Communication Studies, PhD
The master’s degree under Option A requires a thesis. Option A is most appropriate for students who are preparing for careers in research and scholarly work or additional academic pursuits beyond the master’s degree. Under this option, a student must earn a minimum of 30 credit hours, consisting of 20 to 24 credit hours of regular course work, plus a thesis equivalent to 6 to 10 credit hours. At least one-half of the credit hours required for the degree, including thesis, must be in the major (at least 18 credit hours for the Master of Education degree). The remaining work may be in supporting courses and may comprise a minor consisting of at least 9 credit hours selected from and approved by the minor department. At least 8 credit hours, excluding thesis, must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 level or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).
Option A is not available for the Master of Professional Accountancy degree.
Thesis Requirements. The subject of the thesis shall be chosen from the student’s field of major interest and must be approved by the departmental Graduate Committee. The thesis should reveal a capacity to carry on independent study or research and should demonstrate the student’s ability to use the techniques employed in their field of investigation. Research activities involving human subjects or live vertebrate animals may not be conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln unless the research activities have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate board or committee. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews projects involving human subject research and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews the use of animals in research. These reviews are in accordance with Federal regulations, state laws and institutional policies. Submission of protocols to conduct human subject or animal research is coordinated by the Research Responsibility offices. Approval must be secured prior to the initiation of the research.
The thesis must conform to the required style and format described in Steps to Degree Completion. A copy of the thesis and abstract must be approved by the student’s major advisor and submitted for preliminary review to the Master’s Programs Coordinator in the Office of Graduate Studies at least two weeks (one week in the summer sessions) before the date of the candidate’s final oral examination. A candidate is not eligible for the oral examination until the thesis is completed and approved. After passing the final oral examination, the thesis must be electronically submitted to the Master’s Programs Coordinator for a final review prior to being uploaded to Digital Commons.
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The master’s degree under Option B does not require a thesis. Option B is most appropriate for students pursuing practice-based or professional careers in which the master’s degree provides suitable training. Under Option B, a student must earn a minimum of 30 credit hours. At least one-half of the credit hours required for the degree must be in the major. The remaining work may be in supporting courses and may comprise a minor consisting of at least 9 credit hours selected from and approved by the minor department. At least 15 credit hours must be earned in courses open exclusively to graduate students (900 level or 800 level without 400 or lower counterparts).
The Master of Professional Accountancy plan of study may not include a minor.
The Master of Education plan of study may not include a minor, but must include at least 6 credit hours of education courses outside the major.
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Accelerated Master's Programs allow University of Nebraska–Lincoln undergraduate students to pursue this degree in an abreviated timline.
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Dual Degree programs allow students to be admitted to two degree programs simultaneously with approval of each Graduate Program Committee and the Dean(s) for Graduate Studies.
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The graduate program is dedicated to cultivating scholar-teachers capable of advancing the study of relational and civic dimensions of communication.
We reflect the pluralism of the communication discipline by currently offering two primary areas of study: Interpersonal, Family & Health Communication and Rhetoric & Public Culture. The mission of the faculty and students of the Department of Communication Studies is to examine human symbolic activity as it shapes and is shaped by relationships, institutions, technology, and culture. This work concerns the creation, analysis, and critique of messages ranging from face-to-face to digital media contexts. The department’s research and teaching devote particular attention to three cross-cutting strategic initiatives: Health and Well-Being, Civic Engagement, and Identity and Difference. Our goal is to nurture scholars who appreciate and embrace the interconnectedness of these primary areas as well as other faculty foci (e.g., organizational communication). Our doctoral students have great success in securing academic appointments upon graduation. Our M.A. program will prepare you for continuing your doctoral studies in prestigious doctoral programs. You will develop programs of study that serve your individual focus based on your primary area of study and our department strategic initiatives.
For more information, visit https://comm.unl.edu/graduate.
Great Plains Studies
Women's & Gender Studies
Graduate Admission Requirements
- 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.
- 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.
Program-Specific Admission Requirements
- 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:
- A discussion of your overall academic goals
- A review of your undergraduate and graduate experiences that prepare you for master's or doctoral-level graduate work
- 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.
NOTE: When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.
Admission Application Deadlines
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.