Graduate Programs


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What is the deadline for submitting my application to your program?

Ph.D. (Mass Communications) application deadline is December 15
Master's Program (Media Studies) application deadline is February 1

Do you accept applicants for spring semester?

We offer fall admission only.

How many new students are enrolled each year?

We typically admit 10-12 Ph.D. students and 6-8 master’s students.

What is the average time to complete a graduate degree?

The average time frame for doctoral students to complete their degree is four years (three years for course work and one year for writing the dissertation), although some students finish earlier.

Masters students should be able to complete their degree in two years at full-time registration (30 credits of course work and six credits of thesis).

What type of teaching and research assistantships are available to first-year doctoral students?

The majority of our assistantships are to assist faculty in undergraduate courses.

What do assistantships include (tuition waiver, stipend, etc)?

Assistantships provide a monthly stipend, cover the full cost of tuition and subsidize 80% of the annual premium cost of medical, dental and vision health insurance.

About how many doctoral students in the college receive an assistantship?

The college usually offers 12-15 assistantships to new students each year.

Is a masters’ degree required to apply for your Ph.D. program?

It is strongly recommended.

How many letters of recommendation are required?


Is there a form for recommendations?

The recommenders are asked to fill out a ratings form in the application. This request is sent to the recommender as soon as the application is submitted online. The recommender can include additional information at the end of the ratings form.

Is there a required GPA to be admitted into your graduate program?

Competitive applications include a GPA of at least 3.0.

Is there a required TOEFL score?

The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications requires a combined score of at least 80 with at least a 24 on the speaking score.

If I earn a degree in the United States, can my TOEFL score be waived?


Is there a minimum GRE score to be considered?

Applicants to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs must submit Official GRE Scores (analytical writing, verbal general and quantitative general) to be considered for Fall 2022 admission. The Graduate Admission Committee will conisder applications that arrive without GRE scores as incomplete. However, the GRE scores will serve as one dimension of what will be a holistic review of applications.

Does your program offer online courses at the graduate level?

We currently offer an online professional masters program. More information can be found here.

Is there a residency requirement for your Ph.D. program?

The university requires Ph.D. students to be in residence and registered full-time at University Park for two consecutive semesters (excluding summer).

What if I am interested in studying forms of communication that do not involve media, like interpersonal communication, small-group communication, speech and rhetoric?

Penn State also offers graduate degrees in Communication Arts and Sciences in the College of the Liberal Arts, which emphasize rhetoric, public address, interpersonal communication, and group and organizational communication. Please check their website if you are interested