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Prospective Graduate Student FAQS

How to Apply

How do I apply?
For the application, click here.

What is your admissions deadline?
The graduate committee considers applications for Fall (MA and PhD) and Spring admission (MA only) throughout the calendar year. Click here for specific application instructions. 

What do you look for in an applicant to your graduate program?
We look for students who demonstrate readiness for graduate study. To gauge a student's readiness, the Graduate Admissions Committee considers multiple items. These include the applicant's undergraduate and graduate grade point average, statement of purpose, writing samples, relevant employment history, and letters of recommendation. Admission is always contingent on the program's ability to provide faculty expertise appropriate to a student's specific research interests. We encourage all applicants to study our website closely, including faculty and student research profiles. We encourage communication with the graduate director prior to application.

Do you require applicants to take the GRE?
Usually, yes, but due to COVID-19, we are waiving this requirement for the 2020-2021 application cycle. For more information on how to reduce the cost of the test, go to GRE Fee Reduction Certificate Guidelines and Request

Do you have a minimum GRE score for admission?
We do not have a minimum GRE score, and the average percentile rank of MA and PhD applicants admitted to our program varies year to year. For more information on percentile rankings and the GRE go to the ETS website here.

Do you accept applicants whose prior degree is not in communication?
It depends. If your prior degree is in a discipline related to communication, or your research directly applies to communication, we will consider you for admission. However, you will need to make a strong and explicit case for why you want to pursue graduate study in communication rather than your previous field. 

What forms are necessary for admission?
Applicants must submit two (2) separate applications: the departmental application and the University application. Applicants who do not complete both will not be considered. Click here for the complete application process.

What kind of writing sample do you require for admission?
Your writing sample should showcase your skills at academic argumentation and research. Acceptable submissions include research publications, chapters from a thesis, seminar papers, and the like.

Who should I ask to provide me a letter of recommendation?
You must get letters of recommendation from professors with whom you've done your coursework. Advisors who have directed your research are suitable referees, as are people who have supervised your teaching. 

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?
Yes, typically we fund (tuition and stipend) several new graduate students each Fall. You must apply early. To be guaranteed consideration for a graduate assistantship you must submit a completed application by priority deadline.

For further details on our MA and PhD assistantsthips visit: Graduate Assistantships 

Graduate Courses

Do you offer online graduate programs?
No.

What concentrations in graduate study does your department offer?

COMMUNICATION STUDIES: MA and PhD students in Communication Studies work with faculty within and across two working groups: Rhetoric & Media Studies and Health & Relational Communication. Contact Dr. Marina Levina for more information. 

FILM & VIDEO PRODUCTION: MA students concentrating in Film and Video Production take courses with nationally recognized, award-winning filmmakers who specialize in narrative and documentary filmmaking. Contact Assistant Professor David Goodman for more information.

What are the core requirements for each degree?
Consult the Department of Communication graduate catalog entry. You can also consult the checklists on Key Policies and Documets.

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. Click here to view our course offerings. 

Who can I contact if I have questions about a specific program?
Contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Marina Levina.

Housing/Living in Memphis

What is living in Memphis like?
Memphis is an eclectic, affordable and stimulating place to study. Living in Memphis for more information.

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 reach out to the Director of Graduate Studies for assistance.

International Students

Do you admit many 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. For information about what documents you will need for your application: Graduate Catalog International Admissions

Are there any additional admissions requirements for international students?
Yes, additional requirements to view the additional requirements. For more information about applying as an international student: International Graduate Admissions.

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.

Other

Where do your students typically find employment after graduation?
This varies, but we have placed students in an array of fields inside and outside of academia. For information on our alumni: Communication and Film Alumni

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 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.

Current Graduate Student FAQS

What are the rights and responsibilities of graduate students at University of Memphis?
You can find those here and here.

How long does it usually take to complete the program?
It varies according to many factors. Full-time students can complete the MA in two years and the PhD in four years. See timelines for completion of the MA and PhD.

How much time do I have to complete my degree?
It depends on your degree. See here under "Time Limitations" for the MA and the PhD

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.

Are there required courses that all graduate students must take?
All students must adhere to the minimum requirements set out by the graduate school. Consult the advising guides for the COMM MA and PhD for further detail on departmental requirements.

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 automotive 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?
If you have missed the regular and late registration period, you will have to fill out the Request for Approval to Register after Late Registration form (Link) along with the Instructor Sign-Off for Late Registrations/Late Adds form (Link). Follow the directions on both forms. Please understand there are multiple fees associate with late registration.

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.

Other

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.