CMST Graduate Application Requirements

To apply to the graduate program in Communication Studies, applicants must apply to the LSU Graduate School using their online application site: gradapply.lsu.edu/.

Required Materials

The following items are required for a complete application:

  1. An online application form
  2. An application fee (and any applicable late fee)
  3. GRE scores. The institution code for the LSU Graduate School is 6373.
  4. TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants
  5. One official transcript from every college or university you have attended
  6. Three letters of recommendation written by active professors
  7. A sample of scholarly writing – e.g., a thesis chapter or term paper

Submission of Required Materials

The applicant must complete and submit the form, fee, and sample of scholarly writing (items #1, #2 and #7 above) via the online site.

Official GRE and as applicable TOEFL or IELTS scores (items #3 & #4 above) must be submitted electronically by the testing organization to the LSU Graduate School.

Official transcripts (item #5 above) may be submitted electronically to the online site or institutions can send them by ground mail to:

Graduate Admissions
Louisiana State University
114 West David Boyd Hall
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Institutions should not send official transcripts to the Department of Communication Studies.


Professors may send letters of recommendation (item #6 above) electronically to the online site or they may send them by ground or email to the CMST Director of Graduate Studies as indicated below. All letters must be on letterhead and signed.

Tracy Stephenson Shaffer, Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Communication Studies
136 Coates Hall
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Email: tsteph3@lsu.edu


Optional Submission

Applicants may send a cover letter to the CMST Director of Graduate Studies, thereby alerting her that you have applied to the program and submitted the required materials. This optional submission may be sent to the ground or email address noted above.


Processing the Required Materials

According to the LSU Graduate School, documents received in paper format will be loaded into the electronic system within 48 hours of receipt. During peak processing times – e.g., just before deadlines – loading the documents may take a bit longer due to volume.

In our department, the chair, an administrative specialist, and three members of the graduate faculty – i.e., an admissions committee – will have access to applicants’ documents via the secure web center.

Application Deadlines

  • To be considered for both admission and an assistantship for the fall semester, you must submit all the required materials by DECEMBER 31.
  • To be considered for admission only for the fall semester, you must submit all the required materials by APRIL 30.
  • To be considered for admission only for the spring semester, you must submit all the required materials by OCTOBER 31.

We recommend that prospective students aim for a fall rather than spring semester entry, as that is when the majority of new students enter the program and when university and department “Orientations” are held. Further, we award assistantships during the spring semester for the upcoming academic year, which begins in fall.

Evaluation of Application Materials

The department accepts students into the program and awards assistantships based on the strength of the documents listed under “Required Materials” above.

Minimum standards for admission are a cumulative GPA of 3.0+ on a 4.0 scale and a score of 1000+ on the combined verbal and quantitative sections of the "old" GRE scoring system.

RE: New GRE Scoring System
As the Educational Testing Service converts to a new GRE scoring system in 2011-2012, we will receive scores based on both the old and new systems and consider acceptance based on the old standard of 1000+ as reported or converted.

For international applicants, a TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based, 213 on the computer-based, or 79 on the internet-based exam is required or a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS.

The writing sample should demonstrate and the letters address the applicant’s ability to do graduate level work and research.

Additional admission factors also are considered, such as vacancies in the program and the compatibility of the applicant’s research interests with those of current faculty. Prospective students who do not meet the requirements may be admitted provisionally on a case by case basis.

All applicants must adhere to the application procedures and deadlines established by the LSU Graduate School and the CMST department.

Applicants Interested in Mass Communication

Do not apply to our program if you are interested in mass communication as it relates to the professions of journalism and mass media production and marketing. We will “reject” your application and suggest to the Graduate School that they redirect you to the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. We cannot guarantee however that the Graduate School will offer the redirection

Financial Assistance

Each year we award approximately 25 graduate assistantships to continuing and new graduate students. Our assistantships are teaching assistantships largely; we do not award research assistantships. For prospective students, the application documents play a key part in the decisions we make as does the availability of assistantships within the program or within the applicant’s proposed area(s) of research emphasis. Generally, we are unable to offer assistantships to first year international students whose first language is not English, although such students are considered for assistantships in their second and subsequent years at LSU.

The assistantship provides students with a stipend, a tuition waiver (although students are required to pay non-instructional fees), and a competitive health care option. In return, students are required to teach or assist in teaching two courses per the fall and spring semesters. All the assistantships are renewable within certain term limits and given the student’s satisfactory fulfillment of his or her academic and teaching responsibilities. The noted term limits are: The noted term limits are 4 years total for doctoral students and 2 years for master students.

On a yearly basis, we nominate prospective doctoral students who have outstanding academic records for the LSU Graduate School and Board of Regents Graduate Fellowships, which carry enriched stipends. The Graduate School also offers a Tuition award for students from underrepresented groups.

For additional information regarding: