The department reviews all admission applications for the MA program in accordance with the Graduate School Admissions policies. Refer to the Graduate School Admission information and criteria. Applications received after the recommended dates listed below may still be considered, depending on the availability of space and resources, but are not assured.
Main Campus applications
Applications for main campus admission are reviewed for both fall and spring term entry, though fall entry is encouraged. The following deadlines are strongly recommended for priority consideration:
December 1st: for applicants requesting departmental nomination for University of Alabama Graduate School fellowship opportunities
February 1st: for applicants requesting consideration for departmental assistantships
May 1st: for applicants seeking fall term entry
November 1st: for applicants seeking spring term entry
Distance Learning (online) applications
Applications for distance learning admission are reviewed year-round for fall, spring, and summer term entry. Decisions for distance learning admission are made on a rolling basis, based on available space. The following deadlines are strongly recommended for priority consideration:
April 1st: for distance learners seeking summer entry
July 1st: for distance learners seeking fall term entry
November 1st: for distance learners seeking spring term entry
- Complete the Graduate School’s online application. If you are applying as a distance learner, you must check the Organizational Leadership Emphasis option on the application.
- Pay the application fee.
- Submit a copy of your academic resume/CV, in which you include the names of three academic references and their contact information (name, title, email address, and phone). Letters of recommendation are not required. Please note that if you put names in the “Letters of Recommendation” section, those references will receive an automatic request to provide a letter in your behalf.
- Provide transcripts for each institution of higher education at which you have completed 15 or more credits. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for admissions applications.
- Provide English Language Proficiency Test Scores (for non-native speakers of English – see the International Student Admissions webpage for more information)
- Provide a Statement of Purpose. Please refer to the guidelines below.
Guidelines for Statement of Purpose
The statement of purpose should be a 1-2 page essay, including the following information:
- Why are you interested in studying communication? How have your experiences, interests, activities, and/or achievements shaped your interest in Communication Studies?
- Discuss how your interests align with the department’s courses and faculty. What sort of questions, ideas, challenges, or problems do you hope to explore?
- What will you bring to our program and your classes? What experiences and abilities will help you be a successful graduate student and contribute to our learning environment?
- How will the completion of an MA in Communication Studies help you achieve your goals?
In reviewing applications for the M.A. degree in Communication Studies, graduate faculty members prioritize the statement of purpose essay as the key component for making review decisions. They are evaluated for writing proficiency as well as content.
Funding Opportunities and Departmental Assistantships
The Graduate School offers various forms of financial support, which all applicants are encouraged to consider. The coveted Graduate Council Fellowships are awarded competitively from nominations submitted by degree programs campus-wide. The Department of Communication Studies makes nominations for Graduate Council Fellowships from its pool of top candidates each year. Priority consideration for fellowship nomination will be given to applicants whose academic credentials indicate that they will significantly benefit the program and research initiatives of the department and have submitted an application for admissions by December 1st, but no later than February 1st.
The Department of Communication Studies has graduate Teaching Assistantships (TAs) available for highly qualified applicants whose experience and academic credentials indicate that they will significantly benefit the program. Assistantships are limited and priority consideration is given to applicants who submit by February 1st, if not earlier.
After being admitted to the program, applicants will be sent an assistantship application form in which they articulate their experiences and interests that position them for a teaching assistantship as well as specifying their preferences for the type of TA position. Applicants interested in teaching COM 123: Public Speaking will be asked to submit a link to a video-recording (e.g., URL to digital file) of their speaking ability — a 5-7 minute speech or other formal oral presentation.
TAs are generally awarded for a single academic year with potential for renewal. Assistantships include a tuition waiver (in-state or out-of-state), student health insurance, and a stipend paid over a period of nine months. All students holding assistantships with the department must be working toward their M.A. degree, taking 6-9 credit hours per semester, and maintaining at least a B average in their coursework.
Applicants may apply for an assistantship in one of three areas:
- Assisting in the Alabama Forensic Program (make inquiries directly to Dr. Ben Pyle, Director of the Alabama Forensic Program).
- Serving as a performance lab assistant for COM 123 Public Speaking (make inquiries directly to Dr. Adam Brooks, Director of the Public Speaking Program).
- Assisting in the instruction of the department’s core curriculum courses:
- COM 100 Rhetoric and Society
- COM 101 Principles of Human Communication
- COM 122 Critical Decision Making
- COM 220 Interpersonal Communication