Degrees

M.A. or Ph.D. in Communication Studies

The Communication Studies program offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) at the Lawrence Campus and the Edwards campus and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) only at the Lawrence campus. Five program areas have been ranked among the top doctoral programs in the country including rhetorical studies, political communication, organizational communication, interpersonal communication, and intercultural communication. Graduate students study communication theory in depth and master at least one research methodology, choosing from course sequences in rhetorical/historical, experimental, and qualitative methods. Each student is encouraged to develop two personal research interests and to work independently and with faculty members in pursuit of those interests. Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships are available.

Why KU?

While there are many fine graduate programs in the nation, there are four ways in which the KU program excels. The first is a commitment to teaching that has resulted in numerous honors for both the department and individual faculty. The list of significant teaching awards won by the department and by KU faculty members that is included elsewhere on the website is a very long one. Virtually every faculty member who has been in the department for more than a year or two has won one or more significant awards. Several faculty members have won multiple awards at KU, as well as national and regional awards. Second, the department is student-friendly and works extraordinarily hard to nurture graduate student teaching and research. Surveys of graduate student satisfaction place the department at the very top of the discipline. Third, KU faculty members are not only fine teachers, but committed and very productive scholars. Review of faculty CVs and recent publications makes it obvious that several faculty members are among the leading figures in their sub-disciplines. Young faculty members are building records as rising stars. Finally, KU provides the intellectual room and support for graduate students to build innovative programs that may bridge different areas of the discipline. For example, it is that openness to ideas that led faculty in the department to be among the first in the discipline develop courses and research focused on organizational rhetoric.

Want the straight scoop? Ask a current graduate student!

Prospective graduate students often find it valuable to talk to current graduate students to find out about their perception of the program. Students who have a question about the program can email COMSGradQuestions@ku.edu Your email will not be reviewed by faculty and will be answered by a current grad student.

COMS Expands Efforts at Graduate Professional Development

Continuing efforts of past years, the department has established a major program of professional development for graduate students.  The development effort focuses on three main areas:  research, teaching, and professional opportunities.  The department offers a series of seminars, research workshops, colloquium programs, and research completion efforts to help graduate students develop a research program.  The department is equally committed to teaching, offering a training workshop, courses, and other seminars with a pedagogical focus to help Graduate Teaching Assistants develop a strong teaching record.  Finally, the department offers a number of special workshops on such topics as creating an academic CV, the job search process, and how to present an effective job talk to help students develop a strong professional record.  For additional information on the development efforts click here.

Contact Information:

Communication Studies is a department with its own graduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Science. All correspondence concerning admission to graduate study in Communication Studies should be addressed to the Director of Graduate Study for the department:

Dr. Robert Rowland

The University of Kansas
Department of Communication Studies
Bailey Hall 
1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 102 
Lawrence, KS 66045-7574 

Voice: 785-864-9868 
Email: rrowland@ku.edu

*For general information about KU Graduate Studies, visit the Graduate School Web site.

*For information about the COMS graduate program at the Edwards Campus, visit our Edwards Campus page.


Calendar of Events
Advising Information

Advising for summer 2014 and fall 2014
(March 24 – April 11)
More info (PDF)

Colloquium Series
Departmental Awards

Communication Studies Department Awarded Inaugural Chancellor's Doctoral Fellowship!
More Info

If you are on campus and have the time tomorrow, consider going to The Commons to hear Dr. Lang speak!
Kansas African Studies Center
Tomorrow: What's Happening in Ferguson, Missouri Clarence Lang KU Associate Professor of American Studies and African & African-American Studies 12:00-1:00pm Tuesday, August 26 The Commons Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Union Activities Clarence Lang will begin the discussion by talking about the history of St. Louis, including racial tension and political unrest. His introduction will provide a platform from which to start a dialogue among audience members about policy, community, and the impact of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri.

Poet offers insights to Jayhawk experience through wordplay "Welcome to KU. Where questions rest, in stacks of answers from the past. …" Listen to Topher Enneking, a spoken word poet and former KU football player, as he weaves the experience of KU and its traditions through this storytelling and wordplay performance. Learn more about KU traditions at http://www.ku.edu/about/traditions/. Welcome to KU. Where questions rest in stacks of answers from the past. Where dreams crawl out of bed And learn to walk Uphill both ways. Where freshmen stand on stilts And hang from the rafters, While the wheat waves In a fieldhouse Where the Phog rolls in Helping us to see Through the past into the future. Haunting hosts giving handouts in a heritage Too heavy to grasp til you add to it. So it may be born anew, Allowing our boots to stand in the ash of oppression’s hate But shine bright as the sun While war cries of warriors past Ring in our ears long after their battles are won. Memorials telling time, “you don’t have to stand still.” Because the top of the world Is just up that Hill. Where our natural history is an awe-struck echo Of world’s fair and equal Past, present and future, prelude and sequel. Where our flags fly above planes. Where we build in chalks that can’t be erased. Stone edifices made to last So you would walk Past their doors, down their halls And let your voice fill their room. Because only in empty silence can destruction loom. So stand tall. Wrap your arms around this crowd Sing our alma mater and sing it out loud. Let your voice sing in chorus and reach other nations Beckoning new Jayhawks to spark new collaborations Because you are the mortar that will hold these walls upright. Your future Your dreams are why Jayhawks did fight For the tradition before you Was merely prelude For what will come next now that you’re at KU.


Home to 50+ departments, centers, and programs, the School of the Arts, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration
KU offers courses in 40 languages
Graduates of the College have won Emmys, discovered new species, and been named to Forbes' "most powerful women" lists
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One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA