Frequently Asked Questions


Where do I go for advising?

If you have questions about majoring in Communication, or need information about communication courses, please see undergraduate advising located in 2101D Skinner. You may either schedule an appointment by calling 301-405-0862 or refer to the Advising page for walk-in advising hours. You can also send questions to

If you have questions about CORE/Gen.Ed. or foreign language requirements, please see Arts & Humanities advising located in 1120 Francis Scott Key Hall. The phone number for Arts & Humanities is 301-405-2108. To learn more about Arts & Humanities, visit

If I can't come in for advising, is there a way I can see what requirements I still need?

If you cannot come in to advising for an official audit, you can run an unofficial degree audit through  Click here to access the system.  For instructional videos on how to use, see the Registrar's Office.

Can I receive advising assistance if I'm not a COMM major?

Yes. The Advising Office staff is available to assist students who have questions about admissions to the major, LEP application, appeal process, and course selection

Is there mandatory advising?

The Department of Communication is part of the College of Arts and Humanities and students who major in Communication are required to have dual advising consultations during their undergraduate studies program.

All first-year students (both freshmen and transfers), students on academic warning, students re-instated, students who have completed 45-55 credits and seniors who have completed 86-100 credits have mandatory advising in both the College of Arts & Humanities and the Communication Department.  If you have questions, please see the Communication Advising Office.

COMM is a Limited Enrollment Program (LEP):  What does that mean?

An LEP program means that there are admission requirements. Students must satisfy admission requirements prior to becoming Communication majors. For admission requirements, click here.

How do I declare COMM as my major as a first-semester Freshman?

If you're a first-semester freshman or freshman connection student, you may declare COMM as your major before last day of classes in your first semester. As a freshman declaring COMM, you are required to complete successfully a communication performance course (COMM 107, 200 or 230), a statistical course (BMGT 230, CCJS 200, EDMS451, PSYC 200, or SOCY 201), and introduction to communication theory (COMM 250) no later than the semester in which you reach your 45th credit. You will be asked to sign a contract in which you state your agreement to these conditions and a copy will be maintained in your file.  First-semester freshman wishing to declare COMM should shcedule an appointment with the Communication Undergraduate Advising Office using our online scheduling system to schedule an appointment to begin the major change process.

What if I decide I want to be a COMM major after my first semester?

If you intend to declare COMM as your major after the end of the first semester of your freshman year, you must follow the Limited Enrollment Program application process. If you have any questions, please visit the Communication Advising Office.

What happens in the LEP process?

Students apply online here.

Applications are reviewed after the application deadline (the 5th business day in January for spring admission and the 5th business day in June for fall admission). The Undergraduate Admissions Office notifies students of the admission decision via e-mail once the applications and transcripts have been evaluated.  Students can only apply once to either the College Park or the Shady Grove Communication program.

How do I change my major?

Students may officially change their major (or add the COMM major) upon notification of their admission to the COMM program. Students must pursue the following steps:

  • 1) Meet with an advisor in COMM to begin an updated four-year plan
  • 2) Complete the Foreign Language Placement Test for Arts and Humanities
  • 3) Meet with an advisor in the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) to complete the four-year plan

Students must meet with the Communication Advising Office and complete the Foreign Language Placement Test prior to meeting with ARHU about their four year plan.  All of these steps must be completed by the end of the schedule adjustment period for the semester for which the student is admitted or he/she will be unable to declare the COMM major and will be unable to reapply.

What if I'm adding COMM as a second major?

Students who plan to add COMM as a secondary (or new primary) major have to obtain signatures and approvals on a double major form. In addition, the revision of the four-year plan will be built on the student's current four year plan, combining requirements of both majors and college(s). 

How do I enroll in an Internship (COMM 386)?

Communication majors wanting to enroll in the internship course must meet specific requirements.  For detailed information, please see Internships.  

How do I get transfer credits approved?

The department relies on the Transfer Credit Center to designate course equivalencies. For communication-related courses not in the Transfer Credit Center's database, students are asked to send the course syllabus (not just the short description) to and the advising staff will forward the syllabus for review. If the course equivalency is verified and approved, the Department will update the student's record accordingly. Students seeking to enroll in another institution and transfer the credits to the University of Maryland have to complete a form called Permission to Enroll at Another Institution. This form must be approved by both COMM and ARHU prior to the student's enrollment in another institution.

Can I take COMM courses during my semester abroad?

Many students take COMM courses abroad.  Please meet with a COMM advisor to determine if the course you wish to take has already been approved for COMM credit.  If not, you will need to submit a course description and syllabus for review.  In either case, you will need to complete a “Permission to Study Abroad” form and have a COMM advisor sign off on it before you begin your semester abroad in order to ensure that the credits will be accepted.

A course I want to take is full. Can I be oversubscribed into it?

There are a number of reasons why courses are limited to a specific number of students. Sometimes the room will only hold a certain number of chairs and other times it is necessary to limit the number of students because of the nature of the course and the material being covered. Therefore, oversubscriptions are done at the discretion of the course instructor on a case by case basis. If you are on the waitlist for a class make sure you show up for class the first day and inform the instructor. Many students who are on waitlists find that space opens during the first week or so of classes.

What's a cognate?

The cognate is a COMM requirement that requires students to take 9 credits (3 courses) in one academic department outside of the Communication major. The department typically does not place restrictions on a student's selection of a cognate. The cognate courses may be both lower and upper level courses. Students on the Public Relations track may not use Journalism courses as their cognate.  Certain restrictions apply to which courses may count, so you must get your cognate courses approved by an advisor.

To offer some examples, students interested in advocacy and political communication may reasonably select GVPT as a cognate; students interested in sports PR may reasonably select KNES; students interested in marketing communication may reasonably select BMGT as their cognate. Other popular cognates include African American Studies, American Studies, Criminology, Family Studies, History, Music, Psychology, Sociology, and Women's Studies.

Transfer credits and study abroad credits may be used to satisfy a cognate requirement, pending the specified Department's approval of the transfer credit. Students may not double count courses that satisfy the intellectual skills requirements and their cognate requirement.

COMM students who are pursuing a double major or a minor may use those courses toward their COMM cognate.

How do I get a block removed?

A student's inability to register for classes may be due to one of several reasons: the student must see both major AND college advisors, the student must provide the Health Center with immunization records, the student must resolve a financial block, among other reasons. Students should refer to Testudo to identify the registration block that pertains to them. If there is a departmental advising block, please visit the Communication Advising Office during the posted advising hours.

If you have a financial block, contact the Bursars Office at extension 4-9000. Questions about vaccination blocks should be addressed to the Health Center at 4-8180. If you have a fundamental studies block you must register in person at the Mitchell Building.  

Academic and non-Academic Support

Remember the University offers a number of FREE academic and non-academic support services on campus including:

  • Tutoring@UMD
  • Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education tutoring services
  • Oral Communication Center offers assistance with improving communication skills through peer consultants and workshops.
  • Department of Mathematics, 1117 Math Bldg. (301) 405-5053, offers tutoring in MATH 013/113, and 015/115 in addition to calculus courses.
  • The Math Success Program, sponsored by the Department of Resident Life, Oakland Hall, Academic Enrichment Center, ground floor. Offers math coaches and collaborative study groups. For more information, call (301) 314-4255. 
  • The Writing Center, 0125 Taliaferro, (301) 405-3787, will help you revise drafts, identify and correct grammatical errors and clarify you assignments. Please call to schedule an appointment.
  • Personal and/or counseling support is available at the Counseling Center (301) 314-7651 and at the University Health Center (310) 314-1493. Services in both offices are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL.