Paying for Graduate School

As of 2021, the total tuition cost for our 33-credit program for students who have qualified as residents of Colorado (or certain Western states) is estimated at approximately $16,000. Costs for international students and people who aren't Colorado residents are higher.

You can calculate the total cost 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 33 credit hours) and others are per semester. International students should 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 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 -- there is one competitive merit-based tuition scholarhip we can try to get for select incoming MA students; see below
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

Loans, fellowships, and scholarships

Please visit the financial aid page for more information about grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study.

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 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

Merit-based Tuition Scholarships

The Graduate School at University of Colorado Denver provides merit-based partial tuition scholarships to a limited number of incoming graduate program applicants -- usually for only one new student each year. The DGS will submit nominations to the Graduate School. Nominees must have high GPAs (at least >3.6 out-of-state/international or >3.8 in-state) and very strong applications. Please contact the DGS if this scholarship would make the difference in whether you could attend the program or not. This scholarship provides $2500 per year for the first two years for students eligible for in-state tuition and somewhat higher amounts for out-of-state and international students.

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: