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Apply online! NC State's Graduate School has implemented an online-only application process.


The application deadline is January 15 for fall admission in the same year. We do not accept students for spring or summer admission. We recommend that you begin the application process in the ApplyYourself Graduate School system at least four months prior to the deadline. It takes time for your information to migrate through the Graduate School system and filter through the program's application center. Be advised that your GRE® scores, reference letters, and other required application components may not arrive at the Graduate School by our deadline should you delay preparation.

Your references will need to use the ApplyYourself system to upload their recommendation letters and submit evaluation forms. They may be very busy at the time of your request and unable to pull together their letters and complete the evaluation form by the deadline. They must also learn to navigate their section of the ApplyYourself to upload their material.

ApplyYourself provides step-by-step instructions, including a detailed FAQs section on completing and submitting your application materials. Contact links (including a "help" option) are listed at the bottom of each page should you have questions or issues about the process. Someone from the Graduate School will promptly contact you. The CRDM staff cannot assist you with technical application issues.

The Graduate School has a useful page of information for prospective students, with links to current information about tuition and fees, policies affecting graduate students, the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP) for students who would like teaching or research assistantships, and an "Arrival Survival" guide for new students. You may also check the status of your application in the ApplyYourself account.

We require GRE® scores for admission to the program (you may use the scores earned for entry to your master's program). If you did not earn your master's degree from a university in the United States, you must submit your TOEFL® scores. There is an area in ApplyYourself to enter your scores but you will be required to provide official score documents if you are accepted into the program.

For further questions about admissions into our program, please contact Associate Director, Dr. David Rieder a

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Admission requirements

  • Master's degree in Communication, English, Rhetoric, or other relevant field
  • Master's GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Master's level work should include one quantitative or qualitative methods course (this requirement may be met after admission from courses at NC State)
  • Master's level work should include 9 credit-hours in an approved disciplinary area and 3 credit-hours in a second disciplinary area (this requirement may be met after admission from master's level courses at NC State)


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Application process and materials

Within ApplyYourself, you will upload:

  • Personal statement (background on your studies, your goals after receiving your Ph.D. degree, and why you would like to enroll in the program;
  • Résumé;
  • Academic writing samples (nonacademic sample will be accepted under certain conditions); and
  • Unofficial copies of your undergraduate and master's transcripts.

Again - your references also will be required to upload their own letters of recommendation via the ApplyYourself system. Instructions are provided.

Do not e-mail or send via post/overnight service, transcripts or other hard-copy application materials to the CRDM office unless requested. Carefully prepare your materials before uploading. You should consider combining your transcript copies and writing samples into PDFs for uploading as upload options are limited. The NCSU Graduate School provides CRDM faculty with your application and all related, uploaded material. If you are accepted into the program, the Graduate School will ask you to contact the university/universities where you received your degrees and ask that official transcripts to be sent directly to the Graduate School.

The online application form includes the following sections, that also must be submitted electronically:

  • Applicant information;
  • Residency and English proficiency information (your legal residence, if you wish to qualify for the in-state tuition rate, and your English proficiency, if you are not a native speaker)
  • Contact information;
  • Application and standardized test scores (GRE® and/or TOEFL) (what degree, financial aid, and semester you are applying for)
  • Education history
  • Personal statement (your goals, research interests, and relevant experience that qualify you for this program)
  • Names and addresses of three persons who will provide recommendations for you (the recommenders may submit their letters either online or on paper); please choose recommenders who can speak specifically to your academic abilities

The following supporting materials must be submitted separately to the Graduate School as indicated in the online instructions:

  • official report of GRE® scores taken within the past five years
  • official report of TOEFL® scores if you did not receive your master's degree in the United States;
  • unofficial transcripts of from all colleges and universities previously attended
  • nonrefundable application fee (see the Graduate School site for current costs - [note Step 3])

We may wish to schedule a telephone or on-site interview with some applicants.

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Financial Aid

Teaching Assistantships

The CRDM Program offers six to eight Teaching Assistantships each year to newly admitted students, with a stipend of $15,500 (first two years) and $16,000 (final two years), and payment of health insurance (approximately $688 per year) and tuition (approximately $10,000 for out-of-state students prior to becoming a resident by the second year; approximately $4,000 for in-state residents). Students are responsible for the approximately $1,000 per academic year University fee; see Cashier's Office for current rates). Some appointments for Research Assistantships may also be available. Financial support, through the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP), requires the student to be registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours each semester. Course hours over 9 hours must be paid by the student. Teaching Assistants in the doctoral program are eligible for the tuition support and health insurance for a maximum of eight semesters.

Duties for Teaching Assistants will be assigned by the director of the program in which they work, usually the First-Year Writing Program, the Professional Writing Program, the Campus Writing and Speaking Program, or the Basic Course in the Department of Communication. Other teaching assignments may be given to advanced students. Work assignments are 8-9 credit hours or approximately 20 hours a week.

NC State's regional accrediting association requires that Teaching assistants have 18 credit hours of graduate coursework in the department in which they teach in order to be given responsibility for their own course. TAs who do not meet this requirement will be assigned other duties until they have enough coursework. TAs may also be required to take a training course to prepare them for a specific teaching assignment (this course usually fulfills the Professional Preparation requirement).

Research Assistantships

The availability of RAships will vary from year to year. Applicants who indicate interest on their application forms by checking the “Research Assistantship” box will be contacted by the sponsoring faculty member or by the Director of the CRDM Program if they are eligible for any available RA positions.

SAS Institute Research Assistant: The SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication provides support for one or more Research Assistantships each year, with a stipend matching that of TAs, along with tuition support and health insurance provided by the Graduate Student Support Plan. RAs will provide support for the Professor’s ongoing research and have the opportunity to develop their own related research projects. Contact Dr. Carolyn R. Miller, SAS Professor.

PCOST (Public Communication of Science and Technology)PCOST supports research on the factors that affect the public perception and acceptance of scientific and technological developments in the 21st century. One current project is the Nanotechnology Interdisciplinary Research Team (NIRT), exploring intuitive toxicology and risk perception associated with nanotechnology. Contact Dr. David Berube, Director.


Additional Funding Opportunities

For applicants with a background in humanities, social science, and/or the natural sciences, special funding may be available through the NC State Genetic Engineering and Society's IGERT program


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Frequently Asked Questions:

Would I be a good applicant/candidate for the CRDM program?

Most of the students in this program have graduate degrees in Communication, English, or some closely related discipline. It is because the CRDM program draws its core faculty from the departments of Communication and English that we recommend disciplinary training in those fields. Moreover, the theories, concepts, and methods from those disciplines constitute a background knowledge that is assumed in the required seminar courses. During the admissions process, however, we do routinely consider applications from people with graduate degrees in other fields. So long as an applicant makes a strong case for why his/her interests touch on strengths of the program (e.g., see, the admissions committee will give strong consideration to the applicant, no matter his/her disciplinary background.

If your degree is not in one of the disciplinary areas we outline on the website ( it may be the case that you have taken enough courses to satisfy the admissions requirement. If you have taken 9 credit hours of courses in Communication, English, or a related field and 3 credit hours in a secondary area, that may count as your disciplinary area requirement. If not, the admissions committee does make exceptions for students whose interests match particularly well to the program strengths and whose measures of academic success (e.g., GRE scores, GPA, letters of recommendation) suggest the student’s ability to take the initiative to fill in gaps in his/her knowledge.

What kind of assistantships do you offer? 

See our information on Financial Aid above. 

Normally students start teaching either COM 110 (Public Speaking) or ENG 101 (Writing), and then as they move along in the program they also have the opportunity to teach other upper level undergraduate courses within their area of expertise.

Will I be teaching courses?

Most CRDM students have, and it is the program's expectation that all students not on grant-funded research assistantships will contribute to teaching in one or both of the two departments supported by the program (English and Communication). 

How long does a PhD in CRDM take to complete? 

Typically, students finish our CRDM program in four years.  We have had one or two students in each cohort who have not completed the degree within that time frame, but most, especially those who are organized and goal-driven, are able to finish within the four years.  Normally, students complete most coursework during the first two years, take their preliminary exams in the fall of their third year, and defend the dissertation in the spring of the fourth year.

How do I know if I have to take the TOEFEL? What does my TOEFEL score have to be to be an eligible applicant for the CRDM program? 

If the student does not have a US-degree and is not an US citizen, we require the toefl. More on the graduate school homepage:

The Graduate School sets the minimum score requirements, which can be found here: All international students need a TOEFLscore. However, if you have a previous degree from an United States institution, you do not need to take the TOEFL.

How do I apply?

NC State uses an online application system. Information about the admissions process is available at 

Do you offer remote sites or tele-courses? 

Currently we do not have remote sites and do not offer tele-classes. All our classes are offered in our institution, and although you don't need to be here everyday, you need to attend classes in person.

When are applications due? Will my application still be accepted after the due date?

Applications are due by January 15th for admission for the Fall. We do not accept applications after this date. 

How long should my personal statement be?

Personal statements are normally between 1-3 pages long, but we do not have a minimum or maximum length requirement. 

For the academic writing sample, would you prefer a past academic essay from graduate coursework or an article I am currently submitting for publication in an academic journal?

A forthcoming publication in an academic journal would be a great sample, so long as it reflects research interests supported by the program.

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