Graduate Program Application Process
Applications for our program are done through Cal State Apply. Please visit that site to submit your university and department-specific application materials.
For more information about general university admission guidelines as well as information for international applications, please visit SJSU's Graduate and Admissions Program Evaluations.
Applications will be due March 1, 2020 for Fall 2020 admission.
Applying for the SJSU MA in Communication Studies
(Note: the materials below will be submitted through Cal State Apply--see link above.)
To apply for the MA program in Communication Studies, you will need the following materials:
- A personal statement (approximately 1000 words)
- A writing sample (2500-5000 words)
- Two letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts from all your previous institutions
Below are suggestions for strengthening your application materials and showing yourself to your best advantage.
- Do not be misled by the word “personal.” A personal statement does not necessarily require the author to reveal private thoughts or history, nor should it recount your life story. Rather, it is a well-crafted, individualized narrative that explains how an MA in Communication Studies fits into the trajectory of your life. Your statement may include reference to past experience; it should also include your qualifications, goals, and expectations for graduate study. What has prepared you for this step and what do you anticipate might come next? The more clearly you can articulate what you want from an MA and why, the better we will be able to determine if this is the right program for you.
- It is important that you explain why Communication Studies is your chosen field, and
what about this program in particular appeals to you. We suggest avoiding platitudes
about the importance of communication or your love of communication. Also, note that
being a good communicator is not necessarily the same thing as being a good communication
scholar. Focus on why you are passionate about Communication Studies and what specific areas
you hope to research.
- Your writing sample can be an assignment you submitted for an undergraduate course; in fact, we recommend submitting an undergraduate paper, if it was highly regarded by your instructor. If your instructor offered feedback, we recommend revising the paper before submitting.
- Writing samples will be evaluated based on a) the author’s ability to offer original arguments and/or analysis; b) the author’s ability to synthesize other research; and c) writing mechanics.
- While word count is important to indicate an applicant’s readiness to compose papers of a certain length, critical thinking and writing skills are more important. In other words, we want your best writing sample, which is not necessarily your longest sample.
Two letters of recommendation
- The strongest recommendation letters will be those that come from college instructors who can attest to your academic prowess. This is because we know that they know what is required of graduate students, and they are attesting to the fact that you will not just survive, but thrive in the academic environment. If you do not have faculty in Communication Studies who can write you a positive letter, related fields are fine. Encourage any faculty recommenders to focus on your skills as an independent researcher, writer, and thinker. Letters from tenured faculty and lecturers will be more highly regarded than those of teaching assistants.
- If you have been out of school or do not have faculty who can write you a strong letter, you may use a letter from an employer. Encourage your recommenders to speculate about your success with graduate study, focusing on their evaluation of your reading, writing, oral communication, and critical thinking skills as well as your work ethic.
- Personal references (i.e., from a friend or family member) are not recommended.
- To ensure confidentiality, letters should be submitted directly by recommenders.
- Make sure to include official transcripts from all institutions you have attended.
- The minimum GPA is 2.5. If your GPA is below 3.5, this is something you may want to address in your personal statement. While a lower GPA does not disqualify you, it puts you at a disadvantage over applicants with higher scores.