School of Communication & Journalism

FAQs

Prospective Students

I don't have an undergraduate degree in Communication or Journalism. Can I still apply?
Yes. You can apply to our program. However, if accepted, you will need to complete nine (9) additional hours at the graduate level.
I don’t have an undergraduate degree in Communication or Journalism. What will we study?
Our courses in Communication focus on the wide variety of ways in which human beings communicate with each other. Areas of study include interpersonal , small group (such as classrooms or families) and organizational communication as well as rhetorical and film criticism, popular culture, mass media, visual communication, and other mediated communication. At the graduate level, Communication courses focus on theoretical perspectives and research applications. The vast majority of our graduate classes are theoretically oriented.
What is the difference between the Graduate Certificate and the Master's degree?
The Graduate Certificate in Communication allows students to gain 18 hours of concentrated study in Communication, while the Master’s Degree in Communication requires 30 to 39 hours depending on your undergraduate major. Students in both programs take the three required graduate courses and must successfully complete Qualifying Exams. For additional information, check out our Graduate Student Policy Manual.
How long does it take to complete the degree?
Full-time students seeking a Graduate Certificate in Communication usually finish the required 18 hours in two semesters, while students seeking a Master’s degree typically take four semesters (Fall & Spring), or two years. Students pursuing an M.A. who do not have an undergraduate degree in a Communication-related field generally take five semesters.
Does Auburn University offer a doctoral program in Communication and Journalism?
The School of Communication and Journalism does not currently have a doctoral program.
Does the school offer a master's degree in print or broadcast journalism?
No. If you want to train to be a broadcast or print journalist, our graduate program will not meet your needs.
Does the school offer courses in advertising or marketing?
The School of Communication and Journalism does not currently offer classes in advertising or marketing.
Does the school offer courses in radio, TV, or film production at the graduate level?
The School of Communication and Journalism does not currently offer graduate classes in Radio, TV, or Film production.
Can I attend part time?
Yes. Students may take fewer than nine credit hours a semester if they choose. However, they will not be eligible for an assistantship.
What’s a full course load?
A full course load in the graduate program is nine hours, or three courses.
Are any courses offered online?
No.
When are graduate classes usually scheduled?
Most graduate classes are usually scheduled in the evening during Fall & Spring semesters. However, some graduate classes are scheduled in the afternoon during these semesters. Summer graduate classes (when we offer them) are usually scheduled in the late afternoon or evening.
Who will be my advisor?
The Graduate Program Officer serves as the de facto advisor for all graduate students in the School.
How much will it cost me for tuition and living expenses at Auburn?
Costs can vary with the number of hours you take and whether you live on or off campus. However, the university provides estimated budgets for prospective students at http://www.auburn.edu/admissions/tuition/costofattendance.html.

Application Help

Any tips on applying to the program?
  • Take the GRE early, in case you decide you want to retake it. We suggest four to six months before applying.
  • Ask those you wish to write letters of recommendation for you BEFORE submitting their names and email addresses in the application process.
  • Carefully choose your writing sample. Ideally, it should be an individually authored researched based paper that clearly illustrates your writing, research, and critical thinking skills. If you have been out of school for a while and have difficulty providing this type of writing sample, please contact the GPO for alternatives. Please note the number and title of the course on the cover page of the paper. Also note any special circumstances (i.e., is group authored, service learning class, accompanied a poster presentation, etc.).
  • Carefully compose your statement of purpose. The Statement of Purpose is a one-page essay (maximum 500 words) explaining why you want to pursue an advanced degree in communication, what you hope to learn, and what you see yourself doing with the degree. It is required for application to the CMJN Graduate Program. If applying for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, you will write a second SOP addressing your potential as a graduate teaching assistant.
  • Apply early, particularly if you are interested in applying for funding as a Assistantship. We suggest at least three months before the stated deadline. Graduate School processing of transcripts, GRE scores, etc. may take longer than expected. Also, early application will allow you to address any unforeseen problems.
  • Research our CMJN program prior to applying. We want to ensure that our program fits with your personal and professional goals.
  • Contact the CMJN Graduate Program Officer (GPO) if you have any questions about the process [insert hyperlink to email me].
  • Call or email the GPO to schedule a campus visit.
  • Contact members of the CMJN graduate faculty to find out more about our program.
  • Speak with current graduate students to learn more about what it means to be a graduate student in our program.
How do I write a Statement of Purpose?
  • The Statement of Purpose is a one-page essay, maximum of 500 words, explaining why you want to pursue an advanced degree in communication. An SOP is required for application to the CMJN Graduate Program. If you are applying for an assistantship, you will write a second SOP addressing your potential as a graduate teaching assistant. The Statement of Purpose and writing sample can be uploaded with the on-line Graduate School application.
  • General Tips
    • You want to convince the graduate application review committee that you have what it takes to be successful in our program.
    • Demonstrate that you can be both a good follower and a leader. Followers are able to take direction and handle criticism well, while leaders can work independently and guide others. You will do both while in graduate school.
    • Discuss why do you want to attend graduate school in general and our program in particular.
    • Demonstrate your familiarity with our program. This requires that you research our faculty, our program, and our institution. How does what we offer fit in with your personal academic and/or professional goals?
    • You will want to prove to committee members that you will be successful and that you will complete the program on time. Describe experiences or skills have you acquired while pursuing your undergraduate degree or in your current or past employment that you believe will help you as you pursue a graduate degree.
    • Edit and proofread your statement. Errors in spelling and grammar suggest poor writing skills and a lack of attention to detail.
    • When writing the GTA SOP, the previous advice applies.
How do I request a reference letter?
  • When Applying to the Program
    • The Graduate School's on-line application system will ask you to list your recommenders and provide their email address. Recommenders will receive an email from the Graduate School prompting them to fill out a recommendation review form and attach a letter of recommendation.
    • Choose recommenders who know you well and can address your qualifications for graduate study and your potential as a researcher and scholar. Usually, recommenders are professors or supervisors with whom you have studied, taught, or worked.
    • Choose recommenders who can address your academic and professional goals, your motivation for advancing your academic career, and your commitment to graduate study.
    • Consider recommenders who have professional or personal relationships with graduate faculty in our program. Check out the list of graduate faculty [insert hyperlink to grad faculty] to see where they may have worked or attended school and compare that to potential writers at your school or place of work.
    • Avoid asking for recommendations from graduate teaching assistants, unless they have a direct relationship with someone in the department to which you are applying. Graduate teaching assistants are typically considered students (albeit advanced students) by application reviewers.
    • You may want to provide your recommender with a copy of your resume, writing sample, GRE scores, GPA, and a list of current activities to help them craft a solid reference letter.
    • Remember to formally thank your recommenders for writing letters on your behalf. Handwritten letters, are always nice. But a phone call or an email is also good. Recommenders also like to be updated on acceptance.
  • When Applying for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship
    • If you apply for an assistantship, be sure to let your recommenders know so that they can also address your potential as a graduate teaching assistant in their letter. This will save them time and effort, as applicants often ask the same individuals to write letters for both their initial application and for their GTA application.
    • If your recommenders are writing a letter that addresses both your application to the program and for an assistantship, please let the GPO know so that the letters can be directed to both committees. An email to the GPO is sufficient.
    • You should review the Graduate Teaching Assistant Policy Manual to better understand what is required by our GTAs. Your writers may also want or need this information.
What kind of writing sample should I include in my application packet?
Your writing sample should demonstrate that you have strong writing skills as well as strong analytical and critical thinking skills. Ideally, it should be an individually authored research-based paper. Most applicants choose to submit a paper they wrote for an undergraduate class. Length of the paper varies greatly, but please do not go over 25 double-spaced pages.
If I'm considering continuing on for a Ph.D., should I pursue the M.A.-thesis or M.A.- nonthesis?
The course work students take for both degrees will prepare them well for a doctoral program. The M.A.-thesis offers a slight advantage because students write a master's thesis to complete this degree. The master's thesis requires a student to design a research project and carry it out to completion. Students who complete a thesis will know whether pursuing a doctoral degree is right for them.
Do I have to pay tuition if I receive a graduate teaching assistantship?
No. All graduate teaching assistants receive a tuition waiver, regardless of state of residency. However, GTAs are required to pay a per semester enrollment fee. They also must pay for their own books and other related costs.
If I'm applying for both admission and a teaching assistantship, do I need two separate sets of recommendation letters?
No. Just make certain that your references comment on your potential as a teacher.
How long do I have to complete my application?
Six months.

For more information

Debra Worthington

Debra Worthington
Graduate Program Officer
219 Tichenor Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
(334) 844-2756
worthdl@auburn.edu

Last Updated: December 12, 2018