Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in the UCSD Communication graduate program!

We offer an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in communication theory and research. We do not offer a Master's degree program. We also do not offer a specialization or programs in advertising, public relations, journalism, intercultural communication, speech communication or rhetoric.

Fall 2018 Application Schedule

Online application opens: September 1, 2017
Submission deadline: December 14, 2017 at 11:59 pm (PST) 
The Communication Department only admits students once per year, for the fall quarter.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university (undergraduate major does not need to be in Communication)
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent)
  • GRE General Test (no required minimum score); use institution code 4836 to report scores to UCSD
  • International applicants: Demonstrate English language proficiency via one of four options:
    • Option 1: TOEFL with a minimum score of 550 (paper based test-PBT) or 80 (internet based test-iBT). Use institution code 4836 to report scores to UCSD.
    • Option 2: IELTS with a minimum Band Score of 7
    • Option 3: Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic with a minimum overall score of 65
    • Option 4: Full-time enrollment for a minimum of 1 year in a university-level institution where English is the language of instruction and in a country in which English is a dominant language. (For example: U.S.A., England, Australia, Guam, Jamaica, Ireland, parts of Canada.)

Application Checklist

A completed admissions application includes the items below. All items must be received by the application deadline. Do not mail hard copy materials. All documents must be uploaded and submitted via the online application system.

  • UCSD Online Admissions Application
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Statement of Purpose (pdf format no larger than 10 MB; uploaded to online application)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Academic writing samples: copies of term papers, journal articles, or other examples of intellectual work
  • Scanned unofficial copies of transcripts from all higher education institutions attended (uploaded to online application)
  • Official GRE General Test scores (submitted to UCSD via ETS; see "Admission Requirements" section above)
  • Demonstration of English proficiency (International applicants only; see "Admission Requirements" section above)

Admission Decision

All materials must be submitted by the deadline to be considered for admission.
We do not admit on a 'rolling' basis. The review of applications begins after the application deadline.
Applicants are notified of the admission decision via email, usually by the end of February.

Financial Assistance

The University of California, San Diego attempts in every way possible to assist its graduate students with their financial needs. All entering students are urged to seek financial assistance within the university and through appropriate granting agencies such as the National Science Foundation or National Endowment for the Humanities. Applications for financial assistance should be submitted as early as possible; competition is keen and the deadlines are set early in the year. The Communication Department attempts to fund entering students in their first year of graduate study, but funds are limited by complex university formulas.

A combination of tuition and fee waivers, stipends, and teaching assistantships are the norm. Funding policies beyond the first year are as follows:

  • Students are essentially promised full-year support in the form of teaching assistantships (TA) during their second year.
  • The department has been able to award full and partial-year TA positions to third - and even fourth-year students, but this depends on availability.
  • Students beyond the second year are strongly encouraged to apply to the various college writing programs for TA positions.
  • Students who have advanced to Ph.D. candidacy are eligible to apply for dissertation awards. These generally range from $4,000 to $5,000. They are given out on a competitive basis, but the department tries to accommodate all legitimate requests.
  • The department allocates funds every year to help pay travel expenses for graduate students who deliver a paper at a scholarly conference.
  • The department sets aside some money to fund graduate research trips.
  • Research assistantships (RA) are often available from faculty members who have received research funds.
  • A full-year RA is given to one student to work with the editors of the department’s scholarly journal, The Communication Review.
  • Other opportunities for funding include the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies and UC-Mexus; the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation; the UC Humanities Research Institute; and the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition.

Funding for the above comes from a variety of sources including fellowship programs sponsored campus-wide, such as the San Diego and Cota Robles Fellowships and the University of California Pre-doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities. The Dean of Social Sciences provides several scholarship awards for the entering students, and departmental support includes endowments from the Herbert I. Schiller Foundation, the Helene Keyssar Memorial Fund, and the Alan A. Mannason Scholarship Award. Application for all of the above may be made through the Application for Graduate Admission. In addition, need-based financial aid made be applied for through the Office of Student Financial Services.


We encourage you to also review our Prospective Graduate Student FAQ page. 

We are happy to answer questions you may have about our graduate program or the admissions process.

Contact Us:

UCSD Department of Communication
Graduate Admissions
9500 Gilman Drive #0503
La Jolla, CA 92093-0503 

Phone: (858) 534-2379