Funding Opportunities and Teaching Assistantships

Paying for Graduate School

You can calculate the total cost of tuition using the tables here. To arrive at the most accuate estimate, note that the Communication department is part of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and that some costs and fees are per credit hour (our program requires 30 credit hours) and others are per semester. As of 2023, the total tuition cost for our 2-year, 30-credit program for residents of Colorado (and most Western states, see WRGP below) is approximately $16,000 and for non-resident and international students it's around $46,000, though costs vary according to your specific situation.

If you don't already live in Denver, you can learn about the cost of living, which is in addition to tuition. International students can also visit this page for more information about costs and work opportunities.

In general, there are a range of ways to pay for an MA:

  • employers sometimes have programs (or can be convinced) to cover some or all of the cost of tuition
  • some programs (but unfortunately not ours) provide full or partial tuition waivers if you work as a teaching or research assistant
  • internal scholarships (none currently available for our program)
  • external scholarships and fellowships
  • if you work at the University of Colorado on any campus in an eligible position, you can use the tuition assitance benefit to pay for 9 credits per year; new staff job openings are posted often
  • some countries in the EU that provide free higher education for their students also allow foreign students to study tuition-free, and have programs conducted in English

Teaching Assistantships

A limited number of teaching assistantships are available for MA students in the Communication Department. Being a TA involves around 6 to 9 hours per week of work per section for the duration of the 16-week semester. Running a weekly recitation (discussion) section or being a grader for a large course is 6 hours of work per week; running a standalone course under supervision, typically introductory public speaking, is 9 hours or work per week. In 2021, the pay for running a recitation section was around $2,500 for the semester and around $3,800 for a standalone section.

Teaching assistant (TA) positions do not include benefits, health insurance, or a tuition waiver and students can only teach a maximum 25 hours per week per semester (typically only 2 sections). The availability of positions varies by semester. If you are an applicant and are interested in a TA position, please include that request in your statement of purpose and discuss your interest with the Director of Graduate Studies if possible.

Although every effort will be made to provide teaching opportunities for MA students, they are not guaranteed and are dependent on enrollment and the instructional needs of the Department. The graduate program committee makes TA assignments based on the requirements and procedures outlined below.

  • Minimum Requirements
    • BA in Communication or related field
    • Demonstrated academic achievement and maintenance of satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree, including receiving an A or A- in all CU Denver Communication classes
    • Attendance at training workshops, pedagogy meetings, and orientation sessions
    • To be considered for Teaching Assistant positions, international graduate students who are required to submit test scores for English Language Proficiency must have a Speaking subscore of 26 (TOEFL) or 7.0 (IELTS).​
  • Application Procedures
    • An indication of interest and qualifications for teaching assistantships should be included in the cover letter of the application materials.
  • Selection of TAs
    • Criteria used in selecting from among the eligible applicants include: seniority in the program, academic achievement, and prior experience related to course content areas. Preference will be given to TAs with prior teaching experience. However, teaching assignments will generally be limited to no more than two years. The committee also strives to designate at least one slot for an incoming teaching assistant each year.

Research Assistantships

Sometimes, individual faculty members have grant funding they can use to hire MA students as research assistants. Availability is limited and depends on faculty funding.

Loans, fellowships, and scholarships

Please visit the general and Graduate Education financial aid pages for more information about grants, loans, scholarships and work-study. One grant that may be of interest to prospective MA students is the Colorado Graduate Grant, which is awarded to eligible graduate students who are Colorado residents with documented financial need as demonstrated through the FAFSA; students must be enrolled in a minimum of four credit hours to receive this award

The Graduate School also maintains a database of fellowships and a list of search tools and resources. There is also some specific funding available for study abroad courses. International students should also visit this page for more information about scholarship and work opportunities.

Another place to look is CareerOneStop, a large database of scholarships and this database of federal funding sources for graduate students and postdocs.

In-state tuition

You might be able to establish Colorado residency, before you start or after your first year, which would enable you to pay in-state tuition, which is much lower than out-of-state. International students on F1 and some other visas cannot qualify for in-state tuition.

Students who maintain residency in particular western states may qualify for Colorado in-state tuition through the Western Regional Graduate Program.

map of WRGP member states

Travel Funds

Graduate students who present papers at out-of-state conferences approved by the Department Chair are eligible for travel funds each academic year, subject to the availability of funds.

The Graduate School often matches funds from the department to further defray the cost of travel to conferences. 

The National Communication Association (NCA) offers travel grants for students of color who have papers or panels accepted for an NCA convention. Grants in the range of $250 are awarded to students who need financial assistance to attend the convention and whose departmental or university funding is insufficient to cover the costs. Nominations of students should be made by faculty and should include a letter of support from the department chair, which should verify that the nominee is a student and that the funding available from the department or the university will not cover the student's convention costs. The deadline for nominations is typically in early October. For more information, contact the National Communication Association: