Frequently Asked Questions About the APR MA Program
1. How can I learn more about the Advertising and Public Relations MA program?
For more information on programs, courses and admission, you may visit the APR departmental Web site at http://www.apr.ua.edu or the Graduate School Web site at http://www.graduate.ua.edu, where you can apply online and request a graduate catalog.
2. How do I apply to the APR MA program?
- The Graduate School’s Applicant Data Sheet and Statement of Purpose should be submitted online at http://www.graduate.ua.edu.
- Forward two official grade transcripts to the Graduate School, The University of Alabama, 102 Rose Administration Building, Box 870118, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0118 directly from the registrar of all colleges previously attended, including the University of Alabama.
- Submit official score reports of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to the Graduate School directly from the testing service. The department also accepts the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) with prior approval.
- Submit three original letters of recommendation directly from your references, preferably former professors, to the APR graduate coordinator, Dr. Karla Gower, Dept. of Advertising and PR, Box 870172 University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0172. (Recommendation forms available online at http://www.graduate.ua.edu.)
- A $50 nonrefundable application fee should be paid online with a credit card or with a check or money order made payable to The University of Alabama.
3. When is the deadline for admission?
The APR MA program accepts applications year round. The deadline for completed applications for the fall semester is March 1. However, students are strongly encouraged to complete the application process by February 15. Often the program is full by March, so applications should be submitted as early as possible to allow time for review. All application materials must be received before an application is considered.
4. Can I apply for admission in the spring semester?
No. Students are admitted only for the fall semester, given course sequences.
5. How many students usually apply to the program and how many are accepted?
The application process is very competitive and only 20-25 students (or about 40 % of applicants) are admitted each year.
6. What are the eligibility requirements for selection to the program?
Regular admission requires a 3.0 undergraduate GPA (on a 4.0 scale), a combined score of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE (scoring at least 400 in each category) and a score of 4.0 on the writing portion (scored on a 1-6 point scale). The department accepts GMAT scores of 500 with prior approval. International students must score 600 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
7. If my GPA or my GRE score is lower than the basic admission requirements can I be admitted conditionally?
Applicants may be considered for conditional admittance if the GPA is slightly below 3.0 or GRE score is between 900-1000. If both the GPA and GRE scores are below requirements, the University will not approve admission. Generally, conditional admission decisions are made only after all regular admissions have been made. Because the APR MA program is very competitive, few students receive conditional admission.
8. When will I know whether or not I’m accepted?
While application decisions are made year round, most decisions are made between February 1 and April 1. If all requirements for regular admission are met, notification of admission status should be received by April 1. Decisions on conditional admittance are usually made by June 1. Since the program is competitive, meeting all requirements for regular admission does not guarantee an admission offer.
9. What type of financial support is available to APR MA students?
- The APR department generally has 2-3 teaching assistant (TA) positions available for Plan I (two-year) students. The student teaches undergraduate labs and is compensated with fully paid tuition and an annual stipend of currently about $8,800. TA positions require relevant subject knowledge and about 20 hours of work per week.
- Additionally, the APR department usually has 2-3 research assistant (RA) positions available for Plan II (one-year) students. Students in these positions help proctor exams, grade tests, monitor writing labs and so forth, and are compensated with half of tuition paid and a stipend of currently about $4,400. RA positions require about 10 hours of work per week.
- The University provides a limited number of highly competitive scholarships and fellowships each year. Recipients of such awards generally have high GPA’s (+3.5) and high GRE scores (+1250). To be considered for these awards, you must be admitted into the program no later than January 15.
- Students are encouraged to examine funding opportunities from civic organizations, churches, local community and many other sources.
- To receive information on student loans, contact the Graduate School at (http://www.graduate.ua.edu) or the Office of Student Financial Aid at (http://www.financialaid.ua.edu.)
10. How do I apply for the assistantship positions offered by the APR department?
Students need not apply for these positions. The APR department considers all students admitted to the program for these positions and awards them based on GPA, GRE/GMAT score, Statement of Intent, letters of recommendation and previous relevant experience (especially for the TA positions). Those selected for assistantships will be contacted by the graduate coordinator in March or April.
11. What is the difference between Plan I and Plan II; which plan is better for me?
- Plan I, the Two-Year Research Program, is intended for students who seek a strong research emphasis in their study or who may decide to teach or pursue doctorates in advertising or public relations. Plan I is normally a two-year program and requires completion of a thesis and a cognate/minor area of study.
- Plan II, the One-Year Professional Program, is an intensive and professionally-oriented program that is targeted to students who want to develop applied research, management, strategic thinking and writing and speaking skills to use in the communications profession. Plan II is a structured program designed for completion in one year, from August to August.
12. My background is not in advertising or public relations, so what pre-requisites should I take?
One- and two-year degree applicants are accepted from all majors. Students in the two-year program must complete six to 12 hours of course deficiencies in advertising, public relations or both, that do not count toward the 30 hours required for the degree. Students admitted to the one-year program will receive a list of readings to complete before beginning the program. The program starts with orientation sessions that evaluate each student’s grasp of the readings and ability to proceed in the program without further background study.
13. Can I take any electives or classes outside the program?
The two-year program allows students to earn a minor outside the College of Communication. The intensive one-year program does not allow additional electives, except in the case of media planning and prior course work in the subject.
14. How does UA’s program compare with other MA programs in ADV and PR?
Our one-year MA program ranks among the top 10 nationally and is very competitive with other programs. Comparable programs are offered at other universities.
15. Can I work full time and still complete the program?
Many students work part-time or less than 20 hours per week. Working full time is strongly discouraged since courses are offered in mornings, afternoons and evenings, often creating scheduling problems. Additionally, the intense and structured course load of Plan II combined with a full-time work schedule is too overwhelming. Successfully completing the program is literally a full-time job.
16. Do you offer classes via distance education?
No, but it is possible in the future.