How to Apply

The application for PhD, Research MA and Professional MA programs will open on September 6, 2023 and close on December 15, 2023.

1. Complete and submit your application online

Apply online here. After submitting your application, you will receive an email with information about your personalized Online Admission Status Information System (OASIS) account. Please save this email, as you should continue to monitor your application status. Be sure you are applying for the correct program.

Applicants to the master’s program must select the correct Named Option and should only apply to one:

  • Journalism and Mass Communication MA – Professional
  • Journalism and Mass Communication MA – Research

Ph.D. applicants may apply to one or both departments, depending on your areas of research interest. Options are:

  • Mass Communications: Journalism & Mass Comm (code G630L)
  • Mass Communications: Life Sciences Comm (code G630A)

2. Pay the $75 nonrefundable application fee

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication cannot access your application or test scores until you pay the $75 fee. International applicants are charged an additional $6 processing fee. The UW-Madison Graduate School offers a limited number of fee grants to minority and economically disadvantaged students, as does the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply. For more information visit: Select “Instructions” under page header; select “Application Fee Grants” under General Instructions.

3. Write a statement of purpose outlining your goals for graduate education

The graduate committee pays careful attention to an applicant’s ability to outline clear and appropriate goals for graduate study. Provide a brief, focused statement of your educational and career goals and your reasons for selecting this graduate program. Discuss those factors — personal, professional, academic — that have prepared you to pursue a graduate degree. All Professional M.A. applicants should indicate in some detail what kind of specialty they will seek and why. The statement should be about 750 words in length.

4. Include a resume or curriculum vitae

Be certain to include information about awards, honors and publications.

5. Provide a copy of your transcripts

You may upload a copy of your transcripts to the online application. If you are admitted to the program and decide to attend, then you will need to provide the official transcript to finalize your admission to the Graduate School.

6. Writing Samples

Applicants to the professional M.A. are required to submit a writing sample in PDF format. No CDs, DVDs or other material will be accepted or considered. Writing samples could include news stories, blog posts, white papers, reports or portions of an academic paper. Professionally published samples are preferred but not required. Writing samples must be uploaded to the online application.

Applicants to the Research M.A. and the Mass Communications Ph.D. are required to submit a writing sample in PDF format. The writing sample could include a peer-reviewed article, a conference paper, a seminar paper, a senior or master’s thesis, or an article published in the popular press related to your research area of interest. 25 page maximum. It can be a portion of a paper.

NOTE: Writing samples are required for applicants to Mass Comm: Journalism & Mass Communication and are optional for applicants to Mass Comm: Life Sciences Communication.

The writing sample must be uploaded to the online application in the Supplemental Section of the application.

7. Arrange for three letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation are completed online. An email with a link to an online evaluation form will be sent to your recommenders when you submit your application. When you list your three recommenders, please be sure the email address is accurate and valid.

Letters of recommendation for recent graduates should come primarily from faculty members who can evaluate your previous academic performance and provide an assessment of your likelihood of success in graduate school. One of the letters may come from an employer or internship supervisor.

Applicants who have been out of school for a number of years may submit letters from people who know them in a professional capacity, such as a current supervisor or employer. Letters should come from individuals who have worked directly with you and who are in a position to objectively evaluate your abilities and work product.

We are interested in an assessment of those attributes that predict success in rigorous graduate education (for example, analytical abilities, ability to synthesize complex bodies of information and ability to formulate original research questions), rather than a general impression of your personality or character.

8. Answer the questions in the supplemental application. 

  • All students answer this question: How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Wisconsin?
  • PhD and Research MA students: select your top two areas of research interest and up to three faculty members with whom you’d like to work

8. Provide TOEFL scores (international applicants only)

The required proficiency scores are:

Minimum TOEFL requirement: 92 internet (iBT); 580 paper-based test (PBT)

Minimum IELTS requirement: 7.0

Minimum IELTS Indicator requirement: 7.0

(The IELTS Indicator test will be accepted temporarily due to COVID-19.  Applicants can have them sent to us by choosing University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate Studies.)

**Note: We do not accept Duolingo.

All scores must be from tests taken after Sept. 1, 2022. We no longer accept computer-based TOEFL scores.

TOEFL scores are reported electronically by the Educational Testing Service. To have your scores reported to UW-Madison, use institution code 1846. Because the scores are downloaded directly into the Graduate School’s central database, you do not need to list a department code.

IELTS scores can be submitted electronically to UW-Madison using institution code 1846 or by paper to the Graduate School at the following address:

UW-Madison Graduate School, Office of Admissions, 232 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI 53706.

See all the Graduate School’s Requirements for Admission for more information.