Prospective Graduate Student FAQS

How to Apply

How do I apply?
What is your admissions deadline?
What documents are necessary for admission?
What kind of writing sample do you require for admission?
Who should I ask to provide me a letter of recommendation?

Answers to these questions are on the department's admissions webpage.

Tuition and Funding

How much is tuition?
For the most up to date tuition costs please visit Tuition Costs/Fees  

Do you offer graduate assistantships?
Is funding available for conference travel?

Yes. More details are available on the department's assistantships and awards webpage.

Graduate Courses

Do you offer online graduate programs?
Yes, the MA in Communication Studies and the Graduate Certificate in Health Communication are offered online.

What concentrations in graduate study does your department offer?
At the master's-level we offer two concentrations: Communication Studies and Film and Video Production. More details on these concentrations can be found on the department's MA Program webpage.

At the doctoral-level we offer the PhD in Communication. More details on areas of study can be found on the department's PhD Program webpage.

What are the core requirements for each degree?
Degree requirements can be found in the UofM Graduate Catalog.

Do MA and PhD students take courses outside of the department?
Yes, they do. All coursework, however, needs to be approved by the student's advisory committee if it is to be applied to the degree.

When are your graduate courses typically offered?
Graduate courses are offered throughout the day, though all of our 7/8000-level courses are offered in the evening. 

International Students

Do you admit international students? What's the process?
Yes. In the last ten years, students from countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America have earned their MA or PhD in our programs. The process for prospective international students is the same as for domestic students, however, international students must provide additional information. More details are on the Graduate School's International Students webpage.

If I am not a United States citizen, can I get an assistantship?
International applicants are offered graduate assistantships on the same basis as U.S. applicants. If you are not a native speaker of English, the University requires evidence of spoken English proficiency to receive departmental assistantships involving classroom duties. Permanent residency/immigrant status or a degree from the U.S. does not exempt one from this requirement. If you are submitting official English proficiency exam scores with your application, they should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

What are the English proficiency requirements?
International applicants are required to submit official English proficiency exam scores. We accept the TOEFL and IELTS. Additional requirements for more information.

Current Graduate Student FAQS

How long does it usually take to complete the program?
Full-time students can complete the MA in two years and the PhD in four years.

How much time do I have to complete my degree?
Are there required courses that all graduate students must take?
Time limitations and degree requirements can be found in the UofM Graduate Catalog.

What do I have to do before I start classes as a new student?
Before classes start, each new student must complete a brief series of online trainings and attend University and Departmental orientation sessions. Relevant information on training and orientation will be emailed to you in the months before you enroll

Who will advise me when I enter the program?
The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) advises all incoming students on their course selection until they form a permanent advisory committee.

Registering For Classes

How do I register for courses?
You need to be cleared by your advisor first, and then you can register for courses through your MyMemphis portal. For step by step information on how to use your MyMemphis portal following this link.

How many credits do full-time students register for each semester?
Students enrolled full-time typically take nine (9) hours a semester during their coursework.

Who do I contact to get a PIN for registration?
Contact your advisor and ask to be CLEARED for registration.

I need a permit for a class, whom should I contact?
Contact the instructor of the course. The instructor will then request a permit be created on your behalf. You will receive an email once the permit has been put in.

The deadline for regular and late registration has passed, but I need to add a course. What should I do?
You'll need to follow the Late Add/Late Registration process from the registar's office.

If I want to take a graduate level course in another discipline, can I take the class and have it apply toward my degree?
Yes, as long as your committee approves it as part of your plan of study. All PhD students must take two (2) courses outside of the department.

Can I apply graduate course credits from another institution to my degree?
Only after you have enrolled and only if your advisory committee approves. See here for University regulations on transfer credits. Forms are needed for transferring credits toward the MA and the PhD.

Advisory Committees/Plan of Study/Comps

How do I form an advisory committee?
A faculty member must agree to be your major advisor, and then you work with that person to form the full committee.

What is an advisory committee?
An advisory committee (chaired by your advisor, and composed of 2-3 additional faculty members in the student's area) supervises a student's progress and helps the student form a plan of study appropriate to the student's scholarly goals. PhD students at the dissertation stage (or before, if they wish) must add one member from outside the discipline of communication to their committee. See here for more information.

What is a plan of study?
A two to three page document that defines a student's research agenda, lists the courses the student will take during their time in the program, and offers a timetable for completing the major milestones the degree requires. Advisors should provide sample plans for their students to review as they draft their own.

When does the plan of study have to approved?
The plan must be approved by the entire committee before the student completes 18 hours of coursework.

I am preparing for my comprehensive exams, but am a little confused. What are the steps?
While your advisor will supervise this process, you can consult this document for the basics.

Graduate Teaching/Research Assistant

What tasks do you assign to graduate assistants?
Graduate assistants enhance their scholarly and professional training through teaching basic and advanced undergraduate courses (usually two per term, and usually COMM 2381: Oral Communication), supporting faculty research and creative activity, and service to the Department and University more broadly.

What are the expectations for graduate assistants in the Department of Communication and Film?
In addition to their core tasks, graduate assistants must attend orientation sessions, academic presentations by faculty and peers, "special sessions" tied to professional development, job presentations by visiting candidates, and other similar kinds of gatherings scheduled on the departmental calendar. All graduate assistants who teach must also submit a yearly "Pedagogical Self-Assessment" to the Basic Course Coordinator.

Are there opportunities for Graduate Instructors to teach in the summer?
Yes, but there's no guarantee that every request can be granted. Find the link to apply for summer teaching on this page.


Is funding available for conference travel?
Yes, the department and the graduate school have limited funds to reimburse graduate students for travel. Find the link to travel funding request forms on this page.

I have an outstanding balance on my account. Can I still register for classes?
Depends. Contact the Registrar to get more information on your status.

I am having difficulty finding housing. Are there any resources I can go to?
There are multiple resources to help students find affordable housing. You can also reach out to the Director of Graduate Studies for assistance.

I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and it's affecting my schoolwork. How can I get help? Is there someone I can talk to?
Yes. U of M offers multiple services to students in distress. Go here for more information. You can also contact your advisor and/or the Director of Graduate Studies for help.