The master's program in Communication at Illinois State University provides a unique academic experience.
You’ll learn diverse theoretical frameworks and research methods appropriate to the advanced study of communication.
Our emphasis is on applying scholarly knowledge to evaluate and solve social problems. We also promote a passion for intellectual and theoretical discovery that transcends career objectives and course expectations.
Our dedicated faculty guide you in academic research areas spanning a multitude of interests, such as:
- organizational communication
- instructional communication
- interpersonal communication
- public relations
- mass communication
Graduates of our nationally recognized program pursue careers in a variety of areas including:
- college teaching
- training and development
- human and employee relations
- public relations
- media management
- media relations
- community relations
Some go on to complete Ph.D. degrees in communication and related fields.
Point of Pride
The graduate program was recognized by the National Communication Association with the Outstanding Master’s Program Award in 2013.
Dr. Aimee Miller-Ott
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How to Apply
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a master's program must:
- have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
- present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term. If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Illinois State University, Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 4040, Normal, IL 61790-4040.
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
To be considered for this program you must meet the following requirements. An application is reviewed only when we have received all required application materials.
You must have a minimum 3.00 GPA in the last 60 undergraduate college credit hours.
Letter of Application
Submit a letter that discusses the following:
- Your background
- Academic interests
- Career objectives
- How Illinois State University's School of Communication can help you accomplish your objectives
Letter Requirements: 1-2 pages; double-spaced
Include an updated resume or curriculum vitae (CV) with your application.
Submit an academic paper that demonstrates your ability to research, integrate citations, and engage in quality writing. Journalistic reporting or marketing-type writing samples are not the best reflections of scholarly writing.
There is no minimum or maximum page requirement.
Aim to submit a paper you wrote on your own and not with a partner or in a group.
In the online application, submit the names and email addresses for three references.
Check that references submit their letters when they get notification from the online system.
English Proficiency (International Students Only)
International students must obtain a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based testing), IELTS of 7.0 or Duolingo of 120.
View English Proficiency details about acceptable documentation.
- Fall (August) Term — Currently accepting applications, we continue to review applications until all spaces are filled
- Spring (January) Term — Currently not accepting applications for spring admission.
There are various opportunities for seeking and obtaining funding for your graduate education. These opportunities are intended to facilitate your progress to the degree while providing important professional development. You should apply for these funding opportunities at the same time that you are applying for admission into the graduate program.
Please note: You will need to apply for funding separate from the graduate program application. Application processes are described below.
Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA)
You can apply to become a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) in the School of Communication. Qualified degree program applicants who intend full-time study may apply for a GTA position. GTAs are trained to teach an introductory course in communication and/or to perform other services for the School of Communication. Awards are very competitive.
To be eligible for an assistantship, you must, generally:
- be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
- be in good standing
- be enrolled full-time (typically 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session)
What it covers: The assistantship carries a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend of approximately $1,300 for up to four semesters GTAs also receive a waiver for up to 12 credits of summer coursework. The award does not cover student fees.
How to apply: You can apply to be a GTA in the School of Communication. Visit the Illinois State University Human Resources job website and search for the position GTA Teaching Assistant - Master's program Graduate Teaching Assistants. The department listed will be the School of Communication.
Additional Application Requirements: As part of the HR job application, you are required to submit a Statement of Teaching Interest in 1-2 double spaced pages. In this statement, describe your skills and experiences that may position you to be an effective instructor. The GTA application is separate and distinct from documents included in your application for program admission.
If you are not interested in teaching or are not awarded a GTA position, you can apply for other graduate assistantships (GA) on campus. Communication students are often hired in GA positions in units across campus including Admissions, Athletics, Facilities Services, Graduate School, Health Promotion and Wellness, among others.
How to apply: Visit the ISU Human Resources jobs website and search for Graduate Assistantship positions. Read through the pool of positions and apply to the positions for which you are qualified.
You can apply for a tuition waiver if you do not have a GTA or other graduate assistantship on campus and are taking the required credits for the program. Tuition waiver money can be used toward tuition on required coursework (up to 9 courses for students completing the thesis option; up to 13 courses for students completing the 39-hour option) and up to 6 thesis credits. Waivers do not cover required fees.
Students who apply must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA (first semester students must have a 3.0 GPA in their last 60 undergraduate credits), be in good academic standing, and be making steady progress on completing the program in a timely manner. Priority is given to full-time students in their first two years of the program and part-time students who are taking courses in consecutive semesters.
You must apply for these awards every semester by the deadline to be considered, and award amounts are contingent on funding the School receives from the university and the number and quality of applicants. The amount awarded may vary by semester.
To learn more about and apply for a Graduate Tuition Waiver, visit the Graduate School website.
Your completed application should be submitted to the Communication graduate program coordinator by the deadline indicated on the Graduate School website.
Other Funding Sources
View additional funding opportunities on the Graduate School website.
Costs & Funding
See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from contiguous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.
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