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.


Advising Information

Faculty Advising for Summer and Fall 2015
(March 23 – April 9)
More info (PDF)

Colloquium Series
Departmental Awards

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

A huge congratulations to our PhD student Chelsea Graham, who has been selected for a Carlin GTA Teaching Award by the University for 2015! Chelsea will be honored at the graduate awards ceremony on April 23rd. Great job Chelsea!!!
.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. http://t.co/c6Ss0FsWLL #KUworks http://t.co/FW0eI69uRi
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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