Notice to Applicants
We are in a period of transition. The older Communication Studies: Rhetoric and Public Culture PhD program is being replaced by a new PhD program in Rhetoric, Media, and Publics. Though this new program has been approved by Northwestern, Northwestern is currently unable to issue F-1 or J-1 documents for the PhD in Rhetoric, Media, and Publics while the program undergoes review by the federal government. In this interim period, we ask students requiring immigration documents to study in the United States to apply to the current Communication Studies: Rhetoric and Public Culture PhD program, which is able to issue F-1 or J-1 documents. All students not needing an immigration document from Northwestern should complete the application for the Rhetoric, Media, and Publics PhD program. These two groups will be considered together to admit our new cohort for next year.
Both applications are online only through The Graduate School at this page. (Note: Applicants may require several sessions to complete this form. Instructions are included with the application.)
- The Application Deadline for both programs is December 9th. All applications will be evaluated as a single application pool for Rhetoric, Media, and Publics.
- The department code is R20PH for PhD and combined MA/PhD applicants in Rhetoric, Media, and Publics.
- The department code is C35PH for PhD and combined MA/PhD applicants in Rhetoric and Public Culture.
- Admission policies and guidelines from the Graduate School
- Information and support for diversity in students
The following supplemental materials must be submitted in addition to (in some cases, as part of) your online application. For details, see The Graduate School’s instructions.
- Statement of Purpose (may not exceed two single-spaced pages)
- Resume or CV
- 2 or 3 letters of recommendation, submitted online
- Unofficial transcripts from each university you have attended, i.e. scanned copies. To note: The Graduate School will request official transcripts should you be admitted and choose to enroll.
- Writing Sample (preferably something academic, such as a term paper, honors thesis or something equivalent) limited to 15-20 pages or less
- GRE scores are not required. You may submit them if you wish. Official GRE scores should be sent by ETS to institution code 1565, the NU Graduate School. ETS will not report GRE scores more than 5 years old.
- If your native language is not English, you must certify your proficiency in the English language in one of the four following ways:
- Provide official transcripts verifying an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution or equivalent, where the language of instruction is English.
- Provide official transcripts verifying a graduate degree from an accredited institution or equivalent, where the language of instruction is English.
- Score 100 total or higher and 26 or higher on the Speak section on the Internet Based TOEFL (IBT) and have ETS send your official scores to institution code 1565 (the NU Graduate School). The scores must be from a test taken no more than two years before the desired quarter of entry.
- Score 7 or higher on the IELTS and submit your scores electronically or as a hard copy (physical score reports should be mailed directly to the Communication Studies Department in the Frances Searle Building, 2240 Campus Drive). The scores must be from a test taken no more than two years before the desired quarter of entry.
- You may request an application fee waiver in the online application portal. Please see The Graduate School’s information page about application fee waivers.
- Please also see the The Graduate School’s page for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).