Prospective Graduate Students FAQ

Applying to UM

1. Can I apply with an undergraduate degree?

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

3. How do I apply?

4. Does the department require the GRE?

5. What is the University of Maryland, College Park institutional code for the GRE?

6. How do I apply to your program if I’m an international student?

7. When is the application dealine?

8. Does the department explain why applicants were not admitted?

9. If I was not admitted, may I apply again?

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


Admission Requirements

11. Does the department have a minimum GRE score requirement?

12. If admitted, when must I decide whether I will accept?

13. Does the department have a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement?

14. Do I have to take the TOEFL (Test of English Language) or other English test?

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

16. Does a visit to the campus increase the chances for admission?

17. Does the department require a previous degree in Communication?

18. Does the department admit part-time graduate students?

19. May I transfer credits?


Program

20. Can I receive an M.A.?

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

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

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

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


Funding/Assistantships

25. How does the department fund graduate students?

26. How do I apply for financial aid?

27. What types of courses will I teach?

28. Does the department help students secure student loans?

29. Does the university offer health benefits?

30. Do graduate assistants receive travel money for conferences?


Living in MD

31. Does the University provide student housing?

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

33. How do students commute to campus?


1. 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.

Back to Top

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

Yes. We have an Admission Ambassadors program, and you can directly contact these students.

Back to Top

3. How do I apply?

The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its ApplyYourself/Hobsons application system. Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions. Prospective students can begin applying around August 17 and applications are due by January 7.

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 Hobsons online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues.

Back to Top

4. Does the department require the GRE?

Yes. Applicants with an M.A. from an institution that did not require the GREs must still take the GREs. Other test scores, such as GMAT or LSAT, may not be substituted. Applicants with GRE scores that have expired must retake the exam. GRE scores expire after five years.

Back to Top

5. What is the University of Maryland, College Park institutional code for the GRE?

The code is 5814.

Back to Top

6. 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.

Back to Top

7. When is the application deadline?

Applications are due January 7.

Back to Top

8. Does the department explain why applicants were not admitted?

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

Back to Top

9. If I was not admitted, may I apply again?

Yes. 

Back to Top

10. 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.

Back to Top

11. Does the department have a minimum GRE score requirement?

No. The most competitive candidates are those who score 80 percent or higher on the individual GRE exams (verbal, quantitative, analytical). If students retake the GRE, the department takes the highest score in any of the areas.

Back to Top

12. If admitted, when must I decide whether I will accept?

April 15 is the deadline by which admitted students must decline or accept offers unless the admission letter stipulates a later date.

Back to Top

13. 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.

Back to Top

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

The TOEFL (or IELT or PTE) is required of all international applicants (except applicants from the United Kingdom, Commonwealth Caribbean, Ireland, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand whose first language is English). This requirement can’t be waived for any reason. Also, the test must be valid at the time of your application. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date. The minimum TOEFL (and IELTS) scores required for admission to the University may be found here. The department prioritizes applicants with TOEFL scores of 108 or higher and PTE scores of 74 or higher.
 
For the University of Maryland to receive your TOEFL scores, please use our code: 5814.
 
For the University of Maryland to receive your IELTS scores, please have your score sheet mailed to:
University of Maryland
Enrollment Service Operations
Application for Graduate Admission
Room 0130 Mitchell Building
College Park, MD 20742

Back to Top

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

The Graduate Studies Committee begins reviewing applications after the January 7 deadline. Offers of admission are typically made from January through April.

Back to Top

16. Does a visit to the campus increase the chances for admission?

No. Applicants can meet with faculty and graduate students at the annual Graduate Student Open House at the National Communication Association convention. The department also typically hosts a reception one evening at the convention to which any interested applicant is welcome. Finally, the department typically hosts and Open House for admitted students in March. When planning travel to the latter, you can find a list of possible accommidations near campus here.

Back to Top

17. 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.

Back to Top

18. Does the department admit part-time graduate students?

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

Back to Top

19. 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.

Back to Top

20. 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.

Back to Top

21. 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 commphd@umd.edu. You can also contact any of our Admission Ambassadors directly or connect with the department on Facebook.

Back to Top

22. 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.

Back to Top

23. 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.

Back to Top

24. 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.

Back to Top

25. 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, health benefits (medical, dental, and vision), and tuition remission for up to 10 credits per fall and spring semester. 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 also offers a limited number of College and University 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.

Back to Top

26. 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.

Back to Top

27. 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.

Back to Top

28. Does the department help students secure student loans?

No.  Students are responsible for seeking out and applying for student loans.

Back to Top

29. Does the university offer health benefits to graduate students?

Yes. The university offers an optional package of medical, dental, and vision benefits included in departmental fellowships.

Back to Top

30. Do graduate assistants receive travel money for conferences?

Yes.

Back to Top

 31. 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.

Back to Top

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

You can consult the page on this Web site about University and Area Resources. UM has a page on the University's Web site 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 Web site.

Back to Top

33. How do students commute to campus?

Depending upon where students live, they can take public transit through either the Washington DC Metro 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 commphd@umd.edu.

Back to Top