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Graduate Scholarships and Resources for Communications Students

Paying for grad school is already a significant investment. With tuition rates rising each year, students are graduating with more student loan debt than ever before. Scholarships and fellowships can help ease the financial strain of getting an advanced degree. This guide outlines a number of scholarship opportunities to help communications students graduate with less debt.

Author: Shannon Daigle

Editor: Staff Editor

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Whether you’re transitioning from another industry or hoping to advance your career in a communications-related field, a graduate degree in communications can pave the way to success. The substantial cost of grad school is the biggest concern for most students, and scholarships and fellowships can lower the amount you’ll need to borrow or pay out of pocket. This guide details specific scholarship opportunities and resources available for communications graduate students and provides tips for helping your application stand out.

Available Graduate Scholarships for Communications Students

Scholarships can take some of the financial pressure off students by lowering what they’ll have to borrow or pay out of pocket for their tuition. When you’re free of the looming worry of incurring large amounts of student debt, moving forward in your education becomes a more approachable goal. There are numerous scholarships for communications graduate students, including opportunities available to anyone in the field as well as focused support for students in particular disciplines and specific populations. The list below includes 20 scholarships directed toward communications graduate students along with their basic details and eligibility requirements.

General Communications Graduate Scholarships

ABA Foundation Academic Merit Scholarships

  • Organization: American Bus Association
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: Annually in April
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate or graduate students

Description: Two scholarships are awarded annually to students with a minimum 3.4 GPA in courses of study relevant to the transportation, travel, and tourism industries.

ACES Education Fund Scholarships

  • Organization: ACES The Society for Editing
  • Amount: $1,500 to $3,500
  • Deadline: November 15, 2022
  • Eligibility: College juniors and seniors and graduate students

Description: Reserved for students pursuing editing careers, these six scholarships are awarded to students demonstrating excellent critical thinking skills related to written materials in any field.

BEA Scholarships in Broadcasting & Electronic Media

  • Organization: Broadcast Education Association
  • Amount: $1,000 to $4,000
  • Deadline: October 14, 2022
  • Eligibility: College juniors and seniors and graduate students of BEA member institutions

Description: In honor of broadcasters and electronic media professionals, BEA offers several scholarships to students studying electronic media, radio/audio media, or broadcast history.

NAFB Foundation Scholarships

  • Organization: National Association of Farm Broadcasting Foundation
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: June 2023
  • Eligibility: College juniors and seniors and graduate students

Description: Three scholarships exist for students enrolled in agricultural communications and concentrating in broadcast media.

William B. Ruggles Journalism Scholarship

  • Organization: National Institute for Labor Relations Research
  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: January 31, 2022
  • Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students

Description: In honor of William B. Ruggle, this scholarship is presented to a student displaying academic achievement and a strong interest in the National Institute of Labor Relations Research Institute’s work.

OWAA Bodie McDowell Scholarship

  • Organization: Outdoor Writers Association of America
  • Amount: $1,000 to $5,0000
  • Deadline: March 30, 2023
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students with “clear, significant goals” in outdoor communications

Description: Three or more students of print, photography, film, art, poetry, or broadcasting with aspirations in outdoor communications receive these scholarships each year.

Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholarship/Fellowship Awards

  • Organization: Overseas Press Club Foundation
  • Amount: $3,000 to $4,000
  • Deadline: December 1, 2022
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students

Description: The OPC awards 17 scholarships and fellowships to American students studying at home or abroad and aspiring to become foreign correspondents.

The Peter Agris Memorial Journalism Scholarships

  • Organization: Alpha Omega Council
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: March 31, 2023
  • Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA, financial need, and active participation in school, community, and church organizations

Description: Several scholarships are awarded to Greek-American journalism and communications students in honor of Peter Agris, founder and publisher of the Hellenic Chronicle.

PRSA Foundation Neumeier Family Leadership Award

  • Organization: Public Relations Society of America Foundation
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 2023
  • Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate PRSSA members in good academic standing

Description: The PRSA awards this scholarship to a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America with a history of leadership in campus and community organizations.

The Rose Bowl Game Keith Jackson Postgraduate Scholarship

  • Organization: The Rose Bowl Game
  • Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: September 23, 2022
  • Eligibility: Undergraduates in their final year of study with a minimum 3.0 GPA

Description: Scholarships are presented to one student from the Big Ten Conference and one from the Pac-12 Conference pursuing sports careers in journalism, media relations, event/team operations, or marketing.

STC Student Scholarships

  • Organization: Society for Technical Communication
  • Amount: $500 to $1,000
  • Deadline: December 31, 2022
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate, graduate, and graduate certificate students

Description: STC scholarships support students with at least one full year remaining in their technical communication studies.

National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Regional Scholarships

  • Organization: National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
  • Amount: $1,500 to $3,000
  • Deadline: Varies by region
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students

Description: Regional NATAS scholarships are awarded to students of journalism, communications, broadcasting, or electronic media. Award amounts and availability vary by region.

Communications Graduate Scholarships for Women

Alliance for Women in Media Scholarships

  • Organization: Alliance for Women in Media
  • Amount: $2,500 to $5,000
  • Deadline: May 2023
  • Eligibility: Female undergraduate and graduate students with some awards reserved for Black female students

Description: These awards support aspiring women in media pursuing higher education in anticipation of a media career.

The NYWICI Scholarships

  • Organization: New York Women in Communications
  • Amount: $2,500 to $10,000
  • Deadline: January 2023
  • Eligibility: Full-time undergraduates or graduates with GPAs of 3.2 or higher; graduate students must be NYWICI members

Description: NYWICI scholarships are available to women who are permanent residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or Pennsylvania studying communications.

Communications Graduate Scholarships for Minorities

Dr. Jack G. Sheheen Mass Communications Scholarships

  • Organization: Advocate Defend Connect
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: April 2023
  • Eligibility: College juniors and seniors and graduate students

Description: ADC awards this scholarship to Arab-American students who excel in media studies, journalism, television, radio, and/or film.

AAJA Scholarships

  • Organization: Asian American Journalists Association
  • Amount: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Deadline: April 2023
  • Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate journalism students; other criteria vary by scholarship

Description: AAJA offers scholarships and grants for journalism students who excel in academics and journalistic achievement.

NLGJA Student Scholarship Awards

  • Organization: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists
  • Amount: $3,000 to $10,000
  • Deadline: Spring 2023
  • Eligibility: Undergraduates or graduate students; other criteria vary by scholarship

Description: AAJA offers scholarships and grants for journalism students who excel in academics and journalistic achievement.

HPRA MBA Scholarship Program

  • Organization: Hispanic Public Relations Association
  • Amount: $25,000
  • Deadline: May 2023
  • Eligibility: Latinx graduate students accepted to an MBA program and planning to work in the public relations/communications industry

Description: In support of the rising generation of Latinos in communications, this program recognizes Latinx graduate students studying public relations or communications and maintaining a 3.0 or greater GPA.

NAHJ Scholarships

  • Organization: National Association of Hispanic Journalists
  • Amount: $1,500 to $10,000
  • Deadline: February 2023
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate or graduate students in the U.S. or Puerto Rico with GPAs of 3.0 or higher

Description: NAHJ scholarships are awarded to students pursuing careers in English or Spanish language print, broadcast, digital, or photojournalism.

Fellowships for Communications Grad Students

The Dennis and Shirley Feldman Fellowship

  • Organization: The National Press Club Journalism Institute
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: Spring 2023
  • Eligibility: Graduate journalism students

Description: This fellowship recognizes an outstanding scholar with a one-time stipend to aid with tuition expenses in an accredited U.S. journalism program.

Stoody-West Fellowship

  • Organization: ResourceUMC.org
  • Amount: $6,000
  • Deadline: March 15, 2023
  • Eligibility: United Methodist graduate students

Description: ResourceUMC.org awards this fellowship to a United Methodist graduate student planning a career in religious journalism within electronic, broadcast, or print media.

20 Resources for Grad Students in Communications

School-based career services, professional organizations, and online communities assist graduate students in identifying job opportunities, staying up-to-date with industry trends and news, and networking with other professionals in their field. The following 20 resources will support you well as grad students in communications and help you prepare for advancing in your career.

Student Services Offered by Colleges & Universities

  1. American University School of Communication Alumni Mentor Program pairs graduate students with an AU alumni mentor employed at a major media outlet. They gain advice and support on career goals, portfolio and resume building, and networking.
  2. Berkeley Advanced Media Institute offers digital media training and tutorials to students, educators, and professionals in communication by keeping them informed of the latest media information and technologies.
  3. Academic skill and development workshops are available to grad students at Columbia University School of Professional Studies. Students also have access to a directory of alums, faculty, and students for networking.
  4. Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts & Sciences features a robust Career Outlook database to help current and prospective graduate students evaluate career path potential. Built on comprehensive labor market data, this searchable tool is based on national, state, and regional data.
  5. Northwestern University graduate students can access lifelong career-oriented resume and interview preparation services, salary negotiation support, and professional advancement action plans.
  6. The University of Florida maintains a page that shares recent communications research and relevant industry insights from UF faculty, students, and staff.
  7. Job search assistance, interview practice, and networking support are part of the master’s program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The school also hosts events, workshops, and speakers throughout the academic year for additional learning opportunities.

Communications-related Associations and Organizations

  1. Grounded in a tradition of establishing industry best practices and advancing the latest trends, the American Marketing Association connects marketing professionals with industry news, networking opportunities, and training resources.
  2. The Association for Women in Communications is a national community of women working in all communications disciplines. This organization encourages women’s career growth through education and advancement programs that include mentorships, career center services, and webinars.
  3. The Hispanic Public Relations Association is dedicated to advancing Hispanic public relations and being the voice for Hispanic communications professionals worldwide. Members and students receive career resources and access to educational events.
  4. An advocate for Black professionals in public relations and related fields, the National Black Public Relations Society has chapters in several major media markets and provides internships, career growth support, and networking to its members.
  5. By encouraging free and ethical communication, the National Communication Association supports knowledge and application of communication disciplines to impact humanity’s problems and quality of life positively.
  6. Dedicated to members’ success, the Public Relations Society of America supports all stages of career development with professional advancement programs, educational resources, and networking events.
  7. In an ever-changing media landscape, the Social Media Association provides a place for media-based professionals to learn about the latest in digital developments and innovation.
  8. As the nation’s most broadly-based journalism organization, the Society of Professional Journalists fosters the free flow of information to citizens, high ethical standards of behavior, and support of tomorrow’s journalists.

Online Communities

  1. In an increasingly digital world, sites like Reddit are popular gathering places for professionals to discuss industry trends, share job listings, or network virtually. Communications graduate students can join the conversation in subreddits like r/PRpros and r/PublicRelations.
  2. A modern staple for connecting with other professionals and job opportunities, LinkedIn also hosts groups where members converse with peers on the latest in marketing news. Digital Marketing is an excellent group for online marketing and social media professionals.
  3. Students shouldn’t overlook Facebook’s plethora of communications-based networking and information-sharing groups. The well-established Public Relations Society of America maintains a page with PR news and organization updates, while the niche page Respect the Publicist offers professional camaraderie and training opportunities.
  4. Digital marketing agency Carney produces The Daily Carnage, a daily newsletter on the freshest marketing news, tools, and tactics. Updates can be delivered straight to readers’ inboxes or found directly on the website.
  5. A Slack-based hub for marketing and agency professionals and students, the Spin Sucks Community offers a place to discuss ideas, ask questions, offer up open positions, and chat about the industry.

How to Stand Out on Your Scholarship Application

While scholarships are plentiful, competition for funds is high. A well-prepared application is your chance to show dedication to building a career in communications and developing a track record of academic excellence. Active participation in relevant organizations, glowing recommendations, and well-crafted essays are key ways to impress scholarship decision boards. Knocking it out of the park in the application stage of the scholarship process is the most important step in strengthening your chances of being chosen to receive funds. Below, you’ll find our best tips for submitting a top-notch scholarship application to help you stand out from the crowd.

Expand Your Extracurriculars

Scholarship boards value students with strong leadership skills and the initiative to contribute to their fields. Channel your passion for communications into writing for the campus newspaper, becoming a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, or providing volunteer marketing services to a non-profit organization. If you’re already committed to extracurricular pursuits, consider taking your involvement to the next level through a leadership position or by mentoring a younger student.

Letters of Recommendation

Several scholarship programs require at least one and sometimes multiple letters of recommendation to be submitted alongside your application. If you’re pursuing a graduate degree, you’re probably passionate about communications and dedicated to excelling academically. Professors, coaches, and directors of organizations you’ve worked with are great people to ask for strong letters of recommendation. They’ll gladly explain your strong work ethic and be happy to help you make a good impression.

Wow With Your Essay

While letters of recommendation let others speak for you, the essay allows you to highlight your accomplishments and goals to convince judges that you’re worthy of receiving funding. This is your opportunity to let your personality and passion for communications shine. Before you begin, brush up on how to structure a strong essay that will communicate your points cohesively and compellingly. After writing, spend adequate time editing and proofreading to help you produce the strongest essay possible.

Be First in Line

Applying for scholarships can be a lengthy process, and it’s common to have unexpected delays. Allow yourself plenty of time by planning to submit applications well before the deadline. This gives you time to follow up with those writing letters of recommendation or to spend additional time perfecting your essay. Technical snafus like downed websites or internet outages also may happen at the last minute. Scholarship deadlines can be uncompromisingly strict, and being the first line by submitting your application early ensures you’ll easily complete all the requirements before the deadline.

Follow Instructions and Be Thorough

Attention to detail is an essential part of the scholarship application process because it shows you’re capable, responsible, and serious about being considered. An incomplete or incorrect application might disqualify you, so read the application instructions carefully and double-check that you’ve met all the requirements. Don’t waste time and energy working on an application just to miss out on a scholarship because you’ve overlooked any piece of the requirements.