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How to Apply


A bachelor's degree from an accredited college is required to apply to the doctoral program.  

Applying for Admission

We admit students only once per year for the fall semester of the following year. Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year are due on December 1, 2017. 

In order to apply, you must complete the online application through Apply Yourself. When using the Apply Yourself system, be sure to choose "Communication Studies" on the drop-down menu. Additional application instructions are provided by the Graduate School. International students are required to provide a TOEFL score and personal writing sample in English. More information for international students can be found through the Graduate School.

Application Requirements

  1. GRE/TOEFL exam scores
  2. Strong statement of purpose telling us exactly why you want a graduate degree from our department
  3. Three letters of recommendation
  4. Department's PDF iconFinancial Aid Form, downloaded, completed, and attached to your online application under "Graduate Program Additional Application"
  5. Writing sample of academic nature


As a general rule, an undergraduate average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is considered necessary for applicants, though the actual average of those who are recommended for admission is much higher. An average of 3.5 in the master's is necessary for admission to the doctoral program. Undergraduate grades are looked at carefully. The pattern of preparation and grades across time and fields are considered. Grades in the major field and in the junior/senior years are given special attention.


We require all applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test before applying, which assesses verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities. For all applicants, these scores are interpreted in light of all the information they furnish and especially in light of their past academic records, letters of recommendation, and short examples of academic writing authored solely by the applicant.

Individual applicants have different specialized interests and consequently require different abilities. Thus, rhetoric requires very high verbal and analytic abilities, but since potential PhD students in communication theory must anticipate taking extensive course work in statistics, they must have high quantitative abilities.

The official GRE score report should be sent to the Graduate School, but to hasten the process, students may also send a copy of their score results to the department.

TOEFL English Language Proficiency

All applicants whose native language is not English or who have not previously completed a degree in English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and they must score at least 550 (paper version) or 79 (internet version, with at least 21 on writing and 19 on reading). They should also provide a short example of their academic writing in English authored solely by themselves.