Prospective Graduate Application and Admission Questions

When can I begin the program?

All students begin study in the fall semester. The first course for virtually every student is COMM 500, a fall-only seminar. See Admissions Deadlines. The course (and in some cases, COMM 501) can make the difference for success in elective courses with higher numbers. 

Can I apply for spring or summer admission?

The Department does not admit students to begin study in the spring or summer terms. See Admissions Deadlines. We offer graduate classes in fall and spring terms only, and students entering together in the fall develop strong bonds as a cohort.

Can I take required courses before I have been accepted into the program?

No. All students must be fully admitted into the program before taking any of the required courses.

What are your application deadlines?

All applications are due January 15 for the following fall term. The admissions committee does not consider late applications for the current year. See Admissions Deadlines

What are your application requirements?

All items go directly to the Office of Admissions (see Apply to UIC):

  • A completed on-line application form. Scroll down to find the application link that fits your needs.
  • A nonrefundable application fee submitted online. (see the Applying for Admission & Submitting Requirements section under Application Process).
  • Official transcripts directly from all your post-secondary institution registrars (See Transcripts and Grade Point Average sections under Full Status admissions page).
  • GRE General official scores.
  • TOEFL scores (if required, see Tests Required section under Full Status admissions page).
  • Three letters of recommendation with accompanying rating form, preferably from former professors or others qualified to know your intellectual abilities.
  • Personal statement. The essay allows you, within a limited length, to explain your goals and reasons for seeking to pursue a degree in communication. Clear writing, concrete illustrations, and deep knowledge of the program and department faculty can distinguish your statement from others.
  • Writing sample (optional for M.A. applicants). The admissions committee reads the sample to consider your writing ability as well as your academic training. Please submit a PDF of your best prose. Good choices for the sample might be a published article or accepted paper from a refereed scholarly conference or journal, an essay or term paper an instructor rated superior, a defended M.A. or senior thesis or chapter, or any other example of your outstanding writing and thinking on any topic. There is no length requirement, but 15-25 pages is a good range (including references). When reviewing the writing sample, we consider the originality and depth of your sustained thinking about research and theory, as well as the quality of writing (whether it is clear, direct, and concrete). Because our programs focus on research, please do not send media production samples.
  • Application for Graduate Appointment (optional but strongly recommended).
  • Current résumé. The admissions committee appreciates receiving a brief résumé listing your education, work experience, publications, academic and community service, and scholarships, grants, and awards.

See the Admissions to a Graduate Program page for more information on requirements for admission. 

Do I need a degree in Communication to get into the program?

The Department welcomes students from a wide range of programs, including the sciences and arts as well as the humanities and social sciences. Students with training in other fields usually require additional communication coursework, especially if the prior training focused on practice rather than research. Doctoral applicants should consult the PhD Roadmap.  

Does the program have prerequisite courses?

There are no prerequisite courses. Ph.D. students can complete the UIC master's core after enrolling. Those with master's degrees outside communication should expect to take additional courses, as advised after entering the program.

Do you have a minimum GPA requirement?

Yes. The rules differ for M.A. and Ph.D. students. See the program requirements by navigating from the Graduate College Catalog page. 

How long does my personal statement need to be?

Please write about 600 words.

Is an interview required?

An interview is not essential but helps make you better known to the Department. Video-chat, email, or telephone interactions can do the same. Start by choosing the one professor whose work interests you most. Correspond by email and, if possible, set up a time to visit virtually or in person. If you do arrange an on campus appointment with faculty, be sure to alert the Department so that additional arrangements can be made for you to possibly meet a member of the admissions committee and/or one of the current graduate students. The Department usually hosts an open house in the fall semester. Watch the website for news. 

For my application, am I a domestic or an international student?

To determine your status, please refer to the lists under Graduate Domestic or Graduate International Applicants section on the Graudate: Apply Now page.

What special requirements do international students meet for admission?

Foreign students meet the same requirements as domestic students. You must also take the TOEFL examination (see International Admissions) and complete a Declaration and Certification of Finances form. For full information see the Graduate College page on International Admission Requirements.

How can I find out about the status of my application?

For the Admissions Office materials, you can Check Application Status on the online system and track the progress of your application. For the Department materials, send an email message or call (312) 996-3187.

My application is complete except for a missing document (or test scores). Can I still get in this year?

Without required documents or scores, your application is incomplete. Consequently, the Department may not be able to consider you for financial assistance. Nevertheless, the admissions committee may review your application and let you know if you are still under consideration while awaiting completion of your application. Once your application is complete, you will receive an admission decision.

When do you make admission decisions?

The admissions committee makes decisions in mid-March for complete applications. The committee does not make any decision to admit a student until your application is complete. A funding decision may take longer, but no later than late April.