Join us as we advance public communication through research, study, application, and service.

Enrolled Students FAQs

Question 1: How do Graduate School policies/requirements differ from those of the Grady College?

Think of the Graduate School as the U.S. Federal government and the Graduate Office of the Grady College as a state. As a state, we are subject to the rules, policies, and regulations of the Graduate School. In effect, the Graduate School tells us what we can and cannot do. For example, the Graduate School approves degree programs and sets the required hours for each degree. Therefore, if you are a MA thesis student, you must complete 27 hours of course work and complete and defend a thesis. If you are a MA non-thesis student, you must complete 33 hours of course work and pass a comprehensive exam. MA students must complete at least 5 8000-level or above graduate courses, and only 6000-level or above count as graduate work on your program of study.

As a state, we set degree prerequisites, concentration requirements, course-specific hour limitations, and such. The Graduate School does not sign off on the waiver of prerequisites, the substitution of an elective course for a required course in a particular concentration, or taking 6 hours of JRMC 8050 instead of 3 hours. The authority to make Grady program-specific modifications/changes resides with the advisor/major professor.

Any advisor-approved modifications/changes in your program of study must be submitted in letter form to the Grady Graduate Office. The letter will then be co-signed by the Associate Dean and placed in you official file. If there is a problem with the approval, the advisor will be contacted to correct the problem.

Question 2: Where can I find information about Graduate School rules, policies, and regulation? About those of the Grady College?

You can find information about Graduate School rules, policies, and regulations in two places:
(1) the UGA Graduate Bulletin (see sections on General University Information and General Degrees)

Similar information about the Grady College can be obtained online:
(1) Master's Degree Program
(2) Ph.D. Degree Program

Question 3: What is the difference between an advisor and major professor?

An advisor is the person who helps you select courses and plan your program of study. A major professor is the person who directs your thesis/dissertation research, or your MA non-thesis requirements. Your advisor and major professor may be the same person. Often a student migrates from an assigned advisor to a major professor during the course of his/her program of study. Your major professor then becomes your advisor.

Your advisor or major professor should be prepared handle all your routine questions about curricula, Graduate School and Grady policies, and such. Your advisor has the authority to exercise judgments about program-of-study modifications, course exemptions/substitutions, and such, as long as such decisions are within the guidelines and policies of the Graduate School.

Question 4: How do I select an advisor?

Your first advisor is assigned by the department head of your MA concentration during orientation. However, you may change advisors during the course of your program of study. The call is yours -- you simply ask another faculty member to serve as your advisor, and if the person agrees, you complete and file an Advisor Assignment/Advisor-Major Professor Change Form (an original form is completed and filed during orientation).

If you are a mass media studies student or in the doctoral program, you are advised by the Associate Dean until you select a major professor.

Question 5: How do I select a major professor?

Research faculty interests and specialties. When you identify a faculty member who matches your scholarly interests, ask that person to serve as your major professor. Once selected, the major professor assumes advising duties and is responsible for directing your program of study, administering any required examinations, and directing thesis/dissertation research or MA requirements.

Don't forget to complete and file an Advisor Assignment/Advisor-Major Professor Change Form once you have secured your major professor.

Question 6: What is the advising process like?

During each preregistration cycle, you meet with your advisor (major professor) to discuss course selection. You should attend each meeting prepared -- with a planned program of study and a completed OFFICIAL GRADUATE ADVISEMENT FORM (yellow advising form). Your advisor must sign your ADVISEMENT FORM or you will not be allowed to register for courses.

Question 7: Who keeps my official records?

Your official record (file) is maintained in the Grady Graduate Studies Office. However, you and your advisor should keep duplicate copies of planned programs of study, ADVISEMENT FORMS, and letters of exemption, etc.

Under no circumstances should you handle your official file. If your advisor has your official file and asks you return it to the Graduate Studies Office, politely refuse the request. Only faculty have access to student records, and they alone are responsible for their handling and transmittal.

Question 8: Where do I find out about classes? How do I register for classes?

Athena is the online access to the student information system application. It allows students to register for courses, view or update student records, view financial aid information, and much more. Students registering for fall 2014 classes will use Athena.

Athena may be accessed in the following ways:

MyUGA Portal (

Athena Homepage (

Question 9: Will it hurt me if I register late if I've already been advised and have a place in a class?

If you are on assistantship, yes it will. The Graduate School requires that students on assistantship register by the deadline or risk losing assistantship funding. A lengthy process of meetings and letter writing is required if you miss the registration deadline. Register on time.

If you are not on assistantship, missing the registration deadline may mean not getting a place in a needed class. Register on time.

Question 10: Is it essential that I take JRMC 8000 (Proseminar) and JRMC 8010 (Research Methods) my first semester?

JRMC 8000 and 8010 are foundation courses and should be taken your first semester.

Some students may be able to exempt out of JRMC 8010. Please contact your advisor for further information.

Question 11: What is a full-load for the typical Grady graduate student?

If you want to graduate in three to four semesters, the full-load for a MA student is 12 hours per term (4 course load in the fall and spring terms).

If you are a Ph.D. Student, you must register for 12 hours each term: 9 hours (3 courses) and 3 hours in GRSC 7770 or JRMC 9005 while completing course word and 12 hours of JRMC 9000 and/or 9300 after course work completion.

For students on assistantship, the minimum course load during summer sessions in 9 hours (some combination of summer sessions; the maximum load in MayMester is 6 hours).

The minimum/maximum course load for a graduate student is 3 hours/18 hours.

Question 12: Where do I find information about Graduate School deadlines and the submission of required forms?

Go to There you will find Graduate School deadlines and required forms, which can be completed and printed out. Your MA or Ph.D. Handbook contains a list of required forms and a degree program checklist (see Handbook).

MA students are required to submit 5 forms to the Graduate School: (1) Advisory Committee for MA and MS Candidates, (2) Program of Study for MA and MS Candidates, (3) Approval for Master's Thesis and Final Oral Examination, (4) Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Submission Approval, and (5) Master's Application for Graduation.

MA non-thesis students are required to submit 4 forms: (1) Advisory Committee for MA and MS Candidates, (2) Program of Study for MA and MS Candidates, (3) Comprehensive Examination Results, and (4) Master's Application for Graduation.

It is your responsibility to know deadlines and to submit forms on time to the Graduate Studies Office for transmittal to the Graduate School. All forms must be typed, completed correctly, and signed by the appropriate individuals before submission to the Graduate Studies Office.

Question 13: Are there other Graduate School forms that I should know about?

You should know about two other forms: Request for Change of Degree Objective and Recommended Change in Program of Study. The Change of Degree Objective form must be completed to switch from one master's degree to the other. You cannot switch from a master's program to our Ph.D. degree program. The Change in Program of Study form must be completed if you change courses on your approved Program of Study.

Question 14: What should I report when a Graduate School requires me to specify my degree and major on a form?

If you are a MA student, your degree is a Master of Arts and your major is journalism and mass communication.

If you are a doctoral student, your degree is a Doctor of Philosophy and your major is Mass Communication.

There are no majors in advertising, journalism, health and medical journalism, mass media studies, public relations.
These are concentrations, not majors.

Question 15: Who determines my prerequisite requirements?

Undergraduate prerequisites for degree concentrations are determined by sponsoring department faculty. Your faculty advisor and/or major professor is charged with interpreting and enforcing required undergraduate prerequisites. Your advisor/major professor has the authority to exercise "interpretive flexibility" in holding you to undergraduate prerequisites and is encouraged to exercise "interpretive flexibility."

Question 16: What if I make a C in a prerequisite course?

We would prefer that you earn at least a B. However, a C is passing. If you make a D or F, you must repeat the course.

Question 17: Are there prerequisites for graduate courses?

Some graduate courses have prerequisites. However, unless a prerequisite is listed, no prerequisite will be enforced for entry to a graduate course.

Question 18: Is a statistics course required?

A completed statistics course is required for you to receive a Grady graduate degree. If you took a statistics course as part of your undergraduate degree or before enrolling in one of our programs, you have completed the requirement. If you haven't taken a statistics course, you may complete the requirement in one of two ways: (1) taking any UGA undergraduate statistics course or (2) taking STAT 6210 as one of your cognate courses.

Question 19: Is a statistics course required for enrollment in JRMC 8010?

Statistics is not a required prerequisite for JRMC 8010. However, students who fail to meet the College's statistics requirement must register for statistics and JRMC 8010 concurrently.

Question 20: Can I substitute one course for another in my Program of Study? Who has the authority to authorize a course substitution?

Authority to substitute rests with individual advisors within parameters of degree program guidelines (all MA students must take at least five 8000 level or above graduate course and JRMC 8000 and 8010). A signed copy of the authorization must be filed in student's official folder.

Question 21: What is a cross-listed course? Does a cross-listed course count?

Cross-listed courses are department-specific, and typically enroll both undergraduate and graduate students. Cross-listed courses are numbered 6000 or 7000, and only those courses listed in the UGA Graduate Bulletin are acceptable for program credit. No graduate credit is given for 5000-level or lower.

In some cases, 6000 and 7000 level courses are scheduled for graduate students and are not open to undergraduate students.

Question 22: Can I register for more than three hours of JRMC 8050 (Research and Directed Readings in Mass Communication)?

Like course substitutions, your advisor/major professor has the authority to allow you to take six hours of JRMC 8050. A letter of authorization is required and should be filed with the Graduate Studies Office.

Question 23: How do I register for JRMC 8050?

First, you find a professor who is willing to sponsor your independent study. Then, you file a study plan, co-signed by the major professor, with the Graduate Studies Office. Once the plan is filed, you will be cleared to register for JRMC 8050 credit.

Question 24: What is a cognate area?

A cognate area is a combination of courses from outside the Grady College that academically augment your concentration course work. Cognate courses can be selected from any department and/or college; they need not have the same prefix.

Question 25: Is there a 7000-level Special Topics course offered by the Grady College?

There is no 7000 level Special Topics course in the curricula of the Grady College. Thus, there is no way for a graduate student to register for graduate student credit in an undergraduate Special Topics course.

Question 26: Can I receive internship credit as a graduate student?


You cannot receive graduate credit for the completion of an undergraduate internship course in advertising, public relations, or journalism.

Question 27: Can I enroll in JRMC 7000, 7300, 9000 or 9300?

Only if you are completing requirements for your MA thesis or doctoral dissertation. Enrollment in JRMC 7000 or 9000 should begin after you have completed your graduate courses and are doing research for your thesis or dissertation. You must be registered for thesis (JRMC 7300) or dissertation (JRMC 9300) credit the term in which you defend the thesis or dissertation.

Q: Can I enroll in JRMC 7005 or 9005?

Only if you are on assistantship and need hours to get you to a full 12-credit course load. JRMC 7005 is for MA students; JRMC 9005 is for doctoral students. If you are not on assistantship, you cannot register for 7005 or 9005 credit.

Question 28: Can I transfer from one concentration to another?

You may transfer from one concentration to another. However, all degree requirements of the new concentration must be satisfied. Credit hours may be lost, and you may be required to satisfy additional undergraduate prerequisites.

Question 29: Can I switch from the MA to the MA non-thesis degree program or vice versa?

You may switch from one program to the other by completing a CHANGE OF DEGREE OBJECTIVE form. Just as with changing concentration, you will be required to meet the requirements of the new degree.


Question 30: Can I change my MA or Ph.D. Advisory Committee?

You can change your advisory committee by competing a new Advisory Committee form, listing the additions and deletions. Submit the completed form (with faculty signatures) to the Graduate Studies Office for transmittal to the Graduate School.

Question 31: What is an Advisory Committee?

An Advisory Committee directs your thesis or dissertation research. If you are MA student, your Advisory Committee must include three faculty members: a major professor and two other Grady faculty members or one other Grady faculty member and an outside, non-Grady faculty member.

A doctoral Advisory Committee has five members: a major professor, three Grady faculty members, and a cognate area faculty representative from outside the Grady College. See the Ph.D. Handbook for more information.

Question 32: Can my thesis/dissertation defense be held without all members of my advisory committee present?

All members of your advisory committee must be present for your defense to take place. If a committee member can't make the defense, you have two options: (1) arrange for the absent person to participate via video/telephonic technology or (2) replace the person. If you select the second option, you must complete a new Advisory Committee form prior to the date of your scheduled defense.

Question 33: Is there a deadline of the submission of my thesis or dissertation to my advisory committee?

You advisory committee must be given three weeks to read and evaluate your completed thesis or dissertation before the defense is scheduled.

Question 34: Do I have to apply to graduate? When?

An application for graduation must be filed with the Graduate School no later than Friday of the second full week (the first full week for summer) of classes in the semester of the anticipated graduation date. Application forms may be obtained at

Question 35: What happens when there is a conflict between my assigned assistantship duties and a scheduled class?

The class wins. You should never have to alter your class schedule to accommodate assistantship duties. See your supervising department head to have to duties reassigned or modified.

Our policy is student first, GTA/GTA duties and assignment

Question 36: Are there funds to support graduate student travel?

The College tries to put aside travel funds for our graduate students every year. Unfortunately, amounts vary and they never cover all travel needs. We follow the criteria established by the Graduate School: students must be traveling to present a refereed paper at a national conference and support is usually limited to Ph.D. students.

The full cost of a trip is never covered. To apply for travel funds, contact the Associate Dean as soon as you receive word of the acceptance of a conference paper. A Travel Authority (TA) must be submitted to the Associate Dean two weeks prior to travel. An Expense Report must be completed and turned in to the Associate Dean immediately upon return from the trip.

Alternatively, limited funds are available through Grady College' Student Support Funds. This fund was established through generous gifts by C. Richard Yarbrough (ABJ '59)). The purpose of the Student Support Funds is provide funding to help offset extraordinary costs incur when participating in extracurricular activities, such as attending professional development meetings, associated with progress towards a degree.

Finally, limited funds maybe available through the UGA's Graduate School. However, there are application-criteria and funds are allocated in a specific cycle. See for more information.

Question 37: Are there funds to support my thesis research? My dissertation research?

For Thesis research, there are limited funds available through Grady College' Student Support Fund. This fund was established through generous gifts by C. Richard Yarbrough (ABJ '59). The purpose of the Student Support Fund is provide funding to help offset extraordinary costs incur when participating in extracurricular activities, such as attending professional development meetings, associated with progress towards a degree.

For dissertation research, there are limited funds available through the Broun dissertation fund. This fund was established through generous gifts by the former Senator Paul C. Broun (ABJ '37). Please see the Graduate Studies office for details on how to apply for the Broun dissertation fund.

Question 38: Can I graduate with a cumulative GPA below 3.0?

You must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to graduate. Only grades in graduate courses listed on your program-of-study are computed in your graduate GPA.

Question 39: When do I have to file my Program of Study?

If you are a MA student, you must file the appropriate Program of Study form the term preceding the final term of your course work (i.e., MA = form for MA/MS students). If you are a doctoral student, you must file a Program of Study during your second summer term in the doctoral program.

The Program of Study, including a listing of prerequisite courses and graduate courses taken and planned, is prepared by you in consultation with you advisor/major professor and/or advisory committee. No grade below a "C" may be counted in your Program of Study.