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 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

We consider students holistically when making admissions decisions and consider the whole package of materials to determine a candidate's fit in the program and likelihood of success. An application for the Ph.D. Program will be evaluated on the basis of:

  1. A personal statement from the student relating experience and research interests to the Ph.D. Program.
  2. A writing sample. Examples of acceptable writing samples include a chapter or portion of your masters thesis, a term paper from a previous class, an academic conference paper or journal publication, a professional work product, etc.
  3. A curriculum vita (CV) listing academic degrees, positions, and accomplishments, or a professional resume.
  4. Undergraduate and graduate academic transcripts (records equivalent to at least the 3.0 or B level).
  5. Three letters of recommendation from persons with a relationship to the student in academic (or professional) contexts.
  6. 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).

Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores are OPTIONAL for applicants. All applications will be reviewed equally with or without GRE scores. Not submitting GRE scores will not hurt an applicant's chances of admission, nor will submitting GRE scores give applicants an advantage in admissions.

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.

We also encourage applicants to reach out to faculty in the Ph.D. program to express interest in working with them, learn more about their program of research, and gain insights into the program.

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.