Frequently Asked Questions
For full-time students, the master’s degree can be completed in two academic years. Some students pursue their master’s degrees on a part-time basis, which increases the time necessary to earn this degree. Full-time Ph.D. students typically take at least three years of full-time study to complete their coursework, take their preliminary examinations, and defend their dissertation.
Our graduates hold positions as public affairs/public relations specialists for major corporations and government agencies; technical writers and editors for engineering, software, chemical, and pharmaceutical firms; editors of specialized and in-house publications; and public relations/development officers for non-profit organizations. Our master’s degree graduates have taken jobs with Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, IBM, U.S. Forest Service, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Ecological Observatory Network, Colorado State University, Bohemian Foundation, Larimer County Humane Society, University of Colorado Health, and many other companies and agencies.
Graduates of our master’s program have also gained admittance to top-ranked Ph.D. programs. These programs include communication-related Ph.D. programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Temple University, University of California-Berkley, Ohio State University, and the University of Alabama. In addition, several of our students have continued their education in our Ph.D. in Public Communication and Technology. Graduates have also pursued doctoral degrees in other fields, including economics and sociology.
See tuition and fees listed at Student Financial Services.
See details under Graduate Support.
More than 27,000 students attend Colorado State University and live in the Fort Collins area. As such, there are numerous options for students interested in finding housing. Some graduate students choose to live on-campus (see CSU Housing and Dining Services). Other students choose to live off campus. CSUs Off-Campus Life Office, CraigsList, and Northern Colorado Rentals may be helpful in locating off-campus housing.
FAQ for Applying to the Programs:
Colorado State University’s Graduate School requires all admitted graduate students to have an undergraduate GPA at or above a 3.0. When calculating an applicant’s undergraduate GPA, the Graduate School uses all classes that counted toward the applicant’s degree. Students with an undergraduate GPA below a 3.0 should contact the Graduate Program Director before applying to the program.
All U.S. and international graduate applicants are required to submit their GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores as a part of their application packet. However, the department does not have a minimum GRE score requirement. The GRE scores are one of several items reviewed by the department’s graduate admissions committee when it evaluates an applicant for the master’s or Ph.D. program. For further information about the GRE test, please visit the ETS website.
The department’s graduate program committee carefully reads each letter of recommendation, so it is important that applicants select appropriate letter writers. Letter writers should be able to speak to the applicant’s likelihood of success in the M.S. or Ph.D. program. In particular, letter writers are asked to assess the applicant’s likelihood of successfully completing the program, overall problem solving abilities, ability to work independently, writing skills, oral communication skills, interpersonal skills, and motivation. Applicants should ensure that their letter writers have enough information and experience to address these issues. Applicants should provide each letter writer with a copy of the guidelines for preparing letters of recommendation.
The letter writer’s relationship to the applicant is also noted by the graduate admissions committee. M.S. applicants are encouraged to ask individuals who have known them in a variety of capacities to write recommendation letters. Letters typically come from employers, professors, and academic advisers. In contrast, Ph.D. applicants should primarily ask individuals who can speak to their research and teaching abilities. Usually, successful Ph.D. applicants ask their thesis adviser(s) and other major master’s degree professors to write letters of recommendation.
The graduate admissions committee carefully considers each writing sample, so it is important that applicants select appropriate writing samples. In essence, the writing samples should demonstrate to the committee that the applicant’s academic writing and research, and/or professional work are of high quality and relevant to the department’s areas of study.
Since the M.S. degree is both a professional and academic degree, M.S. applicants may choose to submit examples from both their professional work (e.g., reports, manuals, video productions, magazine or newsletter articles, press releases) and academic work (term papers, thought pieces, etc.). Ph.D. applicants should limit their writing samples to academic work (journal articles, thesis chapters, term papers, conference papers, etc.) that demonstrates their ability to conduct research and write cogently.
The Statement of Purpose is a key element of the application. In the statement, you should demonstrate how the department’s master’s or Ph.D. program would help you meet your career goals. You should demonstrate in your Statement of Purpose that you have a clear understanding of the emphasis areas for our master’s or Ph.D. program and, in particular, its research-oriented nature.
The statement should be primarily forward-looking. In other words, while it should include references to past academic/professional experiences, the primary focus should be upon the future (i.e., your career goals, your interest in the program, which professors you would like to work with, etc.). Students with low GPAs and/or GRE scores and students who have other unusual aspects to their application may briefly describe the circumstances that contributed to these situations, but these explanations should be a minor part of the Statement of Purpose.
You are required to submit the Statement of Purpose in two places: the online Graduate School application and the Journalism and Media Communication departmental application. The departmental application Statement of Purpose should be no more than three double-spaced pages in length. The Graduate School requires a shorter Statement of Purpose, so you may need to modify and shorten the departmental Statement of Purpose to fit the Graduate School’s length constraints.
Finally, remember that your Statement of Purpose is another example of your writing ability.
CSU students and graduates are not required to provide transcripts from CSU. However, CSU students and graduates who completed coursework at other institutions may be required to submit transcripts from those institutions. Applicants should check with the department’s graduate program administrator to find out whether they need to request these transcripts.
Yes. All applicants are required to submit transcripts from every school attended. This requirement includes any coursework completed at community colleges and at institutions where no degree was awarded.
The minimum TOEFL score for international students is 213 (computer-based), 550 (paper-based), or 80 (Internet-based). The minimum IELTS score is 6.5. Scores must be no older than two years and must be submitted to the university directly from the testing agency. The department does not conditionally admit students who do not meet the TOEFL/IELTS score requirement.
FAQ for Current Students:
Travel stipends are available to Ph.D. students whose papers or competitive panels have been accepted to academic conferences. These stipends can be used to cover airfare, food and board, and conference registration.
The department sets a limit on the total amount of travel funding that Ph.D. students may receive per year. For a PhD student, the per-year limit is $1,000. This limit increases to $1,500 if the PhD student is traveling internationally.
M.S. students whose papers or competitive panels have been accepted to academic conferences may also be eligible for travel funding. Preference is given to second-year MS students. MS students should check with the department's graduate program director in these situations. If travel funding is awarded to an MS student, the per-year limit is $750.
Well ahead of their conference travel dates, graduate students must submit a pre-trip travel request form and evidence that their paper or panel has been accepted to the department chair for approval. The form explains the university’s procedure for making airline reservations and lists travel costs that are typically covered. Additionally, students may contact their advisers for guidance on filling out travel request forms and arranging for travel.
At this time, no support is available for graduate student research. However, the department is currently reviewing this policy and some support may be available in upcoming years.
All M.S. students are assigned a temporary adviser upon entering the graduate program. This adviser helps the student choose courses, become acquainted with the department and with Graduate School procedures, and so on. M.S. students should choose their permanent adviser by the end of their second semester of study. For M.S. students, the committee consists of three faculty members: the JMC faculty adviser, one other JMC faculty member, and one faculty member from outside of the JMC department. Advisers and committee members usually share similar interests with the M.S. student and play a critical role in guiding the student’s thesis or project.
Similarly, Ph.D. students are assigned a temporary adviser upon entering the graduate program. Ph.D. students must select their committee by the end of their second semester or when they have completed 12 credit hours in their program, whichever comes first. The Ph.D. committee consists of five members: a permanent adviser, two additional JMC faculty members, and two faculty members from other departments. Committee members usually share research interests with the Ph.D. student and play a critical role in guiding the student’s course of study, preliminary examinations, and dissertation.
Students who wish to change committee members must complete the GS9A form.
The GS6 form is a university-wide form that all graduate students are required to complete. On the form, graduate students identify their committee members and the courses they have taken or will take to fulfill the degree requirements. The form must be completed prior to the fourth semester of regular registration. Failure to complete the form will result in a hold on the student’s account and the inability to register for future classes. Students must work with their advisers to complete the GS6.
Out-of-state graduate students may be eligible to pay resident tuition rates by becoming Colorado residents. In addition, out-of-state students who receive graduate teaching or research assistantships are strongly encouraged to establish Colorado residency within their first year of study since the department will only pay for in-state tuition after the first year of study.
The rules for becoming a Colorado resident are fairly strict, but with planning, students can qualify for residency. To learn about the process for establishing Colorado residency, visit Student Financial Services.
You must complete and submit a Special Course Form for any of these courses. It must be signed by your adviser or instructor (the person who will assign your grade for the course).