Frequently Asked Questions

Can you mail me an information packet and/or application materials?
We’ve tried to go as “paper-less” as possible, and therefore we do not mail information packets or application materials to prospective applicants. If you have a specific question that cannot be answered after visiting our website, please contact us.

When is the application deadline?
The application deadline is December 15 for admission in the following fall semester. All materials must be post-marked before the deadline. The deadline for admission in fall 2017 is December 15, 2016.

Can I include samples of my work (i.e., published newspaper articles, journal articles, etc.) with my application?
Applicants to the Professional MA program must submit a writing sample. All other applicants may submit supplementary application materials but are not required to do so. Please limit any supplementary materials to 10 printed pages. Please do not submit CDs, DVDs, etc.

Do I need to have experience in the field or an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication?
No, but you should demonstrate a strong and genuine aptitude for or interest in the field that might help you compete with applicants with a background in mass communication.

Do I need to take the GRE?
Yes, GRE scores are required. MCAT, GMAT or LSAT scores are not accepted.

How will my application be evaluated? Are some parts of my record more important than others?
A six-member committee of faculty members examines all aspects of an application—grades, GRE scores, statement of purpose, recommendations, résumé, and so on—and provides an overall judgment of the applicant’s qualifications.

When will I hear if I was accepted?
You will be notified around March 1.

Can I visit the School before deciding to attend?
Yes. Please make arrangements with Lisa Aarli.

How many students are in the program?
There are approximately 90 students in our graduate degree programs at various levels of progress.

How long will it take to complete the M.A. program?
The M.A. degrees usually require four semesters. Some Professional M.A. students may graduate in 3-4 semesters.

How long will it take to complete the Ph.D. program?
Typically, completing a doctorate—course work, preliminary exams, research, and dissertation defense—takes four to five years.

What are the differences between the M.A. options?
The Professional M.A. focuses on specialized training in journalism and communication skills that lead to careers in the information industries. The Research M.A. focuses on developing skills in mass communication research and writing a thesis, and typically leads to enrolling in a doctoral program.

Which classes count towards my degree?
Officially, any class designated 300 and above can count towards a graduate degree. However, doctoral students are strongly advised to register for courses with small enrollments and avoid large lecture courses. Skills courses such as 400-level undergraduate offerings on reporting or strategic communication would count towards the professional MA degree, but not towards other graduate degrees.

How many credits per semester do students usually take?
Generally, students take about 9 credits per semester.

What courses do students take in their first semester?
We strongly recommend J901, Mass Communication Colloquium, for all first year students (M.A or Ph.D.). The Professional M.A. requires enrollment in J335: Intermediate Reporting in the first semester. Course work for the Research M.A. should be planned in consultation with your adviser. As for the Ph.D., you will work with your advisor to select courses from departmental offerings as well as from other appropriate departments to craft a plan tailored to your interests and needs. As a general rule, doctoral students should strive to balance theory and methods, deepen their knowledge in areas of specific interest, and broaden their intellectual horizons.