MA & PhD Application

We admit students to the MA and PhD programs in rhetoric and scientific & technical communication (RSTC) only for the fall semester of each year. You must have completed a bachelor's degree before you can begin our MA program. A master's in a related discipline such as rhetoric, technical and professional communication, English, or communication studies is required to enter the PhD program. MA students making satisfactory progress have the opportunity to continue on to the PhD and transfer in most of their master's credits.

In reflection of our commitment to an equitable and inclusive admissions process, we neither require nor consider GRE scores. Nor is there a minimum required GPA. Instead, your grades are considered holistically along with your portfolio materials, experiences, and research interests to determine if you are a good match for our programs.

We welcome inquiries from prospective students who desire additional information about our admission process (email with questions). Admissions and applications consultations are also available to prospective students through the Graduate School Diversity Office (email to schedule).

Application Information

All application materials should be submitted electronically via the online admissions system by 11:59 pm CT on January 5. 

To help you prepare to apply, we invite you to:

The University of Minnesota Graduate School must receive all of the following materials by the deadline before your application will be considered for fall semester admission. Please work closely with your recommenders and advise them on deadlines to ensure their letters are submitted before the application deadline.

 To ensure that the application review process is consistent and fair, we only review the materials listed below. Any unsolicited or extra materials will be redacted from the application packet reviewed by faculty.

Our admissions committee performs an equity-based holistic review of all completed applications. Reviewers look for strengths in the following areas:

  • Academic preparation
  • Scholarly and professional potential
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion statements and commitments
  • Alignment with the program
  • Potential for growth

Questions or Access Requests

Please contact Allie Cooperman, Graduate Programs Coordinator, at if you have any questions or access requests.

Application Part How to Submit
Graduate School Application Please read the Graduate School's application instructions and apply online. All materials should be submitted through the Graduate School's online system. 
Application Fee

As specified by the Graduate School. See more information about fees.

Fee Waiver: The RSTC program is dedicated to building an applicant pool that reflects our commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. We know that the application fee can be an obstacle to applying to a graduate program. In such cases, we may be able to help you find a fee waiver. Please email Allie Cooperman, the Graduate Programs Coordinator, at for more information.
Statements (Materials tab of the online application)

Statement of Purpose: In no more than 500 words, articulate your academic and career goals. The goal of this statement is to give the faculty a clear sense of who you are, what your goals are, and why you think the University of Minnesota is the best place for you to pursue your graduate education. Consider the following questions (note: you do not need to answer all): 

  • Why do you want to study rhetoric, writing studies, and/or technical communication at a graduate level?
  • Why have you chosen to apply to the University of Minnesota? What about our program is exciting to you and why? Which faculty do you see yourself working with most closely and why? (It may be helpful to review RSTC faculty profiles.)
  • What are your core areas of research/teaching interest within the field? What do you anticipate will be the focus of your research/scholarly projects? E.g. What kinds of questions, problems, or topics do you want to pursue?
  • What experiences, training, or education have prepared you to succeed in graduate-level work in rhetoric, writing studies, and/or technical communication?
  • What are your long-term professional goals and how will the RSTC program help you pursue those goals? 

The primary audience of this statement is the RSTC graduate faculty.

Diversity Statement: The Department of Writing Studies, in alignment with the broader University of Minnesota-Twin Cities community, recognizes that equity, diversity, and inclusion must be addressed at the individual, community, and systemic levels. Encouraging equity, diversity, and inclusion happens in representation, development of personal awareness, praxis, and policy. The department actively seeks to engage in creating socially just learning and workplace environments and opportunities. We encourage applicants to review the Department of Writing Studies’ Equity and Diversity Statement

In no more than 500 words, explain how you are prepared to contribute to our program’s commitment to equity, diversity, access, inclusion, and justice. Consider the following questions (note: you do not need to answer all): 

  • What does enacting diversity, equity, inclusion, and access look like for you? How might those commitments show up in the work that you’ll do as a graduate student, researcher, teacher, and member of the University of Minnesota community? 
  • In what ways are you prepared to advance equity, access, inclusion, justice, and diversity in your research, teaching, and graduate studies? 
  • How might your perspective, experiences, training, and/or skills contribute to the diversity of the university's graduate student body?

The primary audience of this statement is the RSTC graduate faculty.

Extenuating Circumstances Statement: Answering this statement is optional, but it will be taken into consideration if submitted. 

Transcripts (Academic History tab of the online application)

Upload unofficial transcripts or academic records from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail paper copies of your transcripts; you do not need official transcripts or academic records for initial review.

If you are admitted, the University will request official copies of this material. This material must be sent directly to the Graduate School Admissions Office from the institutions(s) before you will be allowed to enroll.

See important information about uploading your transcripts and credentials. 

Curriculum Vitae or Resume (Materials tab of the online application) Please provide a curriculum vitae or resume that includes mention of any academic awards or honors you have received. 
Recommendations (3) Letters of recommendation should be submitted through the Graduate School's online application system. Recommendations from faculty are highly encouraged, although letters written by employers are also accepted. We strongly recommend one letter come from your advisor, a major professor, or department chair who can speak to your academic experience and potential, specifically for our program. Formal letters submitted on letterhead as PDF attachments are preferred.
Note: You are encouraged to communicate submission deadlines directly to recommenders. The automated email request message will not communicate that information.

If necessary, letters may be sent directly by recommenders to:
Department of Writing Studies
214 Nolte Center
315 Pillsbury Dr. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Attn: Graduate Programs Coordinator
Or to
Writing Samples (2) (Materials tab of the online application) Upload two writing samples of academic or professional work. 

At least one sample must demonstrate your ability to carry out research and construct an argument based on research. (Fewer than 20 pages for each sample, please.)
English Proficiency  The Graduate School has specific English language proficiency requirements for submitting a graduate program application. Note that employment as a teaching assistant (TA) or graduate instructor (GI) also has requirements for demonstrating English proficiency. Given that many RSTC students work as TAs or GIs, we recommend reviewing both requirements when choosing to take an English proficiency test (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS).