Admission Questions

What are the priority deadlines for? Can I still apply once these deadlines have passed?

The application and assistantship priority deadlines were established so our graduate committee can nominate top applicants for university fellowships and, if applicable, additional funding opportunities. Funding is not guaranteed but we try to provide as many opportunities as possible. Your materials must be submitted by the priority date to be eligible for fellowship nominations and funding. 

Our office evaluates and makes decisions on applications submitted by the priority deadline first. After the priority deadline has passed, we will continue to accept applications until the university deadlines.

Please note: We do NOT offer funding for MA applicants for Spring.

Do you have spring admission?

We do not have a spring admission for our PhD program. We do take applications for Spring admission to the MA program.

Is the GRE required for admissions to the MA or PhD program?

* The Department of Communication no longer requires the GRE - view the departmental statement here.

The Department of Communication asks applicants to not submit GRE scores with their materials. Any GRE scores received will not be considered.

What is your minimum and average GPA?

The USF Graduate School has set a 3.00 minimum GPA on a 4.00 scale. The average GPA of the PhD students admitted into our program in the last two years is 3.75. The average GPA of the MA students who have been accepted into our program in the last two years is 3.53.

What kind of writing sample is recommended?

Please submit an example of your best scholarly work (rather than a professional report or other document, popular press article, or other writing sample). Writing samples may be course term papers, conference papers, published essays, and single chapters from senior/honors or master's thesis (please do not submit a complete thesis).

Who should write me a letter of recommendation?

Please submit letters of recommendation that comment on your abilities as a research scholar and your potential for succeeding in your planned course of study and degree program (MA or PhD) and beyond. Letters written by former professors and/or advisors are most helpful. Letters written by employers, pastors, and/or friends, while helpful in describing your professional capabilities and personal character, do not help us assess your potential for success in our program.

What should be included in the statement of purpose?

In your statement of purpose please summarize your goals for graduate research and your reasons for applying to the department. When reviewing statements of purpose, the graduate faculty considers:

  • How well defined and developed your research interests are (while recognizing that these interests continue to develop during your studies at USF; this is a living statement of your research interests)
  • How compatible your research interests are with those of the faculty and of our graduate curriculum. To this end, we ask how well we can do in helping you meet your goals
  • Which courses among those offered you would be most interested in and best served by taking, as well as which members of the faculty you would like to work with and who would like to work with you

Please note that your Statement of Purpose does not need to detail your interest or experience in teaching.

Do I have to have a background in Communication Studies to apply to your program?

No, you do not, but please clarify how your future studies align with communication inquiry, our graduate curriculum, and faculty research interests.

Can I contact faculty and/or current graduate students?

Prospective students can contact faculty via email. Faculty contact information can be found on our website's People page. If you would like to speak with a current graduate student, email your inquiries to the Academic Program Specialist or Graduate Director, who will forward your message our graduate student listserv.

Can I arrange a campus visit prior to the admissions deadline? Do you host recruiting events?

Our department is happy to sponsor prospective students' visits to meet our faculty, staff, students, and campus. We do our best to accommodate these requests, but, depending on scheduling, funding, and availability, we are sometimes unable to offer visits at certain times. To learn more about campus visits, contact the Academic Program Specialist or Graduate Director.

You can look at our department's Events page for upcoming recruiting events for our graduate programs. In addition to these events, our departmental members attend the annual National Communication Association conference. The convention affords the opportunity for you to attend the research presentations, discussions, and performances presented by our faculty and graduate students. We encourage those who come to attend to come to our department's reception, in addition to the Graduate Open House. Both provide opportunities to meet and interact with our faculty and graduate students. You can visit the NCA website to learn more about the convention.

Please note that meeting with our departmental members does not factor into admissions decisions.

Can I take courses as a non-degree seeking student?

Yes, non-degree students may request to take our graduate courses. Most likely, non-degree seeking students will need permits to enroll in our graduate classes. To receive a permit, please email the instructor of the course and the Academic Program Specialist. Instructor approval is needed before a permit can be issued.
Courses taken with our department as a non-degree seeking may be accepted towards your MA or PhD, if accepted to our program.

Are applications reviewed on a rolling basis? What is the review process?

No, they are not. Applications to our graduate program are reviewed once all materials have been received during the traditional admissions cycle for the University of South Florida. The dates are provided on the Graduate Studies website. The applications are reviewed by the Graduate Committee, which is composed of faculty members with diverse research interests. The Graduate Committee reviews all of the applications and prepares a short list of our top-ranked applicants. After allowing all members of the faculty to review the applications, the faculty meets and makes admissions and ranking decisions. These decisions consider applicant qualifications and potential for success in our program, program ecology and curriculum, and faculty advising workloads.

How soon will I find out whether I have been accepted or not? Is there an appeal process?

All of departmental admissions decisions are provisional until the Graduate School approves them. We inform students as soon as possible about our decisions. You can contact the Academic Program Specialist for more information on your application.

If you are denied admission to the program and want to appeal for a later semester/academic year or have your application reconsidered, visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Here is the form needed to complete this process.

Are there any special admissions issues that international students should know?

Applicants from countries where English is not the official language, and who have not earned at least a bachelor's degree in the U.S. from a regionally accredited institution, must also demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Click here for the list of English speaking countries. Minimum test scores required to determine proficiency are:

  • IELTS - 6.5
  • PTE-A - 53
  • TOEFL (iBT – 79; PBT – 550)
  • GRE Verbal – 153

International students from countries where English is not the official language who want to be considered for a teaching assistantship must show proficiency in spoken English. They need a minimum score of 26 on the spoken portion of the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) or 160 on the spoken portion of the TOEIC test administered by ETS.We do not have special funding for international students. They are considered for funding in the same manner as US students.

What is the University code so I can send my scores?

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) also requires codes for sending GRE and TOEFL scores to USF. The ETS code for the University of South Florida is 5828.


Program Questions

What are your required courses?

Required courses, total number of hours, and other program requirements are detailed in the Graduate Student Handbook and the Graduate Catalog

Can I transfer hours from another institution?

Yes, subject to department approval, via the Course Transfer Form. You may transfer only graduate-level (5000-7999) structured coursework with a grade of B (3.00) or better. Courses with Pass/Fail grades are not eligible for transfer. Courses used for other degree programs are not eligible for transfer. Grades from courses taken at non-USF Institutions are not calculated in the USF GPA, although the courses are listed on the transcript. Please note: these courses must be approved by your advisor, Graduate Director, CAS, and the Graduate Studies office.

How are advisors assigned?

You will be assigned a temporary advisor to help you choose your first semester's course work. Students must declare their major advisor and supervisory committee within the first year and notify the Graduate Director and Academic Program Specialist. More information on this process can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.

How many credit hours is considered full time? Do I need to be full time to receive the assistantship?

Students who take nine hours (three classes) are considered full time students. To view USF's enrollment status break down, please click here. If you are offered funding through the department, you must be a full time student. If you are not funded through the department, you do not need to take a full course load, although we do recommend doing so in order to complete the program efficiently. Our curriculum is offered in both the daytime and evening hours. We do not offer an online degree program, but occasionally offer graduate level courses online.

Does the department offer travel funding for conferences?

Information on funding for conference travel can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Where have graduates been placed after completing the program?

Our recent graduates hold tenure-track have positions in the following programs: University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Northeastern University, The University of Alabama, Rollins College, George Washington University, Santa Clara University, California State University (Northridge), Kutztown University, San Jose State University, and The University of Texas at San Antonio, among many others. Graduates have also taken placements with government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; hospitals and health networks; and non-government, not-for-profit, and private sector organizations, as well as working in consulting positions and businesses.

Where do USF graduate students publish their work?

Our graduate students regularly present papers at regional and national conferences, many of which have been awarded "top paper" status. Though this is just a partial list, our students have published in journals including: Text and Performance Quarterly, Qualitative Inquiry, Studies in Symbolic Interaction, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Health Communication, Journal of Loss & Trauma, Cultural Studies<=>Critical Methodologies, Communication Theory, Rocky Mountain Communication Review, Journal of Business Communication, Human Communication, Quarterly Journal of Speech, and Journal of Applied Communication Research, among others. Further, students and graduates have published book chapters as well as books.


Financial Questions

How much does a degree from USF cost?

Information about the cost of an education at USF is available through the office of Cash Accounting. Note that this information is subject to change.

How do I apply for funding opportunities and financial aid?

For information on funding opportunities and financial aid, visit USF's University Scholarships page and the Funding Opportunities page.

Who is the contact for additional questions related to the graduate programs?

If you have questions that were not addressed above, please email the Academic Program Specialist, or the Graduate Director. You can find their contact information on our People page.