Undergraduate Preparation for Grad School

If you're considering pursuit of an advanced degree, begin preparing for graduate school as soon as possible.

The many faces of communication

At the graduate level, you can specialize in any of numerous communication-related fields of study, including:

•   Interpersonal Communication

•   Information and Communication Technologies

•   Mass Communication

•   Organizational Communication

•   Public Relations

•   Journalism

•   Advertising

It is useful to decide which area of specialization most interests you before searching for graduate programs. Graduate programs in communication at most universities specialize in only a subset of these fields.

 

Resources for finding graduate communication programs

•   Online Graduate School Directory 

•   Graduate and Professional School Profiles 

•   GraduateGuide 

•   National Communication Association (202-464-4622)

•   US News Graduate School Rankings and Guide

•   UC Davis General Catalog Graduate Studies section

•   Office of Graduate Studies directory of UC Davis Graduate Programs

•   Look in professional communication journals to find the programs where your favorite researchers reside.

 

Four graduate admissions factors:

1.  Undergraduate GPA (especially for your major)

  • While programs vary, most require a 3.0 – 3.5 minimum GPA for graduate admission eligibility
  • If your GPA is lower, consider writing a concise, businesslike explanatory note and attaching it to your application

2.  GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

Most graduate schools require applicants to take the GRE general test. The test is divided into three sections:

  • Verbal (130 – 170 points; 150 = 50th percentile); evaluates reading comprehension and vocabulary skills
  • Quantitative (130 – 170 points); tests ability to apply arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis
  • Analytical Writing (0 – 6 points); tests critical-thinking and writing skills

Be sure to check if the schools to which you're applying require applicants to take any GRE subject-specific tests.

GRE resources:

3.  Letters of recommendation

  • Most schools expect students to submit three letters of recommendation from faculty members, employers or internship supervisors with their application.
  • Build constructive relationships with these individuals early to familiarize them with your attributes sufficiently to write a letter commending your skills and intellect.

4.  Personal statement

  • Personal statements, typically consisting of two to three pages, convey to admissions committees the reasons for your interest in graduate study; be prepared to include a sample of your writing, if requested.
  • Your statement should be personalized to each school, and should explain why you are interested in their institution and program, and why you believe it will complement your academic and professional experience, and your career goals.