General Information

An applicant must apply either as a degree candidate (M.A. or Ph.D.) or as a non-degree student. The admissions standards for non-degree students are not substantially different from those for degree students; non-degree students ordinarily are not eligible for financial aid, and non-degree students are admitted only in exceptional circumstances. 

Those applying as degree candidates must apply to either the M.A. program or the Ph.D. program. To apply to the M.S. in Health Communication, you must apply through the HCOM system. The M.A. degree may be taken either as a terminal degree or as preparation for doctoral work; those applying to the M.A. program should have (or be completing) a bachelor's degree in communication or a related field. Applicants to the Ph.D. program should have (or be completing) a master's degree in communication or a related field. Persons who have earned (or are completing) a bachelor's degree who plan eventually to pursue doctoral work should apply to the M.A. program; when they are near completion of the master's degree, they may apply to enter the Ph.D. program.

We seek a graduate student body that exemplifies academic excellence and diversity, including students whose educational, sociocultural experiences, or geographic background can enhance graduate study in our department. We work to enroll students committed to diversity and inclusion in a way that contributes to the quality of the intellectual environment of our department. We have a broad view of excellence, including students who have demonstrated strong scholarly output while experiencing financial hardship due to family economic circumstances or are the first generation in their families to graduate from a four-year college.


Deadline: December 1

Ordinarily, applications are considered only for admission for the Fall semester (mid-year entry is discouraged and approved only in unusual circumstances). The Admissions Committee begins formal review of applications soon after. Admission will not be offered to students with incomplete applications.


The Admissions Committee considers the complete record of the candidate in reaching a decision. The required minimum academic grade point average (for the final 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of undergraduate work) is 3.0 on a four-point scale; normally, those admitted have a grade point average above this minimum. Ideally, applicants to the M.A. program will have at least sixteen semester hours of undergraduate credit in communication, but this is not a prerequisite to admission; applicants to the Ph.D. program should have strong academic records in their master's programs. The Committee on Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid considers all candidates in the applicant pool, then makes offers of admission beginning with the most highly qualified candidates and working down until all available spaces in the following year's graduate class have been filled. That is, admission is based not on meeting minimum requirements but rather by ranking high in comparison to other candidates in the applicant pool. The GRE is NOT required nor will it be considered.

Applying Online

Applications should be completed online through the Graduate College Online system. Note about the online application system: You may save your application in draft form and continue working on it over time; do not submit your application until you are satisfied that you have completed it and uploaded the correct documents. 

A complete application file (for admission and financial aid) must include the following:

  • A completed online application form. Important: In completing the application form, the program name is Communication and the Department Code is 1489. The Program Codes are 10KS5164MA for the master's degree and 10KS5164PHD for the doctoral degree.
  • Transcripts from all previous college- and university-level work. Only after an offer of admission has been extended and accepted do applicants need to mail official transcripts; for the application process, only the transcripts that the applicant uploads are necessary.
  • Recommenders’ contact information. When you start your application, you will be asked to list the names of three recommenders; the system will then e-mail them with information about how to upload their letter. All letters must be uploaded by recommenders to the online application system; do not have recommenders mail or e-mail them to the program. Our graduate program application requires three academic letters of recommendation. Recommenders must also complete a short survey about your strengths and weaknesses as a candidate for graduate study in our department.
  • Academic statement of purpose. Please use the Academic Statement of Purpose to describe (within 1000 words): (1) How has your academic background, including any training, research, or other educational experiences, prepared you for graduate study?, (2) What are your intellectual interests, and what scholarly questions are you interested in exploring in graduate study? (3) Are there any specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own with whom you would like to work?, (4) How will our program help you achieve your academic and professional goals? 

  • CV.  We ask that students submit a curriculum vita (CV) with their admissions packet.  A CV is an academic resume that highlights your scholarly accomplishments.  Ensure that your CV contains information regarding: 1) publications, 2) conference papers, 3) degrees and 4) scholarly awards.  For an example of how to put together a CV, please see: The Graduate College Curriculum Vitae 

  • Personal statement. (Required) (250 words max): Please provide the committee with information on your personal background: (1) Please describe any experiences and/or challenges that may have shaped your intellectual and personal development, (2) Provide insight into your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect in which scholars with diverse perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and collaborate productively and positively. 

  • Optional Personal Statements (250 words max): Feel free to provide the committee with additional information regarding your personal background: (1) Please address any concerns you may have in your application. If, for example, you do not believe that your academic credentials demonstrate your true capabilities, please explain why. Also, describe any gaps in your academic career and work experience or any extenuating circumstances in your profile of which the admissions committee should be made aware, (2) If there is something that you would like to highlight that you have yet to discuss in other areas of the application, please do so here.

  • Writing sample. Our application requires a sample of your scholarly writing (no longer than 25 double-spaced pages, excluding title, abstract, and references). This sample should illustrate your best academic work. Students have the option to submit a term paper, an academic conference paper, an academic publication, or another form of scholarly product. The sample should begin with a brief introductory statement (max 100 words) describing the context under which you produced the sample (e.g., describing the nature of the assignment for which it was written, or identifying the conference to which it was accepted).  

Graduate FacultyAlthough admissions decisions are made by a faculty committee made up of a cross-section of graduate faculty, applicants should learn more about all of the graduate faculty in our department. The following faculty teach graduate courses and can advise graduate students: 

Scott Althaus, political communication, data science methods

Joshua Barbour, organizational communication

William Barley, organizational communication, collaboration

Cabral Bigman-Galimore, health communication, health equity, risk communication

Elisabeth Bigsby, health communication, persuasion

John Caughlin, interpersonal communication, relational communication

J. David Cisneros, rhetoric, social movements, and culture

Stewart M. Coles, media effects, political communication

Travis Dixon, media effects, stereotyping

Cara Finnegan, visual rhetoric, rhetorical history and theory

Brooklyne Gipson, digital and social media; race, gender, and power

Lisa Guntzviller, interpersonal communication, health communication

Minkyung Kim, organizational communication, community resilience

Leanne Knobloch, interpersonal communication, relational communication

Michèle Koven, language, culture, and interaction

Isabel Molina-Guzmán, ethnic/racial/gender identity, cultural studies, media studies

John Murphy, political rhetoric and the presidency

Ned O’Gorman, rhetorical history and theory

Brian Quick, health communication, persuasion

Charee Thompson, health communication, interpersonal communication

Emily Van Duyn, political communication, media effects

JungHwan Yang, computational social science, political communication


Submitting Materials

Applications should be completed online through the Graduate College Online system. All applications require online payment at time of application submission.

Applicants must upload an academic statement of purpose, personal statement, curriculum vitae, writing sample, recommenders' contact information, transcripts, and any additional information. Recommenders are to submit their letters online and fill out a short survey about your candidacy.


International Graduate Admissions

International applicants must meet minimum requirements based on their country of origin.

Evidence of English Proficiency

English proficiency is typically demonstrated via the TOEFL exam or IELTS.  Please note the Communication Department requests English proficiency exam scores even if the Graduate College exemption qualifications are met in order to establish teaching eligibility. Because student funding often relies on teaching assistantships, if you choose to submit an application without an English proficiency exam score, the department may request that you take the exam before an offer can be extended. 

Funding Documentation

International applicants who are requesting F-1 or J-1 visa eligibility documents are required to submit Proof of Funding Documentation.  These documents are not required at the time of application, but will be requested later in the review process if needed.