M.A. Program: FAQ

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE M.A. PROGRAM

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE M.A. PROGRAM

 

How big is the program?

Typically, 20 to 25 students join the program each year. Annual enrollment in the program, which normally takes two years to complete, totals about 50 students.

Back to Top

 

What are the different areas of emphasis in the program?

Our students choose among four programs of study:

  • Journalism
  • Strategic Communication
  • Visual Communication
  • Theory and Research

PLEASE NOTE: We are not accepting applications to the Journalism and Visual Communication programs of study for fall 2022. Our faculty recently approved a new, one-year curriculum to serve these students starting in summer 2023.

We also offer two dual-degree programs. The J.D./M.A. dual degree combines the Theory and Research program of study with graduate study in law. The dual degree in Environment and Science Communication combines the Journalism, Strategic Communication or Visual Communication program of study with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies or environmental science.

Visit our curriculum page to read about these programs of study and their respective requirements and faculty members.

Back to Top

 

What are the details of the new program of study to replace the Journalism and Visual Communication programs of study starting in summer 2023?

This program was recently approved by the UNC Hussman faculty. More details will be available following final university approval.

Back to Top

 

Is the program theoretically or professionally oriented?

We deliver both. Students in the Journalism, Strategic Communication and Visual Communication programs of study prepare students for careers in industry. The Theory and Research program of study is designed for students interested in pursuing doctoral degrees, careers in academia (teaching and research) or non-academic research positions.

Back to Top

 

How long does the program take to complete?

The residential M.A. program typically takes two years to complete. It requires three semesters (fall/spring/fall) of full-time coursework (33 to 36 credit hours) and a final semester in which students complete a comprehensive exam and a thesis or thesis project (three credit hours).

Back to Top

 

Can the M.A. program be completed on a part-time basis?

This degree program is designed for full-time students based on course sequencing and timing. Working professionals interested in a part-time master’s option are encouraged to consider the online M.A. in Digital Communication degree program.

Back to Top

 

What are the differences and similarities between the on-campus and online master’s programs?

Both programs feature the expert faculty and individual attention that are the hallmarks of graduate education at UNC Hussman, but there are several key differences between the M.A. in Media and Communication and the M.A. in Digital Communication. The residential program features a curriculum that is customizable to meet the needs of students with a variety of goals and interests, while the online program features a broad, prescribed curriculum designed specifically for working professionals with at least three years of communications experience. See the chart below.

  M.A. in Media and Communication M.A. in Digital Communication
Delivery Residential Online
Duration 2 years 2.5 years
Full-time/part-time status Full-time Part-time
Credit hours 36-39 30
Typical pace 4 courses per semester for 3 semesters 2 courses per semester for 4 semesters (plus 1 summer course)
Final semester Thesis or thesis project Thesis project
Curriculum/course schedule Customized based on program of study and career/research interest Prescribed—9 specific online courses taken in order
Typical class size 20 students or fewer 20 students or fewer
Starting semester Fall Fall
Admissions deadline Dec. 14, 2021 March 8, 2021 (priority)
May 10, 2021 (final)
Professional experience required None 3 years in communications role(s)
GRE required No Yes (waiver available)
Credit transfer from Certificate in Digital Communication Up to 2 courses (any) Up to 2 courses (MEJO 711 and 713)
School/university fellowships available Yes No
Federal financial aid available
(via UNC-Chapel Hill)
Yes Yes

Back to Top

 

Can I transfer credits or grades from other institutions into the program?

The Hussman School of Journalism and Media does not accept credit transfers from other institutions.

Back to Top

 

What is tuition for the program?

Tuition and fees are detailed on our page about program costs and funding.

Back to Top

 

What funding opportunities exist for residential M.A. students (e.g., fellowships, assistantships)?

We strive to make our program as affordable as possible for all of our students through generous fellowship packages provided by the Hussman School and The Graduate School. Details are available on our page about program costs and funding. Applicants seeking a Park Fellowship must complete an additional application essay. For all UNC Hussman and UNC Graduate School funding, applicants will be automatically considered for any packages for which they are eligible, with no additional application requirements.

Back to Top

 

How do I establish residency to qualify for in-state tuition?

If you indicate in your online application that you claim North Carolina residency for tuition purposes, you will be prompted to complete a residency determination form online. Guidelines for residency consideration are available from the North Carolina Residency Determination Service.

Back to Top

 

Who administers the program?

The program is administered by UNC Hussman's Office of Graduate Studies. The program director is Associate Professor Spencer Barnes, and Senior Associate Dean Heidi Hennink-Kaminski oversees all of the school's graduate programs.

Back to Top

 

How can I learn more about the program?

We offer online info sessions every fall for prospective students. Our graduate program staff and M.A. program director are available to answer your questions and connect you with more resources. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies at mjgrad@unc.edu or (919) 843-9471 to be added to our program email list or ask a question.

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS

 

When is the application deadline?

Our application deadline to start the Strategic Communication or Theory and Research program of study in fall 2022 is Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. More information on the application timeline is available on our admissions page.

Back to Top

 

What materials are required with the application?

 

The following materials are required:

  • Unofficial undergraduate transcript(s)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation, submitted by recommenders
  • Resume/CV
  • Writing sample(s)

 

Back to Top

 

Are GRE scores required?

GRE scores are not required. You may elect to submit GRE scores if you feel the scores will benefit your application.

Back to Top

 

What is the application fee, and how do I pay?

The $95 application processing fee can be paid online through the online application system via credit/debit card (Visa/Mastercard). You may also send a check drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars payable to UNC-Chapel Hill to:

The Graduate School - Admissions
Campus Box #4010, 200 Bynum Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC, 27599

Back to Top

 

I cannot afford the application fee. Is it possible to request a waiver?

Please visit The Graduate School's website to determine whether you are eligible for an application fee waiver and for instructions on how to request an application fee waiver.

Back to Top

 

What are the minimum requirements for admission?

Minimum criteria include:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree
  • An undergraduate GPA of “B” or better (3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale)

For more information, please visit our admissions page.

Applicants below these standards will need to demonstrate substantial compensatory qualifications to be considered. Meeting the above criteria is not a guarantee of admission.

Back to Top

 

If my undergraduate degree is not in communication, journalism or a related field, will I still be considered for admission?

Yes. The program is designed to meet the needs of many different types of students; among those are holders of bachelor’s degrees in other areas.

Back to Top

 

If I am an international student, must I take the TOEFL or IELTS exam?

International students who have not graduated from a degree program in which English is the sole language of instruction must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam and achieve the following scores:

  • Internet TOEFL exam: 105 or higher
  • Computer TOEFL exam: 260 or higher
  • Paper-based TOEFL exam: 620 or higher
  • IELTS exam: 7.5 or higher

The Graduate School's application instructions outline the specific conditions under which this requirement is waived.

 

Back to Top

 

Can letters of recommendation be sent electronically?

Yes, all application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted electronically through The Graduate School’s online application system. Applicants will be prompted to provide the names and contact information for a minimum of three persons who will write letters of recommendation. Each recommender will receive an email with instructions on how to upload their letter of recommendation into the online system or how to mail a sealed, printed copy of the recommendation directly to The Graduate School.

Back to Top

 

May I submit more than three letters?

Yes, you may have more than three letters sent on your behalf.

Back to Top

 

What are the guidelines for the statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose should describe your background, career goals and areas of research or professional interest. It should be double-spaced and no more than four pages long. The statement should clearly specify how the graduate degree will contribute to your career goals (professional or academic). Applicants to the theory and research program of study should further elaborate on their research interests.

Back to Top

 

What are the guidelines for the writing sample?

Upload your writing sample in the Supplemental Document(s) - Required section of the Program Supplement page of the online application. You may submit an academic paper, news article(s), marketing plan or other representative piece of writing.

Back to Top

 

What are the guidelines for the Park Fellowship essay?

U.S. citizens wishing to be considered for a Park Fellowship must submit an additional essay in the Supplemental Document - Optional section of the Program Supplement page of the online application. Guidelines for this essay are available on the Park Fellowships page.

Back to Top

 

What are the guidelines for the portfolio?

Applicants to the Visual Communication area of interest must submit a portfolio of their work in the Supplemental Document(s) - Required section of the Program Supplement page of the online application. If the portfolio is available online, please upload a PDF containing a link to the online portfolio.

Back to Top

 

How do I go about sending in my transcripts?

One unofficial transcript from each university attended must be uploaded into the application by the December 13th deadline. We only accept unofficial transcripts for application evaluation. Please do not mail transcripts. If you are offered admission, you will be requested to obtain one official transcript for each university attended and given instructions on how to submit those official transcripts.

Back to Top