How to Apply

Applying to a PhD program can be a confusing process. Two things will probably help ease your journey. Using our application checklist can make sure that you have all of the materials that the Graduate Committee will need to make a decision on your application. Also, our graduate director can help you in this process if you have any questions.

The quality of our program is driven by the quality of students who enter our program. The graduate committee holistically reviews each application and evaluates those applications based on how well the applicant will fit with our school, as well as how well we think the resources of the school will enable the applicant to reach her/his professional goals.

Our program receives between 70 and 100 applicants each year for approximately 8 to 12 funded positions. We do offer admission without funding to qualified individuals who are able to secure funding through some other source; however, we try to maintain a cohort size of 12 students or fewer. We expect that all full-time students will begin the program in the Fall semester.

Where to Begin

To begin the application process, please complete the “Intent to Apply” form. Next you should complete the online application process for the Graduate College. Using the application checklist, also on the right, you should begin preparing materials for submission to the School and the Graduate College. Because of the volume of application materials that we receive, electronic submission of documents must be made through the online application on the Graduate College’s webpage.


The deadline to apply for the COMS Doctoral Program is January 1, 2020.

The graduate committee begins reviewing applications in mid January. All materials must arrive at Ohio University by January 1, 2020 so that members of the committee have adequate time to carefully review materials. Because it does take some time to internally process paperwork, you should send your materials well in advance. Although most of the application process is performed on-line, if you need to mail items, it is important that we receive all materials by January 1 for the fullest consideration.

  • The suggested mailing date for international applicants is December 10 (the exact date could vary depending on your mailing system and other factors).
  • The suggested mailing date for domestic applicants is January 1.

Although not required, sending your materials through some trackable method like Express Mail, FedEx, or UPS allows potentially lost materials to be located more easily.

While we will continue to review applications until all funded spots are filled, we cannot guarantee that incomplete applications will receive full consideration by the committee.

International and Underrepresented Applicants

The School of Communication Studies has a long tradition of admitting and mentoring students who are from other countries and/or are part of underrepresented groups; in fact, we hold this commitment to be a part of our core values. International applicants have been in every cohort admitted for well over a decade, and during the last three cohorts we have actively recruited and admitted McNair Scholars as well as other students from underrepresented groups. Domestic students from underrepresented groups are encouraged to contact the Graduate Director to inquire about special fellowships that are available through the university.

Decision-Making Timeline

We begin making offers in early to mid-February and continue through the end of March or even mid-April. The order in which we make offers differs from year to year depending on the number of assistantships we have available, specialized needs of the school, uncertainty surrounding the number of students leaving prior to the next academic year, as well as other potential factors. We work as expeditiously as possible while trying to ensure that all applicants are given due consideration.

Start Date

All graduate teaching assistants are required to attend a two-week orientation during the weeks prior to the opening of the Fall semester. Information about the workshop will be included in the letter of appointment and in special mailings during the Summer. All graduate students, regardless of rank or status, are expected to attend. Participation in the workshop is especially important for graduate students who hope to receive an appointment as a teaching assistant at a later date or whose future plans include college teaching. An assistantship carries a waiver of instructional fees as well as a stipend, so assistantship recipients are required to register for 15 graduate hours in any semester when they are receiving an assistantship.

Direct to Doctorate Applicants

Students holding a BA degree from an accredited institution and who show extraordinary potential as a graduate student can apply for direct admission to our doctoral program following normal admission procedures. Those admitted will receive the MA degree as they complete the doctoral program and follow the same timeline as other students.

Follow COMS

Follow COMS PhD Program

Honors & Awards

Carson S. Kay
2019 Outstanding Doctoral Student. School of Communication Studies, Ohio University.

Elizabeth M. Jenkins
2019 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate. School of Communication Studies, Ohio University.

Courtney Hook
2019 Outstanding Researcher. School of Communication Studies, Ohio University.


Alumni Spotlight

Student Spotlight

To Top