Prospective Graduate General FAQs

How are your programs structured?

The UIC M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Communication are flexible. Of the 32 hours (8 courses) beyond your B.A., the M.A. program has only 12 hours in (3) required courses. The remaining 20 hours can be in your preferred area. The Ph.D. program is similar, requiring an M.A. degree (and including the 3 required UIC M.A. courses), and then 16 hours in (4) required Ph.D. courses. The remaining 48 hours are in a self-designed speciality and related research methods courses. For details see Communication in the UIC Graduate Catalog.

What are your core courses?

The M.A. core includes courses in the philosophy of communication, quantitative reasoning, and an additional seminar in either media or cultural studies research. The Ph.D. core includes courses in the philosophy of technology, new media, and qualitative research methods (in addition to the M.A. core courses). For details see the Course Descriptions as well as Communication program descriptions in the Graduate Catalog.

What concentrations do you offer?

The M.A. program centers on either media or cultural studies, and the Ph.D. program centers on new technologies. Both programs offer three interdisciplinary concentrations: gender and women's studies, latino and Latin American studies, or survey research methods. For details see the Communication program descriptions in the Graduate Catalog. 

Can I do a Master's and Doctoral degree in the UIC Communication Department?

Graduate students don't do both degrees in the department. Our master's graduates go on to prestigious doctoral programs around the country, and we attract top master's degree holders from programs elsewhere when admitting doctoral students.

If I transfer from another graduate program, which courses will apply to the program at UIC?

The Department assesses the record of each transfer student and handles transfers case by case after you arrive for your first semester of classes. See the Transfer Credit page of the Graduate College site. There is no automatic transfer of credits for a prior degree

How long does it take to complete the UIC programs?

The M.A. program normally takes 4 semesters including either the thesis or the comprehensive exam. See the M.A. Sample Courses of Study. The Ph.D. program normally takes 8 semesters for coursework, preliminary examinations, and the dissertation. See the Ph.D. Sample Courses of Study. But both programs may run longer or shorter, depending on the student’s individualized coursework.

Can I complete the program part time?

The Department does not accept part-time students (see the Graduate College Course Loads definitions). Building collaborative relationships, an important element in doctoral education, is challenging even for full-time students, and the Ph.D. program focuses on building an intellectual community among cohorts of students as well as with faculty. Each graduate seminar in the Department is 4 credits and requires class time plus eight more hours of outside preparation weekly (usually more). Graduate students typically take at least two department courses each semester in the first year. The minimum credits for full-time status (needed for most forms of Financial Assistance) is 9 credit hours.

When are your courses offered?

Most graduate courses meet once a week (Monday through Thursday) for 15 weeks plus finals week, each class running for roughly 3 hours in the late afternoon or early evening. There are no required courses in the morning or on weekends, but elective courses may be on weekday mornings. To see an sample schedule, look at the Class Schedule, select a term (current or upcoming), and a list of departments will appear. Select COMM - Communication, tick the All option button, and click on the Search Sections button. Scroll down to the courses open to grad students (numbered 400 or above for electives and 500 or above for requirements). Spring and Fall Semesters tend to follow a similar pattern each year, especially for required courses. 

How do I register for classes?

You register for classes only after admission to the university. You can register by phone (312) 433-8429 or at my.UIC.

How long can I take to finish my degree?

5 years for M.A., 7 for Ph.D. (with M.A. in hand). See the Degree program deadlines details on the Policies page (scroll down quite a bit) of the Graduate College site.

Can I take courses as a non-degree seeking student?

You can take elective courses numbered 505 and up as a non-degree seeking student after securing instructor and department approval. Documentation such as a resume, transcripts, writing sample, and GRE scores should accompany a rationale requesting to register for other seminars. The Department itself does not normally accept non-degree seeking students, but the Graduate College does. See the Grad College details for Non-degree Admission. Only students admitted with full standing in the Department of Communication may register for required seminars (Comm 490, 491, 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 508, or 580). Only 12 hours of non-degree credit can apply toward the COMM degree. Other restrictions apply: see the Graduate Catalog program descriptions.

Do you have any exchange or study abroad programs?

The Department has exchange accords with universities in Spain and Denmark and encourages students to include study or field-work abroad if appropriate to their individual program plans. The UIC Study Abroad Office has program information, and the Graduate College Fellowships Office can help students apply for funding.

Is there a minimum GPA I have to maintain while I am in the program?

All students should receive at least a B in most required and elective graduate courses and clear any incomplete grades within a set period. For details about each program, see Communication in the UIC Graduate Catalog.