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Admissions FAQ

How long is your program?

The normative time for our program is six years. Some students graduate in as few as five years; others take up to seven.

Is there financial assistance?

As part of our offer of admission, the Department of Communication provides a funding offer that guarantees financial support for the first five years of our program. This offer may come in a variety of forms, including fellowships, tuition and fee scholarships, dissertation fellowships and teaching and research assistantships. Additional fellowships, teaching and research assistantships are available by application.

Additional funding opportunities include

  • Department conference travel awards
  • Department graduate research travel
  • Faculty research assistantships
  • Department and University dissertation awards
  • Editorial work on the department’s scholarly journal, The Communication Review
All students are urged to apply for fellowship and grant opportunities as they arise. These include, but are not limited to: the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies and UC-Mexus; the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation; the UC Humanities Research Institute; the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition; the National Science Foundation; and the National Endowment for the Humanities. U.S. citizens and permanent residents may also apply for need-based financial aid.  

For more information on financial assistance, please refer to the Division of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA) funding website.

Is there financial assistance for foreign students?

We are typically able to make offers of admission to one or two foreign students each year. Foreign applicants are strongly encouraged to pursue funding opportunities from their home countries' government, as well as from international funding agencies, such as the Fulbright and Ford Foundation fellowships.  In addition, foreign applicants from Canada or Mexico may wish to look into funding opportunities though the following two agencies:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

UC MEXUS - The University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States

Is a master's degree required to apply to your Ph.D. program?

No, the only degree requirement is the bachelor's degree.  If your degree was received outside of the United States, we recommend you contact the Office of Graduate Admissions to confirm its equivalency to U.S. standards.  

Does your undergraduate degree have to be in Communication?

No, our program is an interdisciplinary program and our students come from a variety of academic backgrounds, as do our faculty.

What are your GRE requirements?

We take a holistic approach to reviewing admissions applications; the GRE is not a requirement.

Do you accept transfer work?

The number of required courses for our program are few.  Consequently, we accept a maximum of two graduate level courses as transfer credit.  These courses would be evaluated after you are admitted and have started the program. Do not expect that transferring courses will reduce your time to degree. 

What types of employment do your graduates pursue?

Most of our graduates pursue careers in academia.  Others are employed by government and non-government organizations.  Almost all are involved in some way with teaching, research or other types of educational programs and outreach. For a list of our alumni, their dissertation topics and placement, please see our Graduate Alumni webpage.

How do I know if UCSD's Ph.D. program in Communication is right for me?

Please take the time to not only read about our program requirements and mission statement, but also read our faculty, graduate student, and alumni webpages. These will help you get an idea of the breadth of research interests being pursued through our program and whether there is a 'fit' with your interests.

I have more questions. Can you help?

Certainly! Please reach out to us via email at