MA/PhD in Communication Studies FAQ 

Q: How many applicants do you accept each year into your graduate program?
A: We typically accept 4-6 PhD and MA students each year.

Q: How long does the program take to complete?
A: Our MA is a two-year degree. Most of our PhD students complete their degree in 5 years.

Q: What funding opportunities exist for MA and PhD students?
A: Our admitted students receive either 2 (MA) or 5 (PhD) years of funding. Most departmental funding is in the form of teaching assistantships. However, students may apply for a range of fellowships, grants, research assistantships, and internships offered through the Graduate College, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, or other units on campus. Our web site lists funding available in the fall and spring semesters.

Q: Am I able to transfer credits or grades from other institutions into the program?
A: Students entering the PhD program who have completed a relevant master’s degree may transfer up to 30 hours of graduate credit from academic courses. All transfer credits are subject to authorization by the Graduate College and must be approved by the committee at the Plan of Study meeting. Students entering the MA program may transfer in no more than 6 hours of credit.

Q: Does the University of Iowa offer graduate certificates? 
A: The University offers more than 20 graduate certificates. Below are a few certificates of particular interest to our students, but the full list can be found on the Graduate College website.

  • African American Studies
  • College Teaching
  • Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies
  • Online Teaching
  • Public Digital Humanities
  • Public Health

Q: Where do you place your doctoral students after graduation? 
A. Some data on placement is available on the department website. PhD data by program is also available on the Graduate College website.

Questions about Iowa City

Q: What is Iowa City like?
A: Iowa City consistently ranks near the top of lists about best college towns and most liveable cities. It has been designated a “City of Literature” by UNESCO – one of only 20 in the world.

Q: What is there to do in Iowa City?
A: There are lots of options for dining, entertainment, and nightlife in Iowa City. You can read more about graduate student life on the Graduate College website.

Q: Where do graduate students live while they are in your program?
A: Depending on their preferences and budgets, our students live all over the Iowa City/Coralville/North Liberty area. The university’s Off-Campus Housing site is a great resource to learn about housing options in the area and even find a roommate.

Questions about applying

Q: When is the application deadline?
A: The application deadline is January 1st for the following academic year.

Q: How do I apply?
A: You must apply using the Office of Admissions application portal. Once inside the portal, you will apply to the program through the Graduate College.

Q: What is the name of the program in the Graduate College admissions site?
A: The MA and PhD programs are listed under “Communication Studies.”

Q: What materials are required with the application?
A: In addition to personal and educational information, you must submit the following:

  • A statement of purpose
  • A sample of your academic writing
  • An up-to-date CV or résumé
  • Names of three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation
  • An unofficial transcript from previous institution(s) (if admitted, official transcripts will be required before enrollment)

Q: What is the application fee?
A: The application fee is $60 for U.S. residents and $100 for international applicants.

Q: Is the GRE exam required?
A: We do not require applicants to complete the GRE exam. We recognize the limitations and biases of standardized testing. Applicants can submit GRE scores if they so desire, but applicants who have not taken the exam or do not wish to submit their scores will not be penalized.

Q: Are international students required to take an English proficiency exam?
A: International applicants that do not meet the requirements for a waiver are required to submit English proficiency scores. Applicants will be given a waiver if they are a citizen, or have earned the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree, Master's degree or PhD in the United States, or any of the countries listed on the Graduate College website.

Q: Do I need a master's degree to apply to the PhD program?
A: While most PhD program applicants have MA degrees, students without a master’s degree may be admitted directly to the PhD program.

Q: How are applications evaluated?
A: Candidates are evaluated on the following criteria: statement of research goals, alignment with research strengths of the faculty, motivation and preparation for graduate school, writing ability, and potential for teaching. These should be your points of emphasis when putting together your application.

Additional Questions?

If you have any questions about the program, the application process, or need assistance with a requirement listed above, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies:

Joy Hayes
Communication Studies
Director of Graduate Studies / Associate Professor
135 Becker Communication Studies Building (BCSB)