Prospective Graduate Students

Welcome Prospective Students!

This year is a very unusual year for all of us. Our outreach efforts to prospective students are different this year, but we are accepting applications for our Ph.D. program (for students with or without an MA) with the deadline December 1, 2021. Here, we hope to provide you with information about requirements of our top-rated program, how to apply (yes, we still require the GRE), and information about the department and its members.

For information and procedures on how to apply to the Graduate Program, click here on How to Apply, Admissions, Available Funding, and Frequently Asked Questions, or under the Prospective Graduate Students tab on the left navigation bar.

For questions about the application process and general program questions, please contact Tricia Taylor at Tricia is also available for Zoom appointments.

Karen K. Myers, Professor, Graduate Director

Tricia Taylor, Staff Graduate Advisor

Want to know more about our Department’s research areas and resources, and what our faculty and graduate students are researching right now? Find current and up-to-date faculty research projects here: Current Faculty Projects. You can also check out our research tab above and our faculty and graduate student profiles.

To get a flavor for the department and our newest members, check out the fall 2020 newsletter on the Current Graduate Students page!

And, view this 5-minute video:

Graduate Student Connections

The following graduate students have volunteered to connect with you.

Hi! My name is Monica Cornejo. I am a fourth-year graduate student. My research centers on U.S. Latina/o/x undocumented immigrants' communicative practices, stress, coping and resilience. The goal of this research is to create information and intervention resources, which can help better the lives of undocumented immigrants. In my free time I like to play board games and take long walks at the beach. :-)

Hello! My name is Matt Giles, and I'm a PhD candidate. My main areas of interest are organizational and intergroup communication, especially when I'm able to work at the intersection of the two. My current dissertation investigates how police departments strategically represent themselves online to attract new recruits. My advisor is Dr. Karen Myers, who specializes in organizational socialization and teaches mixed methods to our grad students - both of which have been central to my research. I'm also a dad and husband, and I'd be glad to talk about living in the area, moving cross-country, and anything else that you're considering as you're applying to the program!

My name is Musa Malik and I’m passionate about the development of algorithmic tools that facilitate research in computational communication science. I’m interested in leveraging computational techniques and exploring the relationships between content features extracted from global news-narratives and regional indicators that measure socio-political phenomena such as inequality and conflict. My projects benefit greatly from the collaborative spirit at the Department of Communication and I’m currently affiliated as a researcher with the Media Neuroscience Lab. I hold a BS in Neuroscience from New York University. I was born and raised in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Hi, I’m Nitzan Navick, a second-year MA/PhD student born in Israel and raised in California. I hold a BA in psychology from CSU Channel Islands. I am interested in research concerning remote work, ICTs, and virtual collaboration. I’m currently a part of Dr. Jennifer Gibbs' research Collaboratory for Organizing and Social Media (COSM) and am working on projects related to AI use in the legal field and concertive control in online communities.

My name is Lindsay Miller and I graduated from Colorado College with a degree in psychology. I am excited to enter the Department as a first-year MA/PhD student. My research interests center around motivating pro-social behaviors; I am especially interested in creating meaningful interventions that can increase sustainability. I'm originally from Eugene, Oregon, and am happy to be back on the West Coast working with faculty who encourage this applied research.

My name is Allison Mazur and I'm from Silver Spring, Maryland and completed my B.A. and M.A. in Communication at Michigan State University. I am a second year doctoral student at UCSB and my advisor is Dr. Tammy Afifi. I study interpersonal and family communication and my focus area is gender-based violence (GBV), primarily how interpersonal relationships can help prevent GBV from happening or how they can support one another who have experienced it. Feel free to email me with questions or queries at


Why Should You Apply to UCSB's Graduate Program in Communication? 

We have a world-class faculty: In our MA/PhD program, you will find the most distinguished faculty in the field working closely with the best and brightest graduate students. We have award-winning distinguished faculty, including:

  • Five past presidents of the International Communication Association
  • Senior and Associate Editors of prestigious journals including Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs, Journal of Language and Social Psychology
  • Recipients of millions of dollars in external funding from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of State, Marsden Foundation, and Templeton Foundation
  • Recipients of numerous NCA and ICA research and teaching awards
  • Five ICA Fellows and four NCA Distinguished Scholars
  • Three winners of ICA’s Steven H. Chaffee Career Achievement Award—the most of any program
  • Multiple University-wide teaching and mentorship award winners

We emphasize theory development, cutting-edge methodology, and practical application: We provide research, teaching, and service in communication science that is socially relevant, theoretically motivated, methodologically rigorous, and eclectic. Faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students are highly active in conducting theory-driven research with methodological rigor and findings that have the potential to benefit various communities and organizations. Students are encouraged to work across and integrate research areas. 

We are strongly committed to mentorship and individualized advising: Our graduate program has approximately 35 students and 19 professors. This enables us to provide small seminars and individualized academic attention from faculty. Graduate students also are encouraged to work with multiple faculty members within and across areas. Many of our graduate students co-author publications with their advisors and other faculty members, as well as other graduate students who may or may not share the same advisor. Some of our faculty also hold weekly or biweekly research team meetings. Students do not need to be the faculty member's advisee to participate in the research team meetings; they merely have to share overlapping research interests. In addition, all incoming graduate students are also paired with a more senior graduate student who can help them transition to grad school and the community. 

We offer competitive funding opportunities: Our graduate students receive teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or fellowships during their time here, which means no student is admitted to our program without funding. Graduate students' tuition fees, health insurance, and campus-based fees are all covered, and our graduate students receive a monthly stipend over a 9-month period. Although not guaranteed each year, our graduate students have received a financial bonus each summer for the past several years, and they will likely continue to receive such a bonus.

During their first year in the graduate program, students usually hold teaching assistantship positions where they lead several discussion sections of the introductory communication courses for pre-majors. Afterward, they may act as teaching assistants for upper division courses, where they attend faculty lectures, hold office hours, and grade assignments. Our graduate students have a light work load, so that they can focus on their graduate coursework and research. When faculty have grant funding, graduate students may work as paid research assistants.  

Our graduate students have access to interdisciplinary training and collaboration with renowned scholars: UCSB is home to numerous centers that offer training and fellowships to our graduate students. For example, graduate students often receive training at the Center for Information Technology and Society (CITS), taking courses and attending colloquia focusing on human behavior and information technologies. In addition, students can earn an interdisciplinary emphasis from the Cognitive Science Program or the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences Program that can be added to their Ph.D. in Communication. Some of our graduate students also have participated in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Research and Training (IGERT) Program that trains students in network science and big data. After taking a series of statistics courses in the Department of Communication, our graduate students also have the opportunity to make interdisciplinary connections with leading statisticians in Education and Psychology by taking their graduate seminars. Our graduate students learn how to conduct social network analyses, structural equation modeling, latent class analysis, latent transition analysis, and multilevel modeling. 

We value inclusion: Faculty and students conduct research on a wide variety of topics related to inclusion. For examples, Drs. Jennifer Kam, Tammy Afifi, and Walid Afifi are interested in privacy management and coping strategies for immigrant families who experience discrimination, fear of deportation, or separation from a family member because of migration. Drs. Dana Mastro and Dan Linz study racial, gender, and LGBTQ stereotyping in the media. Drs. Giles, Mastro, and Reid are interested in attitudes toward ingroup and outgroup members based on linguistic features such as accents. Lastly, Drs. Michael Stohl, Cynthia Stohl, and Jennifer Gibbs study globalization and the use of technology to tie people together across national boundaries. In addition to studying topics related to diversity, the Graduate Committee applies for diversity fellowships each year to fund graduate students from underserved backgrounds. At the University-level, UCSB was officially designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institute in 2015, and it received 4.5/5 stars on Gender Identity/Expression and LGBTQ Policy Inclusion from Campus Pride Index.

Our graduate students go on to become leaders in the field: During their time in the program, our graduate students regularly present their research at national and international conferences and publish in some of the field’s top journals. Upon graduation, many of our students take positions at top-ranked research institutions, including  Boston College, Cornell University, Howard University, Michigan State University, Rutgers University, The Ohio State University, University of Arizona, University of California at Davis, University of Cincinnati, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Georgia, University of Ilinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee, University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, and University of Wisconsin.  In short, the skills learned in our graduate program enable students to become complete scholars of communication and leaders in the field.  Many of our graduates choose to work in industry and nonprofits, including: Blizzard Entertainment, Hewlett Packard, IBM, LinkedIn Learning, Parrot Analytics, and more. For profiles of our Graduate Alumni, click here.