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School of Communication & Journalism
Frequently Asked Questions


Myoung-Gi Chon

Myoung-Gi Chon

Associate Professor

Graduate Program Officer

Yes. You can apply to our program.

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 groups (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.

The graduate certificate in communication studies allows students to gain 18 hours of concentrated study in communication, while the master's degree in communication requires 30-39 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.

Full-time students seeking a Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies usually finish the required 18 hours in two semesters, while students seeking the MA degree typically take four semesters (Fall and Spring), or two years. Students pursuing an MA who do not have an undergraduate degree in a communication-related field generally take five semesters.

The School of Communication and Journalism does not currently have a doctoral program.

No. If you want to train to be a broadcast or print journalist, our graduate program will not meet your needs.

The School of Communication and Journalism does not currently offer classes in advertising or marketing.

The School of Communication and Journalism does not currently offer graduate classes in radio, TV or film production.

Yes. Students may take fewer than nine credit hours a semester if they choose; however, they will not be eligible for an assistantship.

A full course load in the communication graduate program is nine hours, or three courses.

No, we do not currently offer any online graduate courses.

Most graduate classes are usually scheduled in the evening during fall and spring semesters. A few 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.

The Graduate Program Director serves as the de facto advisor for all graduate students in the School.

Costs can vary with the number of hours you take and whether you live on or off campus. The university provides estimated budgets for prospective students at

  • Ask those you wish to write letters of recommendation for you BEFORE submitting their names and email addresses in the application process. At least one letter should be written by an individual who can attest to your academic abilities.
  • Carefully choose your writing sample. Ideally, it should be an individually authored research-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 graduate program director 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 (SOP) 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 graduate assistant. We suggest at least three months before the stated deadline. Graduate School processing of transcripts, GRE scores (if applicable), etc. may take longer than expected. Also, early application will allow you to address any unforeseen problems.
  • Research our program prior to applying. We want to ensure that our program fits with your personal and professional goals.
  • Contact the graduate program director if you have any questions about the process.
  • Schedule a campus visit.
  • Contact members of the communication graduate faculty to find out more about our program.
  • Speak with current graduate students to learn more about what it means to be a student in our program.

Your statement of purpose should be about 1-2 pages, double-spaced. We are looking at both your writing skills and the content of the statement of purpose. The statement of purpose should tell us why you want to come to graduate school, why you are especially interested in Auburn and what your career goals are. We recommend discussing the following in your statement of purpose:

  • How have your experiences, interests and activities shaped your interest in communication?
  • The School of Communication and Journalism has four areas: communication, public relations, media studies and journalism. Explain how your interests fit with these areas. If there are specific faculty members in the School whose interests fit with yours be sure to mention them.
  • What will you bring to our program and your classes? How are you prepared to be a successful graduate student?
  • What are your career goals and how will an MA in communication from Auburn help you achieve them?

Be sure to edit and proofread your statement of purpose.

When Applying to the Graduate 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 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 program to which you are applying. Graduate teaching assistants are typically considered 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 graduate program director know so the letters can be directed to both committees.
  • 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.

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.

The coursework students take for both degrees will prepare them well for a doctoral program. The MA thesis-option 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.

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.

No. Just make certain that your references comment on your potential as a teacher.

Six months.


Myoung-Gi Chon

Myoung-Gi Chon

Associate Professor

Graduate Program Officer