Communication Studies (MA)


Communication Studies, MA

On Campus 30 - 36 cr

The Department of Communication Studies offers a master's degree specializing in two areas of study: Interpersonal, Family, and Health Communication and Rhetoric and Public Culture.


The department’s research and teaching devote particular attention to three cross-cutting scholarly initiatives: Health and Well-Being, Civic Engagement, and Identity and Difference. The goal of these scholarly initiatives is to understand and explain the role of communication in (a) constituting individual health and well-being, promoting healthy behaviors, identifying processes that differentiate positive and negative psychosocial outcomes, and helping persons navigate relational challenges, (b) facilitating civic engagement, mediating public controversies, and organizing for social change, and (c) creating, maintaining, and challenging personal, social, and community identity in a complex and diverse world.

Students in the program work with prominent scholars and teachers to prepare them for roles in the discipline of communication studies and in our communities. The program size offers the opportunity for close mentoring relationships between students and faculty. Communication studies students are also presented with a number of professional development activities. Students have the opportunity to attend research lectures by visiting scholars, travel to professional conferences, present scholarly papers, have their work published in regional and national journals, work on collaborative research projects, and work with a nationally-ranked speech and debate program.

Academic Pathways


  1. Ethnic Studies
  2. Great Plains Studies
  3. Women's & Gender Studies

Applying for Admission

Standard requirements for all graduate programs

  • Application for Admission with $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • Transcripts (unofficial): Uploaded as part of application form.

    If International: Uploads must include all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees plus certified English translations.

    After admission: Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certified records are not acceptable. International students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certified copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by their current school’s registrar office.

  • If applicant’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.

    When sending TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

  • If applicant is not a US citizen and expects an F or J visa: financial information.
  • Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies at the time of application.

Additional requirements specific to this program

  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 600, Internet TOEFL100, IELTS 6.5
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Personal Statement:  At minimum, your statement should include the following:
    1. A discussion of your overall academic goals
    2. A review of your undergraduate and graduate experiences that prepare you for master's or doctoral-level graduate work
    3. A clear articulation of your perspective on the potential intersections between our research endeavors and scholarly initiatives and your current research interests. For this last point, it is not necessary to link your research interests with all faculty members. For instance, you may identify a specific faculty member's program of research or you may see a cluster of scholarly foci from different faculty that you believe will assist you in achieving your academic goals. In your statement, we ask that you be very clear on what faculty member you would like to serve as your primary academic advisor. However, we are open to changes in this as students progress through the program.
  • Writing sample
  • Other upload: Demonstration of teaching effectiveness: A summary of your teaching experience or a discussion of your teaching potential.
  • Assistantship: If you wish to be considered for an assistantship, be sure to check the appropriate box(es) in the Funding section.

Admission Application Deadlines

January 15 for Fall.

Graduate Chair

Casey Kelly

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The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment.

UNL Graduate Chairs and staff please complete the program update form to provide edits. Updates to graduate program pages are made on an annual basis in conjunction with the Graduate Application for Admission.