Head of the Department: John Caughlin
Director of Graduate Study: Leanne Knobloch
3001 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright Street
(217) 333-2683

Major: Communication
Degrees Offered: M.A., Ph.D.
Graduate Concentrations: Medieval Studies (available to all degrees), Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (Ph.D. only), Writing Studies (Ph.D. only)

Online Program: Health Communication
Degrees offered: M.S.

Online Program: Communication (not currently offered; apply to M.S. in Health Communication)
Degrees offered: M.A.

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Communication offers a broad curriculum in communication research. In consultation with an advisor, students assemble individualized programs, concentrating in organizational and group communication, interpersonal and family communication, health communication, communication technology, political communication, rhetoric and public discourse, communication in cultural contexts, or mass communication. Interdisciplinary programs are also encouraged.


An application must include official transcripts from every post-secondary institution the applicant has attended; scores on the general aptitude parts of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); at least three letters of recommendation, preferably from academic recommenders; a major paper or essay as a sample of academic writing; and a statement of purpose. Students whose native language is not English must present their official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination as part of their applications. The department follows the Graduate College’s recommendations for English proficiency. Detailed information about admissions and financial aid can be found on the department's Web site. Ordinarily, students are admitted to begin graduate study in the fall semester.

Graduate Teaching Experience

Although teaching is not a general Graduate College requirement, experience in teaching is considered an important part of the graduate experience in this program.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is usually offered in the form of part-time teaching assistantships; some fellowships and research assistantships are available.

Doctor of Philosophy in Communication

To be accepted as a candidate for the Ph.D. degree, a student must either present a well-rounded undergraduate education with an emphasis in communication and a master's in a cognate discipline, or hold a master's degree in communication from an accredited institution.

In addition to meeting general requirements of the Graduate College, the student must satisfactorily complete written and oral preliminary examinations, an oral defense of the thesis prospectus, and an oral defense of the thesis. Students must demonstrate competency in research procedures and tools that may include proficiency in one or more foreign languages, various research methods, or cognate academic work. Students must enroll in CMN 595 in the semester of the preliminary examination and in CMN 599 (thesis hours) in semesters spent working on the dissertation.

Minimum in appropriate research method; these are in addition to the 40 hours of additional coursework. (8 min)8
Courses from outside the department12
Elective hours (not in method or thesis hours)40
Independent Study Hours (8 max applied toward degree) 8
Language Requirement: based on major
CMN 599Thesis Research (0 min applied toward degree)0
Total Hours64

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Minimum Non-Method/Thesis Hours Required Within the Unit: 20
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD? Yes
Qualifying Exam Required: No
Preliminary Exam Required: Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required: Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required: Yes
Minimum GPA: 2.75

Online Program in Health Communication

The Department of Communication also offers an online Master of Science degree (M.S.) in in Health Communication. The required hours are also listed in Master of Science in Health Communication. Apply to the Master of Science program only; applications to the online Master of Arts in Communication are not being accepted. More information about the online program is available at

Health Communication Research Methods I and II; Capstone Individual Study8
Elective hours (24 min)24
Independent Study Hours (4 max applied toward degree)4
Total Hours32

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Minimum Hours Required Within the Unit: 28
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall: 12 (8 in CMN)
Minimum GPA: 2.75