Information for Applicants

Instructions for completing an application for admission to master’s or doctoral studies in the Department of Communication

Overview of the process

Applicants’ files are compiled by the Office of Graduate Admissions of the University. Questions about the status of an application, what materials are needed, or how they can be transmitted, are addressed by the Graduate Admissions FAQ at that site. Additional questions can be directed to the Office of Graduate Admissions by email:

Once your file is complete, it is sent to the Department Admissions Committee for review. The Admissions Committee bases its decisions on evidence that you can succeed in our program and contribute to it. In making a decision, the Admissions Committee takes into consideration your record of past academic achievement, your ability to write in a thoughtful, well-reasoned way, and the compatibility of your background and goals with the subject matter taught in the department’s courses.

Evidence about these matters comes from the following materials that should be submitted with your application:

  1. transcript(s) of academic work;
  2. three (3) letters of recommendation;
  3. your personal statement; and,
  4. a writing sample.

In order that the materials you submit with your application will support your application to the greatest extent, you should be aware of the following:

Letters of recommendation

As much as possible, letters should come from university faculty with whom you studied, preferably more senior, permanent faculty. Letters from employers or work associates do not provide information about your ability as a student. If you have been out of touch with faculty with whom you studied and cannot supply letters from academic sources, you should contact the Communication department’s Director of Graduate Studies for advice.

Personal statement

Your personal statement should inform the Admissions Committee about what you hope to gain from studying Communication at the graduate level. In particular, your statement should be informative about:

  1. how you expect graduate studies in Communication to be relevant to and supportive of your plans and goals after your receive your degree;
  2. what you hope to learn as a graduate student and how that will benefit you; and
  3. what it is about the Albany program in particular that led you to apply here.

Writing sample

Your writing sample should, ideally, demonstrate your ability to analyze and reason about the claims and thinking presented in others’ texts, and to write arguments supporting your claims. Papers that summarize or evaluate or dispute others’ work but do not analyze it, are less helpful to the admissions committee in discerning your ability to do the kind of writing required in our classes. Press releases or other professional writing, or creative writing, generally do not reveal abilities relevant to the kind of writing you would be asked to do in our classes.

  1. You can submit a sample of writing you did in the past that presents an analysis and argument about materials you read. This may have been written to fulfill a class assignment or a work-related report or recommendation. If you have a writing sample of this kind, please include it with your application, adding an explanation of the assignment or task you were fulfilling.

  2. You can write a new essay to submit with your application in response to the following assignment: In an essay of 700-1,000 words, provide reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with the argument that David Bohm is making about communication in his short essay "On Communication".

Note: In submitting your writing sample, you are guaranteeing that it is entirely your own work, both in regard to the content and the actual writing. If you are admitted to the program, and it is later found that your writing sample was not original work created solely by you, that would be grounds for dismissal from the program.

GRE scores

Applicants to the M.A. program do not need to submit GRE scores.


All international applicants must submit TOEFL or IEFLTS scores except for those who have earned B.A. or M.A. degrees in English-speaking countries. In general, the minimum TOEFL score required for admission to our graduate program is 580 (paper-based total), 237 (computer-based total) or 93 (internet-based total). The minimum IELTS score is 6.6. International students should check the FAQs page about TOEFL/IELTS scores.

Application deadlines

The deadline for applying to the M.A. program for Fall semester is July 15th, and for Spring semester is November 1st. Applications received after those dates may be reviewed if there is space for new students.

Application materials and procedures

Application materials and procedures can be accessed online from the University's Office of Graduate Admissions website. The site has links for applying online, requesting an application, and downloading an application, as well as other useful information.

International applicants should note that there is special information that applies to them in the International Applicants section of the Office of Graduate Admissions website.

Contact information

All questions about Communication graduate programs and curriculum, and advisement and course selection should be addressed to the department’s Director of Graduate Studies.

Director of Graduate Studies
Assistant Professor Masahiro Yamamoto
(518) 442-4881

Questions about application materials and procedures, and application status, should be addressed to the Office of Graduate Admissions: