Information for Current Students

The Graduate Program Manual provides the formal rules for graduate study in Communication at Cornell. 

Conference Travel Grants

  • The Department of Communication provides grants to all registered Communication graduate students who are invited to present papers or posters at professional conferences. Award amounts are based on geographic location and the maximum award is $700 once per fiscal year. You can submit the conference travel grant request up to 30 days after the start date of the conference and awards are posted on or about the 15th of every month. The government sees this as taxable income.
  • The Graduate School provides grants to all graduate students who are invited to present papers or posters at professional conferences. Award amounts are based on geographic location and the maximum award is $700 once per fiscal year. See the Graduate School Conference Grant form for full eligibility requirements. The government sees this as taxable income.
  • When student travel is entirely or partially supported on a faculty account, please use Concur. It is processed as a reimbursement and requires additional documentation.

Department Forms

  • The Department of Communication provides one-time research funds for all Communication PhD students in their fourth or fifth year. Awards are capped at $1,500.
  • The Department of Communication provides research funds for all Communication PhD students who teach a summer class. Summer graduate instructors are eligible for up to $2,000 in research funds each year they teach a summer course for the department.
  • The Department of Communication provides a stipend top-off for Communication PhD students who are teaching summer courses. The stipend rates for teaching during the summer vary based on experience but the department will top-off the School of Continuing Education's graduate instructor stipend to match the Graduate School's summer assistantship stipend rate.

Graduate Student Awards

  • The Outstanding CALS Graduate Teaching Assistant recognizes graduate TAs who have made an important contribution to the instructional program of the College.
  • The Anson E. Rowe Award recognizes one promising graduate student (pre-A-exam) and one advanced graduate student (post-A-exam), who have proven research productivity, teaching excellence, and have made a contribution to the communication community.
  • The Glass Family Fellowship, established in honor of Dr. Royal Colle, an esteemed emeritus professor in the Department of Communication, recognizes a graduate student who exemplifies leadership and service to the Department, Field, and Cornell University.

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Department Graduate Student Reps

Graduate student reps attend faculty meetings, take minutes at faculty meetings and circulate the minutes through the grad listserve, and act as a liaison between faculty and graduate students when necessary. The term for these positions is two academic years.

Headshot of Teairah Taylor
Teairah Taylor

Graduate Student, Department Student Representative

Department of Communication

Teairah Taylor
  • tmt67 [at]
Health communication; racial and ethnic health disparities; community engagement; translational research; social determinants of health
Headshot of Beatrys Rodrigues
Beatrys Rodrigues

Graduate Student, Department Student Representative

Department of Communication

Beatrys Rodrigues
  • bfr35 [at]
Digital labor, gender and technology, social impacts of artificial intelligence, feminist technology studies, online harassment, design fiction, decolonial future studies

Communication Graduate Student Association (CGSA)

The CGSA president is responsible for overseeing the overall operation of the CGSA and acts as a liaison to the faculty and staff. They are responsible for the recording and maintenance of CGSA records and files, including minutes of meetings and committee reports. The CGSA vice president is responsible for serving as a liaison to the Graduate and Professional Student Association and for taking CGSA meeting minutes. This officer assumes the duties of the president if they are absent from a meeting. The CGSA treasurer is responsible for the financial records and bookkeeping of the CGSA, the preparation of the budget, and attendance at any budget hearings. The term for these positions is one academic year.

Ellie Homant
Ellie Homant

Graduate Student, CGSA President

Department of Communication

Ellie Homant
  • ejh238 [at]
Digital culture, LGBTQ media, digital cultural labor, qualitative research methods
Headshot of Emily La
Emily La

Graduate Student, CGSA Vice President

Department of Communication

Emily La
  • eyl52 [at]
Message fit and persuasion, climate change communication, promoting pro-environmental behaviors and attitudes, psychological and social barriers to sustainability
Headshot of Lucas Wright
Lucas Wright

Graduate Student, CGSA Treasurer

Department of Communication

Lucas Wright
  • law323 [at]
Digital governance, social media content policy, human rights, algorithms and user behavior

General Suggestions

  • Attend the seminar series.
    All students at all points in their graduate careers should be attending as many of the seminars as possible. This is the place where intellectual exchange takes place between different research groups, different research traditions, different approaches to communication.
  • For reading courses and independent studies, take the initiative.
    If there's a course you want to arrange with a faculty member, either to do some independent reading or some independent research, suggest it to the faculty member. Be explicit about your expectations for the course, such as how much time or credit you're looking for, or what product you hope to have at the end; at the same time, ask the faculty member to be explicit about his or her expectations.
  • Get involved in research.
    The Ph.D. is a research-oriented degree, and the essential assumption of the program is that students learn the most by engaging in research. Ph.D. students seeking jobs will find that hiring committees (especially in academic positions) expect to see several conference papers and at least one published paper for which the student was lead author.
  • Stay in touch with your Special Committee Chair.
    Your Special Committee Chair is your mentor and advocate.  S/he can only do his or her job if s/he knows what you're up to, what courses you're finding interesting, what research activities you've become involved in, what readings you've found stimulating. If you don't find a chance to interact informally, make it a point to stop in every few weeks throughout your entire graduate career.
  • Convene your Special Committee at least twice a year.
    The rules say your Special Committee should meet at least once a year. But, really, you want their collective advice more often. Take the initiative to schedule a meeting every six months. You may have to plan weeks in advance to find a time when everyone is available. Let your committee know what you're working on, and get their advice for how to proceed most efficiently and effectively. It's often useful to come to committee meetings with a complete list of courses, grades, and paper topics since you began the program.
  • Give your committee members time to read and evaluate.
    Usually, you need to provide papers one or two weeks before exams (e.g. Second Year Projects, A exams, and dissertations), but that's never enough time. The first step is to work with your committee chair to get your thesis ready to submit to your committee.  For most students, your chair should have a full draft at least four to six weeks before you plan on your defense. That provides enough time for your chair to read the thesis and suggest revisions. After you make the revisions, you will still need to give your committee time to read the revised draft. Discuss this schedule in detail with your chair and your committee – find out what they want. Neither you nor your chair want to send your work to the committee before it is ready.

The goal of these suggestions is to help students navigate the sometimes murky waters of a graduate program.  If you have questions (or suggestions on how to make these comments more useful), please feel free to bring them up with your advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies.