Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are answers to some questions that prospective students frequently ask us about M&C, the application process and Temple University.

If you have any questions not addressed here, please send us an e-mail message at mcphd@temple.edu.

Questions about M&C

Questions about applying to M&C

Questions about Temple University

You’ve taken the first step, which is to carefully read the information on this web site. Look in particular at the interest areas of each faculty member on the Faculty page; you may want to locate and read some of the publications of faculty members whose interests seem to coincide with your own. Subscribe to the (free) MMC listserv. Contact individual faculty members and/or students to introduce yourself and ask them about their work. If you can, come visit us (see next question).

Q. Can I speak with or come to Temple University to meet in person with M&C faculty members?

A. We typically contact individuals who have submitted complete applications for admission by telephone to get to know them better and to answer any questions they may have. You are welcome to contact individual faculty members who seem to share your interests in communication (see the Faculty page for more information). And we strongly encourage applicants to visit us. Contact the Program Director or send an e-mail message to mcphd@temple.edu, if you’d like to arrange a visit.

Q. How can I find out what it’s like to be a student in the M&C program?

A. Serious applicants are encouraged to contact current M&C students to gather their perspective and seek additional information (see the Students page for contact information).

Q. Can I take courses without being admitted to the program?

A. You can take one 4-credit course, either Communication Theory I (MMC 400) or Researching Communication (MMC 500) as a non-matriculated student (i.e., before applying and being admitted into the M&C program). These courses are only offered in the fall semester. If you are then admitted, the credits count toward the degree.

Q. How long would it take me to earn the doctorate?

A. The model is four years: two and a half years of course work, a half year of writing a dissertation proposal and preparing for exams, and a year of conducting and writing the dissertation. A few students finish more quickly, many finish in this time frame, and a handful take longer for a variety of reasons.

Q. Could I earn a doctorate from M&C as a part time student?

A. All M&C students are required to have a full-time schedule of course work (9 credits) during their first year. Following that year, some students take courses on a part-time basis.

Q. Could I earn a doctorate from M&C via distance learning?

A. Occasionally an M&C elective course is offered in an online or combined online/offline format, but you couldn’t earn your degree without attending and participating in courses designed for face-to-face, ‘in person’ interaction.

Q. What types and amounts of financial support are available for M&C students?

A. Information about a variety of sources for financial assistance for applicants and students is on the Financial Aid page of this web site.

Q. Are assistantships or other sources of financial aid available if I take courses in the summer?

A. Normally assistantships do not cover summer tuition, although in some cases this is available through faculty grants. However, financial aid is available to students who take more than 4 credits in the summer sessions.

Q. Could I get funding to reimburse me for the cost of traveling to conferences and/or conducting research projects as an M&C student?

A. Yes, each year there are funds available from the School of Media and Communication and/or M&C for these.

Q. Would I have the opportunity to study abroad as a student in the M&C program?

A. A variety of study abroad options are available to Temple graduate students. M&C students should consult with their adviser to determine which program best suits their interests. Click here to learn more about study abroad programs at Temple.

Q. When should I apply?

A. Applications are accepted only for admission starting in the fall of each year, and the deadline for our receipt of applications is December 15 of the previous year. International applicants should submit materials by December 1st of the previous year because although applications will be accepted until the December 15 deadline, Temple cannot guarantee that applications after early-December will be processed in time to obtain the required visas. Please note that incomplete applications cannot be evaluated.

Q. What materials do I have to submit or have submitted for my application to be complete?

A. Your application can’t be evaluated until it is complete, which means that the SMC Graduate Office has each of the following items:

  • A filled-in application form (available from the Temple University Graduate School)
  • Statement of purpose
  • 3 letters of reference
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work
  • For international applicants: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Q. What is the statement of purpose?

A. The statement of purpose is a thoughtful consideration of the reasons you want to come to graduate school generally, and Temple and M&C more specifically. It should include some description of your background, your future career and research goals, and any other information you think might be helpful to determine if our faculty and program matches your interests and needs.

Q. Do I need to submit a sample of my writing?

A. It is strongly recommended, but it isn’t required in order for your application to be complete.

Q. Do I have to have a masters degree to apply to M&C?

A. A masters degree in communication or another relevant field, or the equivalent degree from a university in another country, is required for admission to M&C. If you don’t have a master’s degree, you can earn one at another university or you can apply to enter one of the masters programs in the School of Media and Communication at Temple. Click here for more information on SMC programs.

Q. How can I tell if my degree from a university in a country other than the United States is equivalent to a masters degree at a U.S. university?

A. The Graduate School at Temple University evaluates all foreign degrees based on the characteristics of the national educational system, the type of institution attended, and the level of studies completed. Click here for further information about this and other issues related to applying to Temple from outside the U.S.

Q. I’m an international student. Do I have to take any language tests?

A. Yes, you need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have the score submitted by the application deadline. We also strongly recommend that you take and submit a score for the Test of Spoken English (TSE). Click here for further information about this and other issues related to applying to Temple from outside the U.S.

Q. My Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are old – do I have to retake the test?

A. If your GRE scores are from within the 5 years prior to the application deadline, you do not need to retake the exams. If they are from more than 5 years prior to the deadline, you need to submit new scores.

Q. I’m an international applicant and my Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are old – do I have to retake the test?

A. Temple University requires an official TOEFL score, so we need that before we could offer you admission to the M&C program. But you can send a photocopy of earlier test scores and we can evaluate your application using those scores until you can retake the test and have new official scores reported.

Q. How are admissions decisions made?

A. Evaluations of applications are based on a variety of factors, including the match of the applicant’s interests (described in the statement of purpose) with those of the program faculty, the letters of reference, the grade point average for courses taken in previous graduate work, and the GRE and TOEFL scores.

Q. How high do my GRE scores have to be for me to be admitted?

A. There are no fixed standards for acceptable scores, and the GRE scores are just one of many factors in the admissions decision, but most successful applicants have verbal GRE scores at or above the 65th percentile.

Q. Can I apply for financial aid before I am officially accepted?

A. Yes. You can apply for a graduate assistantship when you submit your admission application (details are here) and you can fill out the Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) online here.

Q. When will I know if I’ve been accepted or not?

A. Students are typically notified of their acceptance in mid-March and not later than April 1.

Q. When will I know if I’ve been awarded a graduate assistantship?

A. Assistantships are announced shortly after acceptance into the program.

Q. Does Temple University have housing for graduate students?

A. Yes, Temple has a variety of on and near campus housing options for graduate students. Visit the web site for the Office of University Housing for more information, including rental rates.

Q. Does Temple University have housing for graduate students with families (including young children)?

A. Yes, Temple has efficiency and one, two, and three bedroom apartments for rent. There are also many non-University, off campus rental options. Visit the web site for the Office of University Housing for more information.

Q. What is transportation like?

A. Temple University’s main campus is easily accessible via the subway at the Cecil B. Moore stop on the Broad Street line for those who live in or near central or west Philadelphia. There are also regional rail trains that carry commuters in from the suburbs. You can view transportation information and train routes at the web site of SEPTA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

There is also an inter-campus bus that offers free transportation between the Temple Campuses. This is a convenient and reliable way for students living near other campuses to get to the main campus. More information, including schedules, is available from the web site of the Office of Facilities Management.

Q. Where can I find out about the Temple campus?

A. Click here to see online information and maps for Temple’s main campus and the surrounding areas.

Q. Where can I learn more about on-campus parking options?

A. At the Office of Parking Services.

Q. Is the Temple campus safe?

A. Yes. The Temple Campus is secured by over 90 police officers, headquartered on campus. Click here to learn more about Temple’s Campus Safety Services.

Q. What is Philadelphia like?

A. Philadelphia is the 4th largest city in the United States and, as such, has a variety of museums, restaurants, nightclubs and cultural events for residents to enjoy throughout the year. You can check out the latest offerings of things-to-do in Philadelphia by visiting www.gophila.com, and view a list of local restaurants and menus here.

Q. Are there graduate student organizations I can join?

A. Yes. Information about student organizations is available from Temple’s Student Activities Office. Students holding graduate assistantships may also join TUGSA, the Temple University Graduate Students’ Association.

Q. How can I get health and dental insurance while I am a student?

A. The Student Health Fee provides all currently enrolled Temple students with basic primary health care at Student Health Services at no or low cost; click here for details. Students with graduate assistantships recently received increased insurance options due to TUGSA’s contract negotiations. To learn more about health benefits under the TUGSA contract, click here.