Program Application

Apply online at the NIU Graduate School Admissions website.

In addition to the application, the following materials need to be submitted to the Graduate School.

  • At least two letters of recommendation (letters from professors are preferred).
  • Transcripts.
  • Statement of Purpose
    • As noted on the Graduate School Admissions website, your statement of purpose should be between 250 and 750 words. It should reflect your ability to collect and organize your thoughts and ideas into a coherent argument for why you should be admitted into our program. Therefore, the statement should address your preparation for graduate study and interest in at least one subject area offered by the department, as well as your plans for graduate school and beyond. Additionally, your statement should make note of faculty members whose research and/or artistry interests align with yours and inform us as to why you believe our program can help you meet your academic and/or professional goals.
  • GRE Scores: Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher should contact the graduate director to request a GRE waiver.
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for some international students. Please consult the Graduate School website regarding information for international applicants.

View application deadlines. At the time you are admitted to the department, a temporary advisor is assigned. The Graduate Director Bill Cassidy, Ph.D. ( will also answer your questions.

Your temporary advisor does not necessarily become your permanent advisor. You decide during your course of study who you would like to ask to become your committee chair and the two of you will discuss your plan of study.


Assistantships are available on a competitive basisto students admitted to the program. Students may apply for an assistantship in conjunction with their admission application and are encouraged to do so. The department typically has at least 15 assistantships available to students. Currently, all assistantships begin in the fall semester.

The assistantship application is available on the Graduate School website and can be emailed to Graduate Director Bill Cassidy at The completed application can also be submitted in person to:

Watson 207, COMS Graduate Office Support Specialist

or mailed to:

Department of Communication
210 Watson
Graduate Office Support Specialist
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115


Graduate Advising

Bill Cassidy, Ph.D.
Graduate Director
Reavis Hall 108