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, background, and research interests to determine if you are a good match for our programs.

We encourage equity, diversity, and inclusion in representation and actively seek to engage in creating socially just learning and workplace environments and opportunities (read the full statement). We, therefore, welcome inquiries from prospective students who desire additional information about our admission process (email and to schedule). 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. 

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 Accommodations

Please contact our graduate programs coordinator at 612-624-4761 or if you have any questions or to request accessibility accommodations. 

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. 
Department Supplemental Application Form Complete the MA/PhD application form (opens Google document) and upload it under the "Graduate Program Additional Materials" in the "Materials" section in the online admissions system.
Application Fee As specified by the Graduate School. See more information about fees. 
Statements (Materials tab of the online application)

Personal Statement: In a statement of no more than 1000 words, explain why you want to study in our department and, if relevant, describe your post-secondary academic training and how the MA or PhD will build on it. Be as specific as you can, linking your interests and areas of experience to areas of study and expertise in our department. In particular, we encourage you to identify a potential faculty advisor whose research interests match your own, indicating whether or not you have been in contact with this person.

Diversity Statement: Enrolling and graduating a diverse student body is central to the University of Minnesota’s mission. The UMN Graduate School provides the following definition of diversity: The “inclusion of individuals with differing backgrounds and experiences derived from, e.g., different ethnicities, gender identities, nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, veteran status, and/or disabilities.”

The recommended length for the diversity statement is approximately 500 words (2 pages). Diversity statements are also used to identify nominees for the Graduate School's Diversity of Viewpoints and Experiences (DOVE) fellowship. 

This statement is optional but strongly encouraged and will be taken into consideration if submitted. 

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 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. At least one letter should come from your advisor, major professor, or department chair. Recommendations from faculty are highly encouraged, although letters written by employers are also accepted. 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.)

Test Scores: English Language Test Scores For non-native English speakers: TOEFL, IELTS.

See more information about TOEFL and IELTS scores and how to submit them.