• Home
  • Academics
  • Degrees
  • Communication Studies Graduate Program
  • PhD
  • Admissions

Communication Studies Graduate Program

Admission Criteria and How To Apply

To be considered for regular admission to any graduate program at KU, applicants must have a bachelor's degree or bachelor’s degree equivalent from an accredited institution with undergraduate degree requirements similar to those of the University of Kansas. Applicants who do not meet regular admission requirements may be considered for provisional admission. Applications should be submitted as early as possible. Application deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall semester admission: January 5 for funding consideration, May 5 for non-funding consideration
  • Spring semester admission: November 15 
  • Summer admission: April 15

Application Materials

All application materials must be received prior to evaluation. A complete application consists of the following:  

  • Complete online application submitted to Graduate Studies along with KU's graduate application fee ($65 for domestic applicants and $85 for international applicants).
  • Official GRE or TOEFL scores (KU code 6871). 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
  • One copy of official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions. Transcripts may be submitted online or mailed to the address below. If accepted, official transcripts must be sent to Graduate Admissions
  • Three (3) 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.
  • Statement of purpose (2-3 pages) indicating the importance of your goals and academic interests and how they 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.
  • Current resume or curriculum vita
  • Research writing sample (sample of your academic work, e.g., senior thesis, seminar paper, Master’s thesis)
  • English Proficiency: If an applicant is not a native speaker of English, they must verify their English proficiency. Please see Graduate Admissions' English Proficiency Requirements for Official TOEFL or IELTS scores
  • Optional: Applicants seeking a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) should include an additional statement regarding interest in financial assistance, directed to the COMS Graduate Admissions Committee

Applicants may submit their application, application fee, statement of interest, and resume through the application link above. GRE scores and TOEFL scores should be sent directly to KU using institution code 6871. Digital copies of transcripts may be emailed directly from the degree-granting institution to graduateadm@ku.edu. Official transcripts can also be mailed to the address below:

University of Kansas, Graduate Admissions
1450 Jayhawk Boulevard
Strong Hall, 313
Lawrence, KS 66045


Evaluation Processes and Contact Information

Applicants are evaluated on the overall strength of their materials. This includes 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. 

If you have questions about admissions or would like to learn more about the Communication Studies Graduate program, please contact our Graduate Academic Advisor, Clare Thoman, at clarethoman@ku.edu. KU’s Graduate Studies page on How to Apply is a resource for application-related logistical questions.


Application for Admission to the Doctoral Program from MA

Students currently enrolled as MA students in the Department of Communication studies must submit the following materials for possible admissions to the PhD program: (1) cover letter expressing their interest in advancing to the PhD program and (2) have two current departmental faculty members submit letters of support to the Director of Graduate Studies.

It is expected that students will have successfully defended their Master’s thesis before beginning the doctoral program. In the event this does not occur, students have until the end of their first semester in the PhD program to complete and defend their Master’s thesis. Failure to do so will result in students being put on academic probation and restricted from enrolling in any courses other than COMS 899.


Waiver of Credits

Students who enter the Ph.D. program with a completed Master's degree from another program may have 24 graduate credit hours waived. See the Graduate Handbook for guidelines and restrictions. In each case, it is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate how the courses relate to KU's PhD requirements.

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.


Prerequisites

Students are expected to begin their graduate program in Communication Studies with 12-15 hours of coursework dealing with human communication and social interaction. Each application will be reviewed individually to determine sufficiency. Under circumstances where an applicant's coursework background is deemed insufficient, additional hours may required for completion of the graduate degree.


Notification of Admission

After the due date for which application materials must be received, the graduate committee will review applications and make recommendations. When recommendations are made, applicants will be notified by e-mail regarding the department's final decision. Applicants who are approved for admission and indicate their intention attend KU will receive further information concerning procedures for acceptance and enrollment.

Frequently Asked Questions
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 should submit TOEFL scores instead of the GRE. If an international applicant has a degree from the United States, they should ubmit GRE scores and not TOEFL scores.
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 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 3.0 from their Bachelor's' degree. When applying to the Ph.D. program the committee expectation is a 3.0 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 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. Jay Childers,
Associate Professor, Chairperson and Interim Director of Graduate Studies
The University of Kansas Department of Communication Studies
Bailey Hall 1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 102
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
jaychilders@ku.edu (785) 864-1474

How do I apply for an assistantship?
Applicants should indicate their interest in assistantship in their statement of purpose letter. 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 submit their application by the January 5th deadline for the following fall semester.
Other important links
Graduate Studies website: http://www.graduate.ku.edu

Calendar
KU Today
Departmental Awards

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

RT @KUTechnology : KU IT Alert: Some users on @KUnews campus are currently unable to access network resources and the Internet. KU IT suppor…


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
No. 1 ranking in city management and urban policy —U.S. News and World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times