Admissions and Financial Aid

Application deadline

Application deadlines for the fall term are January 5 of each year, with late applications to be considered at a May 1 deadline. Students requesting financial aid, must apply by January 5.

The Ph.D. program only admits students for a fall semester start — no students are permitted to begin the program in spring.

Application forms for the Ph.D. program are available from the Office of Graduate & Professional Admissions.

IMPORTANT: Official application materials (transcripts, GRE scores and TOEFL scores) should be sent to the Graduate and Professional Admissions office:

  • Use institution code 2790 to send official test scores
  • 56 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8530
  • 848-932-7711 (phone), 732-932-8231 (fax)

Please do not send any application materials or documents to the School of Communication and Information.

Evaluation of application

An application for the Ph.D. Program will be evaluated on the basis of:

  • Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores (verbal and quantitative combined scores normally exceed 300; a strong writing score is valued also). 
  • Undergraduate and graduate academic records (records equivalent to at least the 3.0 or B level).
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons with a relationship to the student in academic (or professional) contexts.
  • A personal statement from a student relating experience and research interests to the Ph.D. Program.
  • Score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for non-native English-speaking applicants (scores should ideally be above 600 paper-based or 80 Internet-based). 

Students applying for admission to the Ph.D. Program typically have completed a master's degree in communication, information science, library studies, media studies or another related academic or professional field. Highly qualified students from strong programs or research backgrounds without a master's degree may also apply in special circumstances, but should contact Ph.D. Program Director, Jennifer Theiss before doing so.

Financial Support

Several types of financial support are available to highly qualified students. In most cases, students applying by January 5 are considered automatically for this as part of the admissions process. A few awards are also for students further along in their doctoral studies. All awards are highly competitive.

SC&I offers the following highly competitive forms of support:

  • Teaching Assistantships
  • Graduate Assistantships
  • Assistant Instructor/PTL positions
  • SC&I Fellowships
  • Pam Richards Fellowship
  • Grant funding
  • Hourly graders/research assistants

Many of these include a stipend, general health benefits and tuition remission. We also provide travel grants/assistance to all students presenting scholarship at scholarly conferences regionally, nationally and internationally.

Rutgers University also provides various forms of highly competitive support:

  • Presidential Fellowships
  • Diversity Fellowships
  • Bevier Fellowships
  • Teaching/Graduate Assistantships in other departments
  • Grant funding outside SC&I
  • Learning Community Coordinators, Dorm RAs and other full-time staff jobs

The Rutgers School of Graduate Studies also provides some travel grants/assistance. Notably they also run the Chaser Resource Center for Graduate Student External Support. Chaser helps graduate students at Rutgers receive more than $2 million annually from a variety of funders outside Rutgers.

Other forms of support (e.g., Spectrum Fellowships; Fulbright; international government and corporate sponsorships; and part-time, adjunct and full-time teaching positions at nearby schools) may also be available. In many of these cases, the Ph.D. program is able to provide tuition remission or some matching support. Those who are eligible for need-based financial aid should contact the Rutgers Office of Graduate Professional Admissions for additional information.