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Can I attend part-time?
No. We only admit students who can attend full-time.

Can I take courses in the evening, on weekends or during the summer?
No. We only admit students who can attend full-time.

Can I start the program during the winter or spring terms rather than in the fall term?
No. Because we admit graduate students as a cohort, students can only begin their studies in the fall term.

If I don’t have a MA, can I still be admitted to the doctoral program?
Individuals who wish to study for the doctorate, but do not have a MA should apply to the MA/PHD program. Students admitted to the MA/PHD program complete their MA in Communication Studies as part of their preparation for the doctorate.

Is financial assistance available for graduate students?
All students who are admitted to our MA/PHD or PHD programs receive financial support packages including both fellowships and teaching assistantships.

How do I apply for financial assistance?
No application is necessary. Those who apply for admission to the MA/PHD and PHD programs are automatically considered for funding.

Are international students eligible to receive funding?
Regardless of whether applicants are domestic or international, all who are admitted to either our MA/PHD or PHD program receive funding. To receive funding, international students must demonstrate proficiency in English by providing official transcripts verifying an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution or equivalent, where the language of instruction is English or scoring 100 or higher on the Internet Based TOEFL (IBT) and have ETS send your official scores to the institution code 1565 for The NU Graduate School.

Can international students take the Internet Based TOEFL (IBT) after being admitted to the graduate program?
No. To be considered for admission, all international students must take the IBT at least two months prior to submitting their application for admission; the IBT must have been completed no more than two years prior to the intended quarter of entry.

Is the GRE required for application?
Not in every case, but GRE testing is recommended. Applicants should have ETS send their official GRE scores (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing) to the institution code 1565 for The NU Graduate School. We do not require any of the special area tests.

Does the Department of Communication Studies require information to be included with the application that is beyond that required by the Graduate School?
Yes. Your GRE scores and writing sample. All supporting documents, except original transcripts and official test scores, may be submitted electronically, via ApplyYourself: application, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and writing sample.

Can I receive paper copies of information about the graduate program?
Because of duplicating and mailing costs, we no longer provide paper copies of information.

Can I receive a paper copy of an application form?
The Graduate School at Northwestern University only accepts online applications.

What is the deadline for application?
December 5.

To whom should I contact with specific questions about the graduate program in Communication Studies?

  • Professor Robert Hariman is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Communication Studies PhD Program in Rhetoric and Public Culture.
  • Professor Aaron Shaw is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Media, Technology & Society PhD Program.
  • Professor Darren Gergle is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Technology and Social Behavior PhD Program.
  • You may contact a specific faculty member of the Department of Communication Studies with questions regarding your academic and research interests.

Are there other graduate programs offered by Communication Studies?
The Department of Communication Studies offers a Masters of Science (MSC) in Communication. Whereas the MA, MA/PHD, and PHD programs are aimed at developing research skills required for an academic career, the MSC program is focused on refining communication skills that enhance performance in the non-academic workplace.