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PhD Admissions and Applications

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Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program is limited to students of exceptionally high competence and promise. A master’s degree is required for entry into the doctoral program.

The following are the general requirements for admission.

  • A 3.0 (4.0 system) grade point average in undergraduate studies, and 3.5 in graduate work.
  • At or above the 50th percentile in verbal, quantitative and analytical aptitude on the Graduate Record Examination. The Graduate Record Examination must have been taken within the past five years.
  • Recommendation letters from at least three former instructors or professional supervisors.
  • A statement of the applicant’s goals and reasons for pursuing the doctorate.
  • Personal interviews with members of the College of Communication and Information’s Graduate Studies Committee may be required.

For students whose native language is not English and who have not earned an earlier degree at an English-language college or university, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. The score must not be older than two years.

Application Process

To apply to the doctoral program, go to the University of Tennessee Graduate Admissions Application Online Submission site. Via that online portal, you will have access to both the Graduate School’s and the College of Communication and Information’s required application material.

The Graduate School’s required application material is as follows:

  • The University of Tennessee Graduate School Application for Admission Form.
  • Copies of transcripts from colleges and/or universities you have attended.
  • Official results of Graduate Record Exam (GRE, general aptitude test).
  • Students who are not native speakers of English and have not earned a degree from an institution that teaches in English must submit official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The College of Communication and Information’s required material is as follows:

  • Supplemental Information Form. (This form provides instructions regarding how to upload the following required supplemental material: Personal Information, Research Interests, and Statement of Purpose.)
  • Three applicant rating forms completed by individuals who can evaluate your likelihood for success in graduate school (e.g. former professors). A written letter of reference may be attached to this form.

All new students begin their graduate classes in the fall semester. If you are seeking funding, the application deadline is January 15 prior to the start of the fall for which you are applying. Even if you are not seeking funding, you should submit application materials by January 15 to have the best chance of being considered for doctoral studies. A limited number of slots open each fall and preference is given to applicants whose materials are submitted by January 15.

Financial Aid

If you are interested in receiving funding, you should also complete application forms as appropriate for assistantships/associateships and scholarships/fellowships. The application forms for funding are also available via the University of Tennessee Graduate Admissions Application Online Submission site. Should you wish to submit hard copies of the application forms directly to the College of Communication and Information, pdf copies of the forms are provided here:

Possible funding assistance is also available from the Graduate School.

Contact Information

Virginia Kupritz, PhD
Associate Dean for Academic Programs
Director of Graduate Studies

Margaret Taylor
Administrative Specialist for the Associate Dean for Academic Programs