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Communication Studies Graduate Program

Basic Information

To apply for admission, the applicant must supply the following materials to the Director of Graduate Study

  • Complete an online application. An application fee will be charged at the time of applying online. Applicants must pay the application fee with a credit card.
  • Submit official GRE or TOEFL scores. All domestic applicants must submit GRE scores. International applicants must submit TOEFL scores unless they have earned a degree within the United States. In this case, GRE scores must be submitted instead of TOEFL
  • Submit one copy of official transcripts of all previous college work, both undergraduate and graduate. Transcripts will be submitted online by the student, and the applicant must send an official sealed copy to the department at the address listed below.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals in a position to comment meaningfully on the applicant's potential for graduate work. Individuals writing letters will be sent an e-mail from College Net with instructions to fill out an evaluation form and attach a copy of their letter to that.  These items will be uploaded to the student's account when complete.
  • Submit online a two to three page statement of purpose letter indicating the importance of your goals and academic interests and how these goals and interests relate to the sub-fields of Communication Studies upon which currently faculty focus.  If there are faculty members whose research/teaching you find particularly interesting, please list them at the conclusion of your statement.
  • Submit online a resume or curriculum vita
  • Submit a research writing sample

Applicants are evaluated on the overall strength of their materials based on a balance of the following criteria:  academic record as reflected in overall GPA and GPA in Communication Studies or a related major; the GRE or other appropriate tests for international applicants; the degree to which the statement of purpose represents a sophisticated interest in studying a sub-field emphasized by faculty in the department; the strength of recommendation letters; and the strength of the research sample submitted by the student.  While specific criteria are listed for the GRE and student grades, the final judgment is based on the overall strength of the application as reflected in all of the criteria listed.

Co-enrollment of Seniors in Graduate School

Seniors at the University of Kansas who will complete the requirements for a baccalaureate degree in a given semester may request permission to co-enroll in the Graduate School for that semester provided they are excellent students, (3.3 or better GPA). A senior requesting the privilege of co-enrollment must make formal application for admission to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the beginning for the semester in which he/she wishes to co-enroll. The combined total of undergraduate and graduate credits taken during the period of enrollment cannot exceed sixteen hours in the fall or spring semester or eight hours in the summer session.

Transfer of Credit

Six hours of transferred credit may apply toward the Master's degree. Eight hours may apply if the student holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas. Students planning to transfer graduate credit from other institutions are urged to secure advance approval from the Department and the Graduate School.

Students who enter the Ph.D. program with graduate work from other programs may transfer graduate credit within the following restrictions:

  1. Up to 15 hours of graduate credit may be transferred toward the satisfaction of requirements #1-2. Requirements 1, 2, or 4 may not be entirely satisfied through transfer credit.
  2. Up to 18 hours of graduate credit may be transferred toward the satisfaction of requirement #3.
  3. Up to six hours of graduate credit may be transferred toward the satisfaction of requirement #4.

In each case it is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate how the courses relate to the areas in which he/she wishes them transferred.

Students holding a Master's degree with a professional rather than scholarly orientation (i.e., a degree program not requiring the production of a thesis or other major scholarly research) will normally be required to demonstrate early in their doctoral program a research aptitude. This may be accomplished through enrollment in Investigation and Conference (Courses 898 and 998) or some equivalent procedure. Details should be worked out during consultation with the student's academic advisor.


Since courses relevant to the study of human communication in its various dimensions are offered by a number of academic departments, a background adequate to the beginning of graduate work in Communication Studies may be acquired in a number of ways. As a consequence, each applicant's academic record will be reviewed to determine the sufficiency of his/her background. Ordinarily, 12-15 hours of approved course work dealing with communication and social interaction (courses which can be equated with undergraduate courses in Communication Studies) will be considered to constitute adequate preparation. Under circumstances where an applicant's background is deemed insufficient, additional hours will be required for completion of the graduate degree.

Grade Requirements

Regular admission requires a minimum undergraduate average of approximately B (3.1 on a 4.0 scale), overall and in the proposed major, from the University of Kansas or from another institution with substantially equivalent requirements for the baccalaureate degree. If the applicant has already completed a Master's degree, at least a 3.6 grade point average for previous graduate work is required. If other factors suggest the potential for successful graduate work, applicants with grade averages as low as C+ (2.7 on a 4.0 scale) may be admitted to the Master's program on probation or on a provisional basis.

Deadline for application

Applications should be submitted as early as possible, and they must, under ordinary circumstances, be received by May 5 for fall admission, November 15 for the spring semester, and April 15 for the summer session. For those candidates who are applying for a teaching assistantship, the application deadline is January 5.

Send GRE or TOEFL Scores to:

The University of Kansas
Graduate Application Processing Center (GAPC)
1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 313
Lawrence, KS 66045-7535

Send one official sealed copy of all undergraduate or graduate transcripts (if applicable) to:

The University of Kansas
Department of Communication Studies
Attn: Dr. Robert C. Rowland
Professor & Director of Graduate Studies
Bailey Hall
1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 102
Lawrence, KS 66045-7574

Notification of Admission

As soon as his/her file has been assembled (application, transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation) and evaluated, the applicant will be notified by letter from the Director of Graduate Study of his/her recommendation for acceptance by the Graduate Division of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences for study in the Communication Studies Department.

His/her file will then be forwarded to the Graduate Division, which, following further inspection, will then notify the applicant of his/her acceptance by the Graduate Division.

Applicants who are accepted by the Department are, ordinarily, routinely approved by the Graduate Division. An applicant who is approved for admission and who indicated his/her intention to enroll will receive further information concerning procedures for enrollment.


Frequently Asked Questions
What are the application deadlines?
Applications should be submitted as early as possible, and they must, under ordinary circumstances, be received by May 5 for fall admission, November 15 for the spring semester, and April 15 for the summer session. For those candidates who are applying for a teaching assistantship, the application deadline is January 5.
Is the GRE or TOEFL required?
Yes. The GRE is required of all student who have a earned degree within the United States. If a student is an international applicant and has not earned a degree in the United States they would submit TOEFL scores instead of the GRE. If an international applicant has a degree from the United States they would submit GRE scores and not TOEFL scores.
What are the GPA expectations to apply?

The committee would like applicants that are coming into the masters program to have a minimum grade point average of 3.1 from their Bachelor degree. When applying to the Ph.D. program the committee expectation is a 3.1 from a bachelor’s degree and a 3.6 minimum from the Master’s degree. The committee will consider exceptional applications which may differ from these standards.

What are the GRE expectations to apply?
The GRE expectations of applicants are a 4.5 minimum in the analytical exam. Of the three scores, two of the scores should be in the 60th percentile or higher. The committee will consider exceptional applications which may differ from these standards.
What code do I use when submitting GRE and TOEFL scores to KU?
KU's code is 6871 Communication Studies department code is 4599
English Proficiency and TOEFL
Please see the University link below explaining the expectations of International students who are submitting TOEFL scores: https://documents.ku.edu/policies/Graduate_Studies/EnglishProficiencyInt...
Contact information:

Dr. Robert C. Rowland,
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
The University of Kansas Department of Communication Studies
Bailey Hall 1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 102
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
rrowland@ku.edu (785) 864-9868

How do I apply?
Go to the departmental link at: http://www.coms.ku.edu/graduate/admission/ Applications are done online and this page will direct you to how you mail other materials to the department and what needs to be mailed to the Graduate Application Processing Center (GAPC) in Strong Hall.
How do I apply for an assistantship?
Applicants should indicate in their statement of purpose letter to the committee that they are interested in an assistantship. Applicants are encouraged to include any experience that they have and support materials. Academic assistantships are typically awarded during the fall semester for the entire academic year. All applicants wishing to be considered for an assistantship should have complete files by the January 5th deadline for the following fall semester.
Other important links
Graduate Studies website: http://www.graduate.ku.edu

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