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.
All students must submit their applications to the Clemson Graduate
School Admissions office. Applications should be made online:
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.
All prospective students are encouraged to contact the Director, Victor J. Vitanza, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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, 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 but the Director and the RCID AC do not especially encourage such students to enter the program. 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:
A 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?
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
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
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.
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