Skip to main content

Graduate Application Procedures :: Department of Communication & Journalism | The University of New Mexico

Thank you for your interest in the Graduate Program in Communication.  Listed below are the materials that are required for a complete application.

Application Deadline

Applications for admission must be received by the following deadline:
January 15 for Fall admission (Ph.D. and M.A. program). 

We do not require GRE scores for those who are applying for admittance.

Application Procedures

Important Note:  The University of New Mexico is currently using an entirely online graduate application procedure. To begin the process, you should visit: There you will receive a PIN that will enable you to access the application steps. Both U.S. citizens and international students submit an online application to University of New Mexico’s Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) at this site.

International applicants will also need to have their official transcripts, TOEFL scores, and a copy of their official diplomas in English and the original language sent to:

International Admissions / Global Education Office (GEO) / MSC06  3850 / Mesa Vista Hall 2120 / 1 University of New Mexico / Albuquerque,  NM 87131-0001

Although the UNM Office of International Admissions considers a score of 560 on the paper-based TOEFL as a qualification to process an application for admission, our department requires a score of at least 600. If you are taking the computer-based TOEFL, the required score is 250. If you are taking the internet-based TOEFL, the required score is 100. On the Michigan Test, your score needs to be at the 80th percentile or above. All scores must arrive at Global Studies before the department’s application deadline in order for your file to be reviewed. For TOEFL details, go to the international admissions link at the Global Education Office website.

The online application form requires the following information:

  1. Program of Interest
    Select: College of Arts & Sciences > Communication & Journalism > Communication > MA or PhD.

    Applicants for the doctoral program should choose one or two areas of interest. MA applicants do not need to identify interests from the list.

  2. Educational Background 
    Please fill out the form as indicated.

  3. Transcripts
    Communication & Journalism strongly encourages applicants to attach unofficial transcripts to this online application. In addition, one official transcript from each institution you have attended must be received by the Admissions Office for US students and by the Global Education Office, as indicated above. For international applicants: Official Diplomas or Degree Certificates in both English and the original language must be sent to UNM's Office of Global Studies. Please attach an unofficial set of diplomas or degree certificates to your online application.

  4. Letter of Intent 
    Your statement should be a total of at least three double-spaced typed pages.
    Part One: Identify your specific interests in Communication and any special areas of study in our Department (e.g., inter/cultural, health, mass communication, environmental, interpersonal, organizational, rhetorical, etc.). Talk about why you are interested in our program.Part Two: Describe a study or project that you would want to investigate during your graduate studies in Communication. Cite publications and other resources that you used to develop your letter of intent.Part Three (international applicants only): Please briefly indicate whether you would have an independent means of financial support in the event that you are unable to receive UNM funding or financial aid.

  5. Writing Sample 
    All Ph.D. and Masters applicants must also submit a writing sample (i.e., articles submitted for publication, conference papers, chapters of thesis, paper for a class). Videotapes are not appropriate.

  6. CV/Resume 
    Please submit a CV with the usual items of interest, including at least (1) contact information, (2) degrees and institutions, (3) work history, (4) publications, presentations, and other creative works. We do not review video or audio materials. If you have relevant media materials of this type, please refer to them in your CV and/or letter of interest.

  7. Assistantship Interest
    If you are interested in a teaching assistantship, please upload a document that answers the following:

    a. What teaching experience have you had? If you have not had any direct teaching experience, what skills, knowledge, or related academic experiences have you had that would assist or qualify you to be considered for a teaching assistantship?

    b. What is your teaching philosophy? (How would you approach teaching, interact with students, create a learning environment, etc.).

    c. Of the following courses, indicate which you feel comfortable or qualified to teach and why. You may list as many courses as you like (and include other courses not listed), but please provide a brief justification: public speaking, interpersonal, small group, intercultural, interviewing, persuasion, communicating for teachers, nonverbal, media theory, business and professional speaking, writing for the mass media, introduction to communication.

    Additional information on C&J assistantships can be obtained on the department’s web site.

  8. Recommendations                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. Recommendations should come from former professors or those who are familiar with your academic work. Recommendations from graduate students (i.e., teaching assistants) are not appropriate. Academic recommendations are more helpful and carry more weight than do those from current/previous employers. Please indicate at the application website the names and contact information of your references. Each reference will then receive an automated email from UNM instructing them on how to submit their letters. Be sure to do this well in advance so that all materials are received no later than the deadline.

What Happens Next

You may keep a draft of the material uploaded to the admissions site until you are ready to finish it. Once you are ready, please click "submit," and your materials will be made available to the department for processing. If you have any questions about the program or application process, please do not hesitate to contact our graduate advisers Dr. Myra Washington (Ph.D.) and Dr. Ilia Rodríguez (M.A.).

The deadline for application is January 15, but we encourage early application if possible. Materials received after the deadline will not be considered for admission. Please note that the Global Education Office will not process applications that have a late arriving TOEFL score, so please be sure to have that score to their office by the deadline. The TOEFL must be sent by ETS.

The Committee meets within two weeks after the deadline date to review applications. To ensure that you receive the fullest consideration by our Graduate Committee, please have all materials in to the admissions offices as early as possible.

Catalogs can be downloaded for no cost here.

UNM's Mission to Honor Cultural Diversity

New Mexico provides a rich cultural environment in which such diverse communities as Chicano/a, Hispanic, Anglo, Native American, and others have interacted for centuries. One of the strengths and missions of the University is to engage in teaching and research within our multi-ethnic context.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Admissions Process

Q. How many applications do we receive each year and how many people are admitted?
A. For the PhD program, we receive about 40-50 applications per year. We admit 6 to 9 applicants per year depending on funding.

Q. What criteria do we use for admission?
A. We utilize GPA, letters of recommendation, statement of intent, writing sample, and other qualifications (e.g., conference presentations, publications, work experience, lived experience, awards and honors, etc.).

Admission to the MA and PhD program is competitive. We typically admit 6-9 people per program in the PhD and MA programs. We choose to limit the number of people into the programs in order to maintain our intimate and supportive climate. We want to make sure that students have ample opportunities to interact with faculty by maintaining a relatively small faculty to student ratio (about 3 students for every faculty member).

Q. What are the qualifications for receiving an assistantship?
A. For a teaching assistantship, we utilize the following criteria: (a) background in communication (i.e., we want you to have knowledge about what you are teaching); (b) prior teaching experience (not required, but certainly helps and can come in a variety of areas such as training); (c) potential for being an effective teacher; and (d) academic credentials (a degree from a respected institution and strong letters of recommendation that include observations of your teaching).

Research assistantships are positions on funded research projects conducted by professors in the department. Therefore, these professors make decisions about the RAs. Generally, they are looking for people who have good research skills in one or more of the following: (a) library research, (b) internet research, (c) grant writing, (d) statistics, (e) quantitative or (f) qualitative research methods.

Q. How many assistantships does the department have at any one time?
A. At the Ph.D. level, we have 17 teaching assistantships (TA) at any one time and usually assign 6-7 per year for new students. We usually have about 10 TA slots available in the fall semester and 2-4 available in the spring semester for new students. Exact numbers will vary year to year.

We also have research assistantships (RA), but we don't have any set numbers. These positions depend on the amount and nature of funded research being completed by the faculty.

Q. How long is the program and how long does my funding (for a TA or RA) last?
A. The PhD program takes a minimum of 3 years if you attend full-time. Funding for teaching assistantships is currently for 4 years. The University requires the degree to be completed within 5 years of passing your comprehensive exams.

Q. May I research what I like?
A. Yes, for the most part. Your assignments are limited only by the parameters of the class (e.g., a theory class may require you to investigate a theory) and you are free to choose the topics that you wish to work on. For your thesis/dissertation research, you may select any communication topic you wish so long as you are able to form a committee who will work with you.

Q. Will I have trouble getting a committee together and graduating?
A. Our faculty members are committed to helping you finish your degree in a timely manner. We readily serve on committees and we will make sure that you have the support to complete your degree.

Q. How many students who enter the program actually graduate?
A. For the PhD program, we have a graduation rate of 91% (within five years of entering).

Q. Do I need to have a degree in communication to apply?
A. We do not require a communication degree to apply to the PhD program. A degree in a closely related field, or work experience in communication, are beneficial for your application, but we accept and consider applicants from all disciplines. If you do not have any (or you have limited) academic communication experience, we may require you to take foundational courses as a pre- or co-requisite. For PhD students, these courses are our MA level theory and research methods courses.

Q. What do people do with a communication degree?
A. Most students with doctorates assume teaching and/or research positions in universities, research centers, and nonprofit agencies, or become independent consultants.