Moving Image Studies

School of Film, Media, and Theatre – College of the Arts – Georgia State University

M. A. Frequently Asked Questions

Question: When can I apply for admission?
Answer: For the M. A. program, apply by the following deadlines:

  • March 15 (for Fall admission)
  • October 15 (for Spring admission). NOTE: THIS DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 1, 2015. Also note that we do not admit students to the film, video, and digital imaging production track for spring semesters, only for fall semesters.

Early application is strongly encouraged, especially for those wishing to apply for the limited number of assistantships we offer at the M.A. level.

Question:  Do you accept only communication majors into your program?
Answer: No.

Question: Will I need to take the GRE?
Answer: Yes. For more information, including how to register, the GRE website can be accessed here. A prior graduate degree does not exempt an applicant from the GRE score requirement. However, students who have taken the GRE previously may use their prior scores if these are fairly current (within a few years).

Question: How can I submit my transcripts? Can I send directly to the department?
Answer: Transcripts and letters of recommendation (if sending in hard copy) should be sent directly to the College of Arts and Sciences Office of Graduate Services. Do not send these to the Communication Department. The CAS Office of Graduate Services address is::

Office/Delivery Address (FedEx, UPS, etc.)
Office of Graduate Services
College of Arts and Sciences
75 Poplar Street, Suite 800
Haas Howell Bldg.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Mailing Address (U.S. Postal Service)
Office of Graduate Services
College of Arts and Sciences
P.O. Box 3993
Atlanta, GA 30302-3993

Question: Can I email my electronic transcripts or transcript PDFs to the graduate directors?

Answer: No. Do not send your transcripts to the graduate directors. Electronic transcripts must be submitted directly by the institution to the Office of Graduate Services at: This email account is for institutional use only.  Please direct any questions to the appropriate Academic Advisor.

Question: Can I submit my recommendation letters via email? Can my recommender submit my recommendation letter via email?
Answer: No. Neither the department nor the graduate directors can upload hard copy or PDF recommendations into the application system. Add your recommenders’s names and contact information (e-mail address) to your online application. This prompts the system to send your recommenders an e-mail containing a link, which the recommender must use to upload/submit a recommendation letter for you. If your recommender must send a letter in hard copy, use the address above to send to the Office of Graduate Studies. Only recommendation letters uploaded to the online application (via link sent to recommender) or mailed directly to the Office of Graduate Studies will be accepted and attached to your file for review. Again, the department cannot accept recommendation letters in any way, shape, or form.

Question: What are the admission requirements?
Answer: In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Communication has the following requirements:

  • Acceptable GRE* scores on the verbal and quantitative sections. Currently the median combined verbal plus quantitative score for our students is around 1200. The minimum score for consideration for admission (combined verbal and quantitative) is 1000, with a verbal score of 500 or higher. On the new GRE scale, a typical minimum verbal score would be 153, and a quantitative score of at least 144, with a combined total score of at least 300.) Our applicants typically average higher than these minimums, averaging a combined GRE of 303 or better.
  • An undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.  (In cases where the cumulative GPA falls slightly below 3.0, but the GPA in the major or in the last two years is above 3.0, the applicant should indicate this in the personal statement.) Because Communication is an interdisciplinary major, we accept students with undergraduate degrees in all areas. We do not require applicants to have an undergraduate major in Communication.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential for creative or scholarly work. Please list your recommenders in the online application (so they receive a prompt for letters via e-mail). If recommenders send letters via regular mail, please have them sent to the Graduate Admissions Office.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities the applicant has attended.
  • Personal statement of goals for pursuing the degree. The personal statement is generally 1 to 2 pages (single spaced), in essay form, which gives the admissions committee a sense of who you are, your intellectual or artistic formation and interests, and your reasons for wanting to study in our department.
  • For international students, the college’s minimum overall score on the internet-based TOEFL is 80. The minimum score on the paper-based TOEFL is 550. The TOEFL is not required of students who have a Masters degree from an institution in the United States.
  • An assistantship application, if you want to be considered for funding (click here).

Question: Where can I apply? Do you take paper applications?
Answer: You can access the online application system here. We do not accept paper applications.

Question: My GPA is low, and/or my GRE scores are lower than your recommended minimums. May I still apply?

Answer: Yes. In the case of an application with GRE scores or GPA lower than our recommended minimum scores but still in the ballpark of those numbers, it may be that a very strong, specific statement of purpose and/or compelling recommendation letters could sway the committee to consider such an application for admission. If all other aspects of your application are strong, do consider applying.

Question: How should I explain my low GPA / low GRE scores?

Answer:The statement of purpose is the part of the application where you get to your spin on all the other official documents. If there’s an obvious liability in some part of your application, here is where you address it. (For example, someone with a low GPA might explain if it’s the case that there was some crisis during one year thatthrew the entire GPA off, but that in the three other years, the GPA remained stable and good. Or if freshman yearwas spent looking for the right major, and then the student got serious after becoming a major, the applicant might can talk about that here, pointing out how the GPA improved after the freshman year).The statement of purpose is also your chance to fill in the blanks left in those official documents. You might use it to discuss experiences you’ve had that prepared you well for graduate school and make you a good fit for our program, but whichmight not be reflected in your transcript. Basically, we’re looking to hear what led to this point where you’re applying to the program, and what you want out of the program. To the extent possible, tell us in as much detail as you can the kind of work you want to do (and, certainly, what track you’re interested in: production, screenwriting, or studies). Some people come in with a very specific idea of what they want to do (“I want to make a vampire-themed television pilot tailored to a Filipino-American demographic”), while others have a more general sense of what area they want to do (“I’m interested in documentary”).  Either is fine.  To the extent possible, we look at “fit” to see if we canprovide the kinds of things you’re looking for, and so the more we know about what you want to do, the better the decision we can make.

Question: How much is it to attend graduate school at Georgia State?
Answer: The cost changes per year. Consult this site for more information about the current costs per credit hour.

Question: Do you offer financial aid to graduate students?
Answer: Financial aid–in the form of lab assistantships, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships–is available on a competitive basis for students in all tracks of the MA. Students awarded an assistantship generally have either a lab assistantship (for which they serve in one of the department’s lab/service roles such as advising or equipment checkout), or a teaching assistantship (for which they teach break-out sections of a large lecture course). In addition, most assistantships involve a research component, for which a student would be assigned to a faculty member in need of research assistance or to a department-wide project.

Early application is strongly encouraged, especially for those wishing to apply for the limited number of assistantships we offer at the M.A. level.


Question: Do you have to have had film/video experience or a film or communication degree to get into the film, video, and digital imaging production track?
Answer: No.  In fact, some successful students have come from other disciplines (biology, architecture). We do want to see that you’ve done something creative before, and the medium doesn’t particularly matter. We’ve had peopleprovide their photography, short stories, screenplays, URLs of their graphic design work, computer games they’ve designed, photographs of their sculptures or drawings, video of their acting performances or plays they directed, as well as film/videos they’ve made.  Basically we’re looking for evidence of your creativity. As the program gets more and more competitive, the portfolio serves as a way to distinguish your application from the rest of the digital production folks.

Question: I am interested in Production. Do I need to send you a portfolio?

Answer: For people who want to focus on Digital Production, an optional (but very valuable) portion of the application is a portfolio of creative work.

Question: What format should the portfolio take, if I choose to provide one?
Answer: The Department of Communication doesn’t use the portion of the official online application designated for creative portfolios. Instead, we expect that you’ll have your work available in some online format, and we invite you to include in your CV or statement of purpose the URL where we can view the work. Give us no more than 5 to 7 minutes of moving images to watch (this can be one continuous clip from your work or a sampling of clips from various works) and/or no more than 20 still images. If the online portfolio doesn’t include this information in some way, please tell us what the work is (documentary, fiction, etc.), the work’s title, and what function you served on the work. Please verify that all the URLs you share are working before submitting your application.

Question: Should I get a Ph.D. in communication to study health communication or should I go for the degree in Public Health?
Answer: (This answer is provided by Dr. Holley Wilkin, an associate professor in our department.) It is really about what research questions interest you the most. You will want to come to a communication program if you are more interested in interventions that involve media, entertainment, new technology, etc. You are generally not going to get that in a public health program. A lot of my work is interpreted as “fitting in public health” so if you are interested in community-based work, then it may fall in either department. As part of our program, we encourage you to take classes in other departments, so you can take public health courses and at GSU earn a certificate in public health. Also, if you already have an MPH and are interested in work that falls on the intersection between the fields, then a communication program may be better for you for a more balanced education–unless your passion falls in the types of classes you took as an MPH student because that is a pretty good sign that is the better area for your PhD.

Question: May I tour the campus? 
Answer: Absolutely. Sign up for campus tours here.

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