Program Descriptions

Graduate programs have a central goal to produce scholars who will be critical consumers and producers of research about communication, whether in academic or applied settings, and who will contribute to the growth of knowledge in those settings. See the details here.

Master's study and research are available in two general areas, media studies and intercultural diversity. These areas intertwine, with an emphasis on breadth and integration. Inquiry in media studies ranges, for example, from journalism ethics to electronic media and computer-mediated communication. Cultural inquiry ranges across language and symbolic representation, critical theory, social inequality and racism, and cross-cultural differences.

Doctoral study focuses on communication and technology. Students develop thorough understanding of the field, expertise in its theories, skills needed to conduct effective research, and experience teaching in a university setting. They also acquire a specialization from among those recognized in scholarly societies and reflected in the current research emphases among department faculty. Besides new technologies, current areas of interest include political, diversity, visual, and health studies, among others.

A signature feature of Department programs is their flexibility. Students pursue individual aims with advice from an adviser, designing a course of study to reach their own educational goals. Because the Department strongly encourages interdisciplinary work, students may study with scholars in communication and allied disciplines. Interdepartmental concentrations are available in Electronic Security and Privacy, Gender and Women's Studies, Survey Research Methodology, and in Latin American and Latino Studies.

The information on this web site is by no means exhaustive and cannot answer all questions that may arise. Additional details are in the Graduate Catalog, the semester course schedules, and the Graduate College site. To suggest other information that would be useful to add, please inform the Director of Graduate Studies.

You'll find the Descriptions, Admission and Degree Requirements for the Communication MA and PhD Programs at the UIC Graduate College site.

Application Requirements and Process

The application deadline for all applications including international students, assistantships, fellowships, or tuition waivers consideration is January 15. Funding is subject to availability. For additional information, please review the Department FAQs page.

IMPORTANT! When prompted, use the following Department of Communication codes — PhD: 20FS9953PHD, MA: 20FS1113MA.

After completing the “online graduate application,” you will receive in three-to-five days an email acknowledging receipt of your application and instructing you to log back into your application to upload other application documents. For additional information about the application process and the uploading of documents, please visit the Office of Admissions & Records (OAR) webpage.

Because OAR processes tens of thousands of applications each year, please upload the following documents as early as you can:

  • GRE scores (use Code 1851).
  • TOEFL scores, if applicable (use Code 1851).
  • Transcripts (uploading copies of unofficial transcripts is acceptable for initial application review).
  • DO NOT send hard copies of transcripts to Communication.
  • Personal Statement (600 words).
  • Résumé (1–2 pages).
  • Writing sample (see FAQs for guidelines). 
    Optional for MA applicants (but recommended).
    Required for PhD applicants (MA thesis or sustained writing sample).
  • Three letters of recommendation.
    (M.A. – preferably two from professors; Ph.D. – preferably from professors.)
  • Application for Graduate Appointment, for assistantship/fellowship consideration (optional but strongly recommended). See instructions for this form.

Assistantships, Fellowships or Tuition Waivers

There are four types of financial assistance for graduate students:

1. University Fellowships: monthly stipend, tuition, service, and assessment fee waiver.
2. Assistantships (competitive within the Department): monthly stipend, tuition, service, and assessment fee waiver.
3. Tuition and Service Fee Waiver (also competitive within the Department).
4. Department Fellowships:

UBS Fellowship. The University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Communication, in conjunction with the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS), has established the UBS Fellowship to support a deserving student during his/her first year of graduate study. The fellowship is designated for a highly-qualified student with a focused research interest in new media technologies. Qualified applicants with a bachelor's degree, must be graduates from a Chicago area (city or suburban) high school. The UBS Fellowship provides a stipend of $15,000 for the academic year, in addition to waiver of tuition.

ESP-IGERT. The ESP-IGERT Program provides the opportunity for a unique inter-disciplinary education with internationally recognized advisors in multiple disciplines. ESP-IGERT Fellows receive support at $30,000/year for two years plus full tuition and fees waivers. Mini-grants and travel allowances are available for the duration of their studies. Check out the overview of the program.

Complete the Application for Graduate Appointment (as indicated above) during the on-line application process by January 15.

If you have questions or need more information about the fellowship or application, e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies or call (312) 996-3187.

Other Funding Opportunities

Everything you need to know about Graduate Funding is on the Graduate College web page, Funding Your Education. Communication Graduate Student Awards are covered in the Awards section of this site.

Travel Support

Graduate students may apply for travel support to present papers at professional conferences. There are several sources of travel support available.

1. Graduate Student Council. The GSC provides travel support for graduate students to present their research. The application form is on the GSC website, and interested students may also consult the GSC representative.
2. Graduate College. Students may apply for travel awards by one of the following permanent annual deadlines on the first day of September, December, March, and June. See the Graduate College Student Presenter Award site.
3. Department. The Department provides a partial match for the above awards to students with papers accepted for delivery at national and international scholarly meetings. To apply, submit a copy of the applications to the department head.
4. LAS PhD Travel Award (application submitted prior to travel)