during the first semester of their junior year. A minimum of 6 of the 9 units must be completed at SF State.


Writing Competence: second year written composition (ENG 214 or equivalent) with a grade of C or better is a prerequisite for BECA 300 GW, “Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Research - GWAR.” BECA majors who successfully complete BECA 300 GW will have satisfied the University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students may improve their skills by taking composition courses or by completing writing tutorials.


Supervised and Independent Work Experience: The department encourages students to participate in independent production, internship, and supervised teaching experiences as a part of their program of study. Students may count a total of 6 units from the courses BECA 576, 685, 695, and 699 toward satisfying major requirements. No more than 4 units from any individual course may be counted toward the major.


Transfer Students: Students transferring to the BECA program from a California community college or other institution should strive to complete the SF State Lower Division Transfer Pattern. Transfer students are encouraged to complete the equivalent of ENG 214 and BECA 200, 230/231, and 240/241 before matriculation to SF State. Many of the transfer equivalents to these courses are offered at California community colleges and can be verified via the Assist Website ( Please contact a faculty adviser if your course is not listed on the Website. Up to 9 units of courses from California community colleges may be directly applied to fulfilling BECA major requirements.


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 or the BECA 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.


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.


Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.


Prerequisits Core

Course Title Units
BECA 200 Introduction to Electronic Communication 3
BECA 300 GW Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Research - GWAR 3
BECA 340 Media Aesthetics I 3

Total for prerequisite core: 9


Core Foundation Area (16 units)

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.


Audio and Video Production

Course Title  
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

Course Title  
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

Course Title  
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

Course Title  
BECA 350 Media Performance
BECA 370 Writing for the Electronic Media

Total for Core: 25


Electives in an Area of Emphasis

Twenty 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 Music Recording
BECA 330, 335, 430, 433, 435, 437, 530, 533, 535, 576, and/or other courses by advisement


Electronic Media Journalism
BECA 460, 462, 550, 560, 561, 562, 576, 591, 660, 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, 626, 640, and/or other courses by advisement


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


Interactive 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


Master of Arts in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

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. Both applications must be received between November 1 and December 15 for the fall semester, and between September 1 and October 15 for the spring semester. Both University and departmental files must be complete by the last day of the application period (December 15 or October 15). Applicants for fall admission are notified of departmental recommendation regarding admissions in early February. Applicants for spring admission are notified of departmental recommendation regarding admissions in mid November. 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, which includes a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or better . Applications to the department must include:

  1. BECA department graduate application available through the department website (;
  2. applicant's statement of purpose in pursuing the M.A. degree;
  3. three letters of recommendation, at least one of which should be from a former teacher;
  4. transcripts of all previous college work;
  5. current Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores must be submitted to both the University and the department. The department requires a minimum GRE Analytical Writing score of 4.5.


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 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 14 units of undergraduate courses as prerequisites. All students must take BECA 200, 340, and one introductory 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 Advancement to Candidacy.


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 B or better;
  3. demonstrating Level One Written English Proficiency (see below); AND
  4. submitting the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form to the SF State graduate office.


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. Level One: Level One writing is demonstrated preadmission with an Analytical Writing score on the GRE of 4.5 or higher. Students who fail to demonstrate Level One writing preadmission may be admitted conditionally, but they will be required to take remedial writing courses before enrolling in 700-level or 800-level courses other than BECA 700 and BECA 702. The remedial writing classes cannot be used on the ATC. 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. 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 Advancement to Candidacy form to the graduate coordinator, who then forwards it to the University’s Division of Graduate Studies.


Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.


Core Requirements

Course Title Units
BECA 700 Introduction to Graduate Study (taken in first fall semester) 4
BECA 701 Formula and Creativity in the Public Arts 3
BECA 702 Ethics and Responsibility in the Electronic Media 3
BECA 706 Seminar in Media Aesthetics and Production Theory 3
BECA 822 Seminar in Media and Society 3

Other Requirements

Electives: must be approved by the graduate adviser. 12 units.

One of the following Culminating Experience options (3 units):

Course Title Units
Thesis Option:
BECA 894* Creative Work Project
Written Comprehensive Examination Option:
BECA 896 Readings for the Written Comprehensive Examination
Creative Project Option:
BECA 898* Master's Thesis
*Requires BECA 897 (Research for Thesis and Creative Project Proposals) as a prerequisite. BECA 897 may be used for up to 3 units of elective credit in the ATC.

Minimum Total: 31 units


The minimum requirement for graduation is 30 units. Because of individual student background, needs, interests, and adviser recommendations, the graduate student may be required to complete more than 30 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 original 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 while they are enrolled in BECA 896. The examination will be created by a committee that is appointed by the instructor of BECA 896. 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. The faculty may require additional coursework to demonstrate evidence of ability to complete a creative project.


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