Application and Admissions

Prospective students must apply to both the Clemson University Graduate School and to the RCID Program. Admission to the program will take place in the fall semester only.

Students are greatly encouraged to contact the Director and to begin their applications early in September-November. Our deadline is February 1. We can no longer be responsible for any incomplete applications after that time. The application in some cases may include an initial telephone interview or an on-campus interview.

The Director of RCID will first examine and study all applications with supporting documents and will work closely with the applicants. When applications are complete and in satisfactory condition, the Director will consult with the RCID Advisory Committee on each applicant.

After consultation with the Advisory Committee, the Director will make offers of acceptance to the program with or without a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTAship). There will be two levels of offers with a GTAship: an offer on first tier and immediately made, and an offer on second tier subject to availability of a GTAship. Students not accepted will be notified by the Graduate School and by the Director as each determination has been made.

The Clemson University Graduate School and, therefore, the RCID program have agreed to the Council of Graduate Schools' policy of the deadline to accept the offer as April 15th.

Graduate School

All students must submit their applications to the Clemson Graduate School Admissions office. Applications should be made online:

A completed admission includes the application form and application fee payment to the Clemson University Graduate School, as well as the letter of application itself, the transcripts, the GRE scores, the three letters of recommendation, etc. It is solely the responsibility of the applicant to make sure that the application fee is paid and that all material arrives on time and in good form. Timing is everything if the applicant wishes to be considered for a GTAship. No action will be taken until the application is complete.

Caveat: An applicant should inform the writers of letters who know the student's work well not only to fill out the form (with its request for numerical rankings) but also to write a developed, separate letter of recommendation sent directly to the Director. An applicant should provide the URL to the RCID site so that the writers can base their judgments on the description of the program. An applicant should make clear to the writers that the Director and Advisory Committee are interested in the abilities of the applicant to conduct research. If applicants wish to have more than three letters written and sent, then, they may do so.

RCID Program

All prospective students are encouraged to contact the Director, Victor J. Vitanza, starting in September-November, by email: so as to introduce themselves and to ask any questions or mention any concerns that they might have. A telephone interview may follow the initial email communications.

The RCID program has its own requirements: To be admitted to the Ph.D. program in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design, students must first meet the following basic requirements:

Students must have a Master's degree in English, Rhetoric and Writing, Communications, or other related fields. Students with a Master's degree in another field of study, such as history, philosophy, languages, or the sciences, may apply to the program with the understanding that they may be required to successfully complete prerequisite, Master's-level courses in Professional Communication or other areas prior to full admission to the Ph.D. program.

Students must have earned a grade-point average of at least 3.5 in previous graduate work. The student must submit all transcripts of his or her previous graduate and undergraduate work.

Students must take the GRE. (GRE scores more than five years old relative to the date of initial enrollment will not be accepted by the Graduate School.) Most successful applicants will have a combined GRE score (verbal and quantitative) of at least 1000. Scores of these two sections of the GRE for students admitted to the program last year, however, were 500 and 647 respectively. Any applicant with a V+Q total below that average must be able to submit exceptional supporting materials to have a competitive application (transcripts, at least three reference letters, a portfolio, etc.). The Director has the right to waive the GRE if the applicant demonstrates excellence in the overall application. Because of the strong communication component of the Ph.D., non-native speakers of English should have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper version) or 213 (computer version). Applicants with a score of less than 4 on the analytical writing section of the GRE and/or who have TOEFL scores less than indicated above are urged to contact the RCID Director prior to initiating an application. The official scores--all material--must arrive on time.

It is solely the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the sent and arrived scores, letters, transcripts, etc., to the CU Graduate Admissions Office.

Part-time students, in-residence or on-line, who most likely take one or even two seminars a semester, may apply. However, in making an application, the part-time student should, as must the fulltime student, make a case, with compelling evidence and arguments, of the high probability of completing the degree in a timely manner. RCID is a four-year program.

Additionally, students must submit directly to the Director of RCID:

An updated Curriculum Vita, including information, if any, about their teaching assignments in English or other academic departments as well as industry.

A portfolio of previous graduate work, including their thesis or their own writing samples and electronic projects (if stand-alone projects, burn them on a CD or DVD; if on the Web, send URLs). The works submitted must be the result of research.

A personal statement addressing interests and intentions in pursuing the Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. In responding, the student should directly and in detail address these questions:

Why are you interested in Clemson University?
Why the RCID program?
What is your research (dissertation) project?
What is your conjecture? (with a literature review)?
Why is it important to you?
Why is it important to the field you want to enter?
What are your methodologies for this investigation?
Which RCID faculty members would you like to work with on this project?*
Please tell us whatever else you would like us to know about this project.
For what professional purpose do you want this degree: To teach in academia or to work in industry or both?
Do you have a laptop computer? If yes, Is it a PC or Apple?
What multimedia software do you have installed in your laptop?

It cannot be stressed enough that the personal statement be conceived and executed in detail.

[*It is generally expected that the research project and, consequently, the mentors will most likely change in part or completely while pursuing the degree.]

Send portfolio and personal statement to
Victor J. Vitanza
Program Director, RCID
711 Strode Tower
Clemson, SC, 29634-0523
Phone: 864-656-6411

International Students

If an applicant is an international student, the application for admission should be completed by February 1. The RCID program is especially interested in International students. We have had students from China, Turkey, Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc. And of course, we welcome Fulbright Students. On-line application can be made at

International Students seeking graduate teaching assistantships, whose native language is not English and whose secondary education (and beyond) was not taught fully in English, are required to pass the SPEAK test of proficiency in spoken English. Specialists in English as a Second Language administer this test at Clemson University after the students have arrived. Prospective international TAs will also undergo an interview during which their proficiency in spoken English will be evaluated by faculty members in the RCID program.

Issuance of form I-20 or form IAP-66 for your visa will normally be completed no later than June 1 for registration in the fall semester. (These dates apply to international applicants from abroad; international students who are residents of the United States should adhere to the same dates as American citizens.)

The deadline means that every required item in support of the application (completed application form, application fee, transcripts from each post-secondary school attended, letters of recommendation, test scores and financial certificate) must be on file with the Graduate School by these dates. Ideally, the actual application should have been on file at least four weeks in advance of these dates. Thus, if an applicant is an international applicant living outside the United States, he or she should complete the required standardized tests at least three months prior to the February 1 deadline. The longer a student waits to apply the fewer Graduate Teaching Assistants remain available, if any, for them.

Intrasite links

Home | Program | People | News | Application & Admissions | Financial Support | Curriculum | Research | Resources | Contact

Copyright ©2007 Clemson University