Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions from prospective graduate applicants.

Q.  Do I have to have a master’s degree first before entering the doctoral program?

A. Yes. This is a departmental requirement. Occasionally, we make an exception to accept outstanding PhD applicants without a master’s degree. In that case, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies to request a waiver before submitting your application.

Q. My master’s degree is not in communication; may I still apply?

A. Yes. Some of our students arrive with various backgrounds such as psychology, journalism, sociology, education, public health, and computer science although many hold a master’s degree in communication.

Q.  Are GRE scores still required for PhD applications?

A. No.  GRE scores are optional. And applicants with and without GRE scores will be evaluated equally during the admission process.

Q.  What are the language requirements for international applicants?

A. Please check UB international admissions criteria page for IELTS, PTE or TOEFL score requirements before submitting your application.

Q.  Can I complete the PhD program online?

A. No.  Although occasional courses may be offered in an online format, this PhD program is an in-person program.

Q. How long does it typically take to earn the doctorate?

A. It typically takes 4 years to complete the PhD program.

Q. Does this program transfer graduate credits from another institution?

A. Yes. A student entering with a master’s degree from another institution may transfer up to 18 credits toward this 72-credit program.

Q. Can I apply for scholarships or other financial aids?

A. All PhD applicants are automatically considered for a funding package which typically includes the tuition scholarship and teaching assistantship that UB’s College of Arts and Sciences offers for up to 4 years or 72 credits whichever comes first. The current annual stipend is $20,000 USD plus tuition waiver. Some fees are covered as well but students will need to pay for their own health insurance. Each year, a limited number of PhD applicants will be nominated for fellowships. If awarded, the fellowship will provide about $10,000 USD on top of our regular funding package.

Q. How much will this cost if I don’t receive funding upon admission?

A. We try to only admit PhD students whom we can fully fund for their time in our program. However, we do make exceptions occasionally and please visit the UB Financial Aid Cost of Attendance page for updated breakdowns. To maintain full-time status, funded students typically take 3 courses per semester and unfunded students typically take 4 courses per semester. 

Q. What do most students do after graduating with a PhD from this program?

A. Most of our PhD students enter higher education institutions in tenure-track or teaching faculty positions after completing the degree or work in research-oriented industry jobs. Please visit the job placements page for recent examples.