Frequently Asked Questions


Graduate Admissions Questions

Do you have any written materials that you can send me?
Everything we have about the Communication Studies Graduate Program is on this web site. If you have questions that are not addressed here, then please feel free to e-mail the Communication Studies Graduate Program Coordinator.

Are GRE scores required? The Communication Studies Department no longer requires GRE scores from our MA or PhD applicants. We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications to evaluate applicants’ academic preparedness, fit within our program, and potential contributions to our department. GRE scores are optional for applicants who would like to use the GRE to supplement their materials. Not submitting GRE scores will not disadvantage an applicant’s chances of admission, nor will submitting GRE scores necessarily give them an advantage.

What is your minimum and average GPA score?
The University of Texas Graduate School has set a 3.0 minimum GPA score. You may apply with a lower than 3.0 GPA. If you are accepted with a lower than 3.0 GPA, then you will be accepted with restrictions that are usually that you maintain a 3.0 GPA the first year of your graduate course work at UT and that you have no incompletes (grade I) during that year. The average GPA of the students who have been accepted to our program in the last five years is 3.7.

For international students, what is the minimum and average TOEFL or IELTS score?
The University of Texas Graduate School has a set a minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based test) and a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.  The average TOEFL score for the accepted international students for Fall 2016 was 106.  More information on University policies on international students and language exams can be found on the International Students Admission page. To be considered for a TA position, you must have a minimum IELTS speaking score of 7.5 or above or a TOEFL speaking score of 25 or above.

What is your application deadline?
Application deadline for Fall 2024 was December 1, 2023. **Applications are now closed*

Do you have a Spring Admission?
We do not have a Spring admission.

Does the program offer fully online classes?
All CMS graduate courses are in-person only. We do not offer online classes or fully online programs. Students would need to be in person and living in the Austin area. Graduate course times range from late afternoon to evening.

Must I have a background in Communication Studies to apply to your program?
No, you do not. However, 9 hours of undergraduate or graduate Communication Studies course work IS required. If you are accepted without those completed, you will be accepted on a provisional basis and expected to take these hours either before or at the same time you take your graduate course work.

Can I visit with faculty and/or current graduate students?
Our faculty and graduate students are always happy to talk to prospective students. You should contact faculty on an individual basis to set up appointments for a visit. Their contact information can be found on our Faculty pages.  If you would like to talk to graduate students, please review our Student Profile pages.  You are welcome to use the contact information provided on those pages to reach out to current students.  The Graduate Program Coordinator is very available to answer questions about the program.

Do you accept non-degree seeking students?
The Communication Studies Department does not normally accept non-degree seeking students. All faculty members from an area must agree to accept a student under these circumstances. We do allow students from any department in the University to take many of our courses.

Are applications reviewed on a rolling basis or all at one time?
Applications to our graduate program are reviewed about two to three weeks after the application deadline. They are not reviewed as they come in. Remember that if you apply to one area, faculty in another area will not see your application, so be sure about the area you are select in the online application.

How soon will I find out whether I have been admitted or not?
All of departmental admissions decisions are provisional until the Graduate Dean approves them. We inform students as soon as possible about our decisions usually by the middle of February. Funding offers follow shortly.

How many students are accepted into your department each year?
We usually accept 45-60 total students each year (master’s and doctoral combined), that’s about 15-20 per area. Our incoming first year students usually total between 15-20. We accept a similar number of students regardless of the number of applications, which has been between 180 and 200 for the last five years.

Are there any special admissions issues that international students should know?
We have no special considerations for international students. We are of course interested in the level of English proficiency of our international applicants. The University requires that international students take the TOEFL (or IELTS) unless they have a bachelor’s degree from a university in the United States. We do not have special funding for international students.  They are considered in the same funding pool as all other students. However, international students must have at least a 25 on their speaking score on the TOEFL or at least a 7.5 on the IELTS to be considered for a teaching assistantship. 

I need to know departmental codes and university codes. What are they?
On the University of Texas application, you may need to specify a department by a code. The Communication Studies Department code on the ApplyTexas application is 623965. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) also requires codes for sending GRE and TOEFL scores. The ETS codes are 6882 for the University of Texas and 4506 for the Communication Studies Department code. The departmental code is not critical. If the scores reach UT, we can see them online.

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Financial Questions

How much does a degree from UT cost?
Information about the cost of an education at UT Austin is at this link. Note that this information is for a past semester and is subject to change semester by semester.

Is there an application for Teaching Assistant (TA) and Assistant Instructor (AI) positions?
There is not a separate application for TA and AI positions. We consider every admitted student for funding. We ask questions on the departmental application that help us in our decisions about funding, such as the questions about teaching and forensics experience.

How is financial support from the department determined?

We wish we could support all of our graduate students with funding, but unfortunately we cannot. Funding availability varies from year to year. Funding offers made before the student decides to come to UT are for four years for doctoral students and for two years for master’s students. The Graduate School allows us to offer Recruitment Fellowships to incoming graduate students. We offer those to the very best students to “sweeten” our AI/TA offers.

Should you decide to start graduate school unfunded, please continue to let us know that you are interested in funding.

What does an offer of financial support include?
Graduate students are offered a part time job (20 hours) as either a TA or an AI. Our Assistant Instructors who are employed for 20 hours teach two sections of a class. Being a TA or AI includes a stipend for nine months of work, in-state tuition with tuition assistance, and student health insurance. For more information, please visit the University Human Resources Student Employee Benefits page.

How do I apply for financial aid?
Please see the web at Student Financial Services and the Office of Graduate Studies for more information on financial help from the university and other lending institutions.

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Program Questions

What are your required courses?
We have total course hour requirements for both the master’s degrees (with thesis (24 course hours) and with report (30 course hours)) and for the doctoral degree (45 course hours). We have only one required course for all degrees and that is the 081M Introduction to Graduate Studies in Human Communication taken in the Fall of your first year. Within the required course hours, both master’s and doctoral students are required to take 6 hours within the department but outside their area of study. The courses that you take within the required course work depend on what you and your advisor think are the courses you need to take to write the report/thesis/dissertation that you want to write.

Can I transfer hours from another institution?
Transferring hours from another institution is rare; they are made on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the student’s advisor.

How are advisors assigned?
You will be assigned a “first semester mentor” to help you choose your first and second semester’s course work. In February of your first Spring semester, doctoral students choose a faculty advisor and two Comm. Studies faculty committee members. Master’s students choose an advisor and one reader.

Are students required to attend graduate school full time?
Students who take nine hours (three classes) are considered full time students. If you are offered funding through the department, you must be a full time student. If you are not offered funding through the department, then you are not required to be a full time student. We do, however, strongly suggest it. You will complete your degree in a much more timely fashion and get to know your fellow graduate students better. It is possible to work full time and get a graduate degree if your work schedule is flexible enough to take graduate courses when they are offered. Our program is not structured for students who work full time, but it can and has been done.

Does the Department specialize in particular methods?

Faculty members as well as graduate students in all three areas specialize in various methods-- qualitative, quantitative, and rhetorical/critical/cultural methods.

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