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Graduate Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to UM

Can I apply with an undergraduate degree?

Yes. A bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited institution is required for admission into the Ph.D. program.

Can I speak with current students about their experience in the program?

Yes. We have an Admission Ambassadors program, and you can directly contact our Graduate Admissions Ambassadors.

How do I apply?

The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its EnrollmentRX application system. A step-by-step guide to applying is available. Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions. 

All application materials are submitted electronically:

  • Graduate application
  • Transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Description of research interests
  • Sample of scholarly writing
  • CV/Résume
  • Letters of recommendation (3)
  • Non-refundable application fee ($75) for each program to which an applicant applies

The online application system provides guidance for all required materials including specific directions for each essay. Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee. Committee recommendations are submitted to the dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the dean. To ensure the integrity of the application process, the University of Maryland authenticates submitted materials through TurnItIn for Admissions.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the EnrollmentRX online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues.

Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

The University of Maryland Graduate School waives application fees to eligible students in participating programs. You can find more information here.

Does the department require the GRE?

No. The department no longer requires the GRE as of June 2020.

How do I apply to your program if I'm an international student?

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students. International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer and contact them with related questions.
The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance. Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents. Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International Applicants for more information.

When is the application deadline?

Applications are due January 3, 2025

Does the department explain why applicants were not admitted?

No. The Graduate Studies Committee examines all aspects of an application carefully, including TOEFL scores as relevant, transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing sample and statement of purpose.

If I was not admitted, may I apply again?


May I take graduate courses without being admitted? If so, how can I apply?

Individuals may take graduate courses without admission into the program only by being accepted as an advanced special student by the Graduate School. By definition, an advanced special student is a student with no degree objectives. Advanced special student status does not guarantee later admission into the program. No more than 6 credits may later be transferred to the student's program upon admission into the program, and transfer credit is contingent upon approval of the student's advisory committee.
To apply for advanced special student status, complete an application in person or online at the Graduate School. Permission of the instructor is required for taking any course.

Admission Requirements

Does the department have a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement?

Yes. The Graduate School requires a minimum GPA of 3.0, and we must request special permission to admit students below this minimum. Consequently, exceptions are rare.

Do I have to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or other English test?

The department follows the Graduate School’s requirements for English language proficiency. Please visit the Graduate School’s website for most updated information. Please note that the department prioritizes applicants with TOEFL scores of 108 or higher and IELTS scores of 7.5 or higher. 
For the University of Maryland to receive your TOEFL scores, please use our code: 5814.

When can I expect to be notified about my admission status?

The Graduate Studies Committee begins reviewing applications after the January deadline. Offers of admission are typically made from January through April.

Are there opportunities to speak with members of the department before applying?

Yes. This year, the department will host several virtual information sessions for interested applicants. Please email for more information. You may also find it useful to see a list of graduate faculty and admission ambassadors (current graduate student volunteers).

During typical years, applicants can meet with faculty and graduate students at the annual Graduate Student Open House at the National Communication Association convention. The department usually hosts a reception one evening at the convention to which any interested applicant is welcome.

The department hosts an open house for admitted students in spring. If you are planning to travel to campus, you can find a list of possible accommodations near campus here.

Does the department require a previous degree in communication?

No. But one of the factors informing admission decisions is the fit between the applicant's background and interests with the research agendas of the department's faculty and graduate students. Admitted students without a degree in communication may be required to take additional coursework as part of their degree.

Does the department admit part-time graduate students?

In the past several years, the department has admitted only full-time graduate students.

May I transfer credits towards my degree?

Possibly. A maximum of six credits may be transferred with the approval of the student's advisory committee and co-graduate directors.

The Program

Can I receive an M.A.?

We only admit doctoral students, but award an M.A. to students who enter with a bachelor’s degree and satisfy the M.A. requirements by the end of their second year. These requirements are explained in the Ph.D. Student Handbook.

How can I learn more about the Ph.D. program?

For questions not answered here, or more information about the Department of Communication Graduate Program, contact You can also contact any of our admission ambassadors directly or connect with the department on Facebook and Twitter.

What are the requirements for the Ph.D. degree?

The Ph.D. Student Handbook details requirements for those who enter the program with a bachelor’s degree and/or a master’s degree.

What is the average time for completing the Ph.D. degree?

Students are expected to finish the program in 4 to 5 years. Doctoral students who accept full-time employment elsewhere before finishing their dissertations often take longer. Another key factor affecting time to degree is the student's discipline in completing the prospectus and dissertation.

What is the average class size of the graduate classes in the department?

For the most part the graduate classes in our department are designed as seminars. Some classes are as small as 6 students; some are as large as 18. Most exist somewhere in between.


How does the department fund graduate students?

With rare exceptions, the department admits only full-time graduate students it funds predominately through teaching. Some students also work on funded research projects with faculty. 
Teaching assistantships are 9.5 month appointments, although additional summer and winter-term teaching also may be available depending upon departmental needs. Assistantships pay a stipend and tuition remission for up to 10 credits per fall and spring semester. They also qualify students to enroll in a health insurance plan. Students are financially responsible for books, fees and other incidental expenses. Teaching assistantships are available to international students, but non-native speakers of English must submit adequate scores on the TOEFL (including the TWE component) and successfully complete the Maryland English Institute (MEI) prior to entering the classroom.
All of our Ph.D. students are funded. For students entering with a bachelor’s degree, assistantships are guaranteed for five consecutive years, as long as the student remains in good standing and is making satisfactory progress toward their degree. For students entering with a master’s degree, assistantships are guaranteed for four consecutive years. Both types of students may also apply for an additional year of funding once they have used up their guaranteed assistantships, but this additional year is not guaranteed. The department offers a limited number of recruitment fellowships each year to exceptional applicants and depending upon funds allocated by the university for these fellowships. Finally, campus offers various fellowship competitions, and students are encouraged to apply for those opportunities. The Graduate Studies Committee may also nominate students for those awards.

How do I apply for financial aid?

The financial aid form is not required to apply to the program or to receive a funded assistantship. The department admits only the number of graduate students it is able to fund through teaching or administrative assistantships. Students must apply for student loans separately and on their own.

What types of courses will I teach?

Beginning teaching assistants typically teach two sections of an introductory communication course supervised by a regular faculty member and supported by the department’s Oral Communication Program. Before and during the first semester, the course supervisor and assistants meet with new teaching assistants to prepare syllabi and discuss course content, evaluation of students, managing the classroom and other teaching issues. Some teaching assistants may assist regular faculty in large lecture courses. Eventually, many teaching assistants teach other, more advanced courses in their area of expertise and also under the supervision of a regular faculty member.

Are there opportunities for graduate student leadership, engagement, and support?

Yes! Graduate students have opportunities to become involved in organizations in the department and across the university.

The Graduate School has compiled a helpful list of campus resources available to graduate students. This list details a number of opportunities for community-building and support.

Does the university offer health benefits to graduate students?

Yes. Graduate School policy requires that all full-time graduate students on the College Park campus have health insurance. Students holding a graduate assistantship can choose to 1) enroll in a Maryland State Employee Health Insurance Plan, included in the benefits for the assistantship, 2) purchase the University's Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), or 3) purchase an external plan. You can learn more about health insurance for graduate students here.

Living in MD

Do graduate assistants receive travel money for conferences?

Yes. In addition to available department funds, there are opportunities to apply for college and university travel awards.

Does the university provide student housing?

The university has a limited amount of graduate student housing for which students may apply through the Graduate School.

Where can I find more information about College Park, the D.C. area and UM?

UMD has a page on the university's website devoted to familiarizing prospective students with the campus. For information about the academic resources in the greater College Park area, see the Graduate School's website. Other resources can be found through Off-Campus Housing Services.

How do students commute to campus?

Depending upon where students live, they can take public transit through either the Washington, D.C., Metro system, the MARC commuter rail system, the UMD free campus shuttles or the local bus system. The campus also includes ample bike parking. Vehicle parking is limited, but students can obtain a parking permit

For more information about the Department of Communication Graduate Program, contact