Applications and Financial Aid
Thank you for your interest in applying to the PhD program in communication theory and research. The evaluation of all graduate applications is done at the department level. Please read the following information carefully. We have made a great effort to provide detailed and thorough information regarding the application process and hope that it will provide answers to your questions.
The deadline to apply to the Ph.D. Program in Communication for matriculation in autumn 2023 will be December 6, 2022 at 11:59PM. The online application fee is $125 for all applicants, both domestic and international. If you are considering applying to Stanford graduate programs and need assistance with the application fees, consider applying for a fee waiver.
Recommenders have until January 3, 2023 to submit their online recommendation letters.
Applicants who do not have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a university based in the U.S. should review the information for international students to determine their eligibility to apply to graduate school at Stanford.
Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS). KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your PhD studies at Stanford. Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment. If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 12, 2022. Learn more about KHS admission.
How to Apply
What do I need to submit?
The online application will go live mid-September.
Statement of purpose
Explain the nature of your interest in the PhD program and reasons for wanting to study at Stanford. Include details about your preparation for this field of study, your future career plans, and any other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. Please ensure that your full name is on each page of your statement of purpose. Note that once your application has been submitted, we cannot accept any revised statements of purpose or resumes. The maximum recommended length is 1000 words.
List every post-secondary institution where you were enrolled — or are currently enrolled — in an undergraduate or graduate degree program. Your list must include the institution where you earned your bachelor’s degree or its international equivalent as defined in Stanford’s minimum education requirements for graduate study. *
For each institution you list in the application, upload the most recently available version of your transcript. The transcripts you upload here are considered unofficial and will suffice for the review process.
If you have participated in a study abroad program or transferred courses to your home institution, and the individual courses and grades are reflected on the transcript of the home institution, then you do not need to submit transcripts from the study abroad/transfer institution. Multiple page uploads are allowed for all transcripts. Do not send official copies of transcripts (print or e-transcripts) to the department during the application process. They are not required as part of the application and will not be uploaded to your application or acknowledged.
If you are offered admission to Stanford Communication and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts/degree conferral documents.
Upload a resume (1-3 pages) into the ‘resume’ section of the application.
Official TOEFL test scores – TOEFL
Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit an official test score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT).
Please see the Graduate Admissions website for detailed information.
Letters of recommendation
We require three letters of recommendation. Recommendations must be submitted online by January 3, 2023. As part of the online application, applicants will be required to register the contact information of their recommenders. Recommenders will then receive an email with directions on how to proceed. At least one evaluation and letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student (unless you have been out of school for more than five years). Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work.
We can accommodate letters submitted by your university’s letter service (e.g. Interfolio). You will still need to enter information for each recommender in the online application, including e-mail addresses. An automatic email will then be sent to the recommender requesting a letter. You will need to contact them to let them know that they should follow your institution’s letter service protocol. Please use this email address when routing through the letter service: email@example.com.
- Select up to three faculty members whose research interests best align with your own and who could serve as potential research advisors, in order of preference. Your selections are non-binding and will help us route your application to relevant faculty during the review process. For detailed information about our faculty, go to the department website: https://comm.sites.stanford.edu/people/faculty/research.
- Applicants are asked to describe an encounter with a text/topic/event/person/experience in your scholarly or other pursuits that has informed and (re-)shaped your interests in research. Character limit: 1,500
- Please describe a specific challenge you faced in work/school, how you managed that hurdle, and how that experience has prepared you to pursue a PhD and contribute to the intellectual and social community at Stanford. Character limit: 1,500
Optional GRE scores
Submission of general GRE scores is optional. If you would like us to see your scores, feel free to submit them.
Information on how to report GRE scores is available on the Graduate Admissions website.
All prospective students should review the estimated expenses associated with graduate study at Stanford.
The Department of Communication offers full funding including fellowship stipends or assistantship salary as well as tuition throughout the first 5 years of study. This funding is provided for all 12 months of the year.
Applicants are encouraged to apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.
Application Status and Questions
The selection of graduate students admitted to the Department of Communication is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including (but not limited to) the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, the statement of purpose, samples of journalistic work (applicants to the Graduate Program in Journalism only), personal qualities and characteristics, and past accomplishments.
Decisions are usually made by March 1. Please do not contact us prior to this date to check the status of your application.
For more information, please review our departmental website and the University’s Graduate Admissions web site. If you still have questions, please contact the Student Services Manager. In the subject heading of the email, please type ‘Admissions: LAST NAME, First Name’.
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