What courses do I need to take for my degree and how many will I need to take?

There are some minimum requirements and parameters but much is at the discretion of your advisor (for M.A. students) or your advisor plus program planning committee (for Ph.D. students). M.A. students must complete 32 hours of graduate credit; Ph.D. students must complete 96 hours of graduate credit. For more information, see the Handbook for Graduate Students in Communication.


What are the minimum and maximum course loads for graduate students?

It depends--most of our students who hold a teaching appointment take 8 or 12 hours per semester during the regular year. If you hold an academic-year fellowship, no matter the amount, you are required to take 12 hours per semester. For more information, see the Course Loads section of the Graduate Handbook.


Where can I find a handy checklist that lists requirements of my program?

The checklist for an M.A. degree is here, and the checklist for a Ph.D. degree is here.


How do comprehensive exams for M.A. students work?

As you near completion of your degree, you and your advisor will plan your comprehensive examination. For more information, see the M.A. Program section of the Graduate Handbook.


When should I register for CMN 595 and when should I register for CMN 599?

The short answer: CMN 595 is for independent study not directly or specifically related to a thesis or dissertation. Doctoral students who are writing preliminary exams also register for four hours of CMN 595 during the semester in which they will defend the exam. CMN 599 is for work on a thesis or dissertation. Students do not necessarily have to wait until all other course work is completed before registering for CMN 599. 


What do you mean by "program of study" and how do I get one?

Doctoral students work with their advisors and program planning committees to develop a written "program of study" document that describes the courses the student will complete as part of the requirements for the Ph.D. All students should have a program of study approved by their committee and on file with the Director of Graduate Study not later than the end of their third semester in the doctoral program. You can find the form for the Program of Study here.


I'm ready to take my preliminary exams/schedule my dissertation defense--what should I do?

First, speak with your advisor about planning an exam or defense. Then, contact the Department of Communication graduate program office to request that the Graduate College appoint a final examination committee and, in making the request, specify a date for the examination. When you schedule the exam or defense make sure your committee gets a minimum of two weeks to read your exam answers or dissertation. The exam or defense should not occur until this form has been submitted to the Graduate College and the Graduate College has returned to the advisor a form for reporting the results of the exam or defense. For more information, see the Handbook for Graduate Students in Communication.


If I'm finishing my M.A. degree and I want to continue on in the Ph.D. program. What do I do?

First, speak with your advisor about the fit between our doctoral program and your academic interests, abilities, and goals. Then, speak with the Director of Graduate Study about completing an application for admission to the doctoral program. Your application will be reviewed along with all other applications to our graduate program for the coming year. For more information, see the Handbook for Graduate Students in Communication.


I'm presenting a paper at a conference--can I get funding to help pay for my expenses?

Yes! You may apply for support from the Friends of the UIUC Department of Communication fund. There are also grants available from the Graduate College. For more information, see "Travel Support for Graduate Students."


Will I receive funding for the summer and how are these decisions made?

Although fewer students are funded during the summer than during the regular school year, there are teaching and fellowship opportunities available. Students who hold teaching appointments or fellowships during the regular school year may receive a waiver of tuition and fees for the subsequent summer sessions. For more information, see "Financial Aid"