Apply to the MA program

If you’re considering applying to any MA program, we recommend that you start with this excellent 30-page guide (created by another university) about choosing and applying to graduate schools. Then, we recommend that you review our MA program requirements and all the other information on the MA page and each page listed on the sidebar in the Master's Program section on this website, including the MA handbook. Make sure you look at the research interests for all the Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors, as well as any other full-time staff with PhDs -- these are the people who will offer upper-division courses and graduate seminars and who will serve on your exam committee and as advisors.

We highly recommend all applicants contact the Communication department's Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) before applying for an informal conversation about their specific interests and to ask questions about the program, either over the phone or in-person. Department Chair Lisa Keranen is the DGS August 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019. Hamilton Bean is DGS January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020. Amy Hasinoff is DGS starting January 1, 2021.

Some students may be contacted for a phone interview about their interests in and preparation for graduate study in Communication. All applications are evaluated by the admissions committee as a complete package.

Deadlines for Application

Fall admission
  • February 15: Priority deadline for Fall semester start and full consideration for scholarships and Graduate Teaching Assistantships. 
  • If space in the program is still available, late applications will also be considered until May 1; this is the non-priority deadline for a Fall semester start and excludes scholarship and assistantship consideration. 
Spring admission
  • October 1: No Graduate Teaching Assistantships are offered for spring semester start.

Students are notified by e-mail of the graduate admission committee's decision concerning their admission. If 6 weeks have passed since one of the deadlines above and you still have not heard anything from the communication department or the graduate school, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies. 

Requirements for Admission

  • Completion of a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Statement of purpose (cover letter). The statement should be 2-3 double spaced typed pages and should highlight your past experience and your specific interest in the program. You can view a sample letter from a successful appliant -- note that the specific details in this letter demonstrate that this applicant has thoroughly researched the program and has clearly explained how our program will help achive specific interests and goals. Your letter should include the following:
    • (a) Describe your academic experience and interests in the field of Communication. If applicable, also describe your professional experience in Communication.
    • (b) Explain your career plans and how an MA in Communication would help you achieve those goals.
    • (c) Explain why you are particularly interested in the CU Denver Department of Communication.
      • To answer (c) effectively, thoroughly research the department by reading through this website, talking to current and former students, if possible, and talking to the Director of Graduate Studies and other faculty, if possible. Review the MA program requirements and all the other information on the MA page, including the MA handbook. Look into the research interests for all the Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors, as well as any other full-time staff with PhDs. Read a few articles or books from the faculty members that interest you -- you can ask any scholar for a PDF of an article they've written if you don't have access through a library. Consider these questions and provide specific answers: What does the program offer that attracts you? How could faculty members' areas of expertise support your research interests? Which faculty expertise areas do you have experience studying and which do you want to learn more about? Who might you ask to be your advisor?
  • Completed Online Application
  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably from university faculty
  • An official transcript from every college or university attended
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • An academic writing sample; ideally showing the ability to make and defend an argument (minimum 8 pages double-spaced). Most students choose their strongest paper from a Communication course and edit it again before submitting.
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or above.
    • Lower GPAs can be considered if the applicant can demonstrate preparedness for graduate study though other means. The graduate school requires that students with GPAs under 3.0 are admitted provisonally. If your undergraduate GPA is below 3.25 but you believe you are prepared for graduate study and can commit to the academic work in this program, please discuss with the DGS before applying.
  • $50 application fee for U.S. citizens, $75 application fee for international students (non-refundable)
  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required. However, students may submit GRE scores to support their application. In general, this would require a score of 153 or above on the verbal component of the GRE, or at least 500 for students who took the GRE prior to August 1, 2011, or a score of 150 or above on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
  • International students: International students need either TOEFL or IELTS scores at or above the following levels: a TOEFL score of 80 with particular subscore minimums (15 in Reading, 15 in Listening, 19 in Speaking, and 20 in Writing) or IELTS scores of 6.5 with 6.0 or higher in each subsection. To be considered for Teaching Assistant positions, international graduate students must meet the score requirements above, and have a Speaking subscore of 26 (TOEFL) or 7.0 (IELTS).​

All application materials not uploaded through the online application process should be sent to:

Graduate School
University of Colorado Denver
Campus Box 163
1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 1250
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364 

Cost of attendance and funding

Learn more about the cost of attendance from the Graduate School.

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

The department offers a limited number of assistantships and small scholarships.

Readmission of Former Students

Students who were previously admitted to the Communication MA Program but who did not complete their degree can be readmitted to the program at the discretion of the department. Students who have not been registered for more than one (1) year [i.e., three (3) terms] at CU Denver must contact the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Communication to be considered for readmission.

Non-Degree Coursework

Earning credits before degree admission

Students also have the option of applying to take up to 12 credits of coursework as non-degree students through the Office of Admissions. If you took communication courses as a non-degree student and were later admitted into the program, we would transfer up to 9 credit hours into the program. However, non-degree students are not eligible for financial aid, student loans, most scholarships, or tuition assistance while taking coursework as a non-degree student.

Earning a graduate certificate

Students may complete graduate certificate programs (eg. the Strategic Communication certificate) as non-degree students; those who decide to enroll in the MA program following completion of a certificate may transfer up to those 12 hours of credits to their master's degree. Additional non-degree graduate credits earned beyond those explicitly required for a graduate certificate may not be counted toward the MA degree. For students already enrolled in the master's program, the certificates can be completed as part of, or in addition to, the coursework required for the degree. Use the Application for Non-Degree Admission to become eligible to enroll in courses for a certificate program.