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The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) advises all students prior to their initial enrollment and during the first semester. As a new student, you should review your master's training as soon as possible, comparing syllabi from your coursework with UIC M.A. courses. The goal is for all students to reach the baseline of the UIC courses as part of the 32 credits acceptable in preparation for doctoral work. Internships, courses in professional practice, and other training not allowed in the UIC M.A. program create gaps you will need to fill in your prior education.

Some master's programs provide good training in quantitative reasoning (the equivalent of Comm 501), but few M.A. programs offer the coverage and rigor comparable to the philosophies of social research (in Comm 500), history of and movements in media studies (in Comm 502), or depth and range of cultural approaches (in Comm 503), and so most doctoral students rely on the UIC M.A. courses to supplement to their master's degree.

During the first semester, students who have had master's training equivalent to the UIC M.A. program gather syllabi from relevant coursework for review. The DGS lets you know whether one or more of your master's courses can replace any of the baseline UIC master's courses. Students whose master's degree is not in communication research or who have other gaps in their prior graduate work (as identified in advisement with the DGS) take the baseline UIC courses either prior to or concurrently with completing the doctoral program.

During the second semester, you select an advisor, who will help you devise a tentative program of study to submit to the GPC. The advisor may also chair your committee.