Apply to the Program

Admission Deadline: January 10

The deadline for fall admission is January 10 for both domestic and international applicants. This deadline supersedes the Graduate College deadline. There are no spring semester admissions.

Admission Requirements

A background in communication or closely related fields is recommended for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs. Students are selected based on their academic background, research or professional experience, and letters of recommendation.

  • Applicants to the M.A. program must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.25 GPA.
  • A Master's degree is required for admission to the Ph.D. program. Applicants without a Master's degree who are interested in the Ph.D must apply for the M.A. program.  
  • Applicants to the Ph.D. program must have a master's degree with a minimum 3.5 GPA.

How to Apply

To apply, you must complete the University of Arizona Graduate College online application.  Follow these steps:

  1. Create a GradApp account
  2. Complete your GradApp profile under "My Account".
  3. Select "Apply to a Program" from the sidebar.
  4. Choose "Degree Seeking" under application type and either "Communication (MA)" or "Communication (PhD)" under program of study.
  5. Choose the semester during which you wish to enter the program.
  6. Your application should now be initiated under "My Active Applications."

Application Materials

Statement of Purpose

Please write a Statement of Purpose (1,500-2,000 words) broken down into the following sections: 
a) your scholarly research interests in the field of communication
b) why you wish to pursue graduate study in the Department of Communication at the University of Arizona (including explicit connections between your research interests and our core faculty's areas of expertise)
c) your plans following completion of your graduate degree

Writing Sample

  • Applicants to the M.A. program should include a writing sample, such as an honors thesis, class paper, or similar evidence of scholarly writing.
  • Applicants to the Ph.D. program should include thesis chapters, prospectus, or conference paper.

Letters of Recommendation

You will need a minimum of three letters of recommendation, preferably from instructors, addressing your academic and intellectual qualifications. Enter contact information for your referees in the online application. Your referees will be contacted directly by the University of Arizona.


Transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended or are currently attending are required. Photocopies of unofficial transcripts can be uploaded with your application. You will submit official transcripts later on, before you can be officially admitted by the Graduate College.

GRE Scores

  • The majority of students admitted to the Department of Communication graduate program have GRE scores at or above 156 on Verbal, 146 on Quantitative, and 4.5 on Analytical Writing subtests. Some students are admitted with lower scores, but prospective applicants whose scores fall substantially below these numbers, and especially those with scores below the 50th percentile on any subtest, are encouraged to retake the GRE.
  • DEPT GRE MAJOR FIELD CODE: Select one of the following that best fits your interest: comm & media studies 4507; comm technologies 4502; mass comm 4508; radio, TV, & digital comm 4505; speech comm 4506; comm & journalism – other 4599.

English Proficiency for International Applicants

  • TOEFL iBT 80

  • PBT 550 

  • IELTS composite score of 7.5 with no subject area below 7 ( 8 is recommended level)

See Graduate College Requirements for International Students


 Frequently Asked Questions

Do you require the GRE? What scores are your minimums?

Yes -- the GRE is required; we do not have any minimum scores. However, the majority of students admitted to our graduate program have GRE scores above 156 on Verbal, 146 on Quantitative, and 4.5 on Analytical Writing subtests. Some students are admitted with lower scores, but prospective applicants whose scores fall substantially below these numbers, and especially those with scores below the 50th percentile on any subtest, are encouraged to retake the GRE.  


For the GRE DEPARTMENT and MAJOR FIELD CODE  please select one of the following that best fits your interest: 

  • Communications and media studies 4507
  • Communications technologies 4502
  • Mass communications 4508
  • Radio, television, and digital communication 4505
  • Speech communication 4506
  • Communications and Journalism – Other 4599

Choosing a Major Field Code will not limit student from pursuing related areas of interest or change in focus during the course of the degree.

What is the application deadline?

Application Deadline is January 10 for entry the subsequent August. We do not accept applications for entry in the Spring semester.

Do you have financial aid available?

Yes. In addition to aid available from the University office of Financial Aid, we offer paid teaching assistantships to the majority of students admitted into the graduate program. Teaching assistantships come with a tuition waiver, health/accident insurance, and an annual stipend. Research assistantships, merit-based fellowships, and scholarships are also available. Of the graduate students in the department, more than 95% receive some form of financial support.

How long does it take to get an MA or PhD degree?

Most students complete the MA degree in 2 years (4 semesters). Most PhD students finish their degree in approximately 4 years beyond the MA degree.

Which program should I apply for?

Students holding (or currently finishing) an MA degree in Communication (or a closely related social science field) should apply for the PhD program.  Students with a BA should apply for the MA program first; they can apply for the PhD while completing the MA.

If I am admitted into the program, do I have to pick one of the three areas of specialization?

No. You may take courses in any of the three areas. Your coursework is proposed to your guidance committee who approves it based on its appropriateness to your particular interests and educational needs.

Do you offer a degree program in broadcast media or media production?

No. The "mass media" component of our graduate program is focused on the social scientific study of media effects and usage. Students seeking a graduate degree in broadcast media or media production should contact the University's departments of Media Arts or Journalism.

How many students are in the graduate program?

There are approximately 25  students in the graduate program at any given point in time. These numbers fluctuate with the size of the faculty. The Department is committed to keeping the ratio of graduate students to faculty at a reasonable level so as to allow for considerable individual attention for all students in the program.

What kinds of jobs are available to people with a graduate degree in Communication?

For people with an MA degree in Communication, there are a number of career options in the private and public sector. Some students have gone on to careers in personnel, human resources, marketing, advertising, public relations, and education (often at community colleges). People seeking a PhD are usually pursuing employment in an academic setting, primarily focused on research and teaching. Since a PhD is a research degree, and the University of Arizona is in the top tier of America's research universities, students often come to this graduate program seeking quality training and education in how to design and conduct research with a significant social impact. Usually such students take positions with universities after completing their degree.

What information does the Graduate Admissions Committee look at when making admissions decisions?

The committee considers the following: a. the applicant's undergraduate GPA, and graduate GPA (if applicable),  b. the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores submitted by the applicant, c. three letters of recommendation, d. the quality of the applicant's writing sample, e. the statement of purpose written by the applicant; is there a good fit between the applicant's educational interests and what the program has to offer in coursework and faculty expertise?

Whom should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

Ideally at least one or two would come from a former professor - someone who was your instructor in class and can speak to your educational skills and performance. Letters from employers and supervisors are also acceptable.

Related Topic(s): 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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