Admission Requirements

How to Apply

Any student with a bachelor's or master's degree and with a substantial background in the humanities, social sciences, or physical sciences is eligible to apply to the doctoral program. All candidates for admission must submit an application for admission along with an application fee, transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate courses taken and grades earned, a CV or resume, an academic statement of purpose, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Examination scores, and evidence of English proficiency unless eligible for an exemption.

Our application process is now conducted through the University of Illinois Graduate College website. The Graduate College administers all applications to all doctoral programs on our campus. It also sets campus rules and protocols for admitting doctoral students. Therefore, applying students should carefully review policies set by the Graduate College for admission.

Students are only admitted to start the program during the fall term. All application materials for the academic year beginning Fall 2023 should be submitted by the deadline, December 9, 2022.

A complete application file (for admission and financial aid) must include the following: 

  • A completed online application form. Please note: the PhD program name is Communications & Media. 
  • Transcripts from all previous college- and university-level work. Only after an offer of admission has been extended and accepted do applicants need to mail official transcripts; for the application process, only the transcripts that the applicant uploads are necessary.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume.
  • Three recommendation letters. When you start your application, you will be asked to list the names of three recommenders.  The system will then automatically e-mail them to submit their letters. All letters must be uploaded by recommenders to the online application system. 
  • Academic Statement of Purpose. Please use the Academic Statement of Purpose to describe (within 750 words) your academic background; any training, research, or other experiences that have prepared you for graduate study; your intellectual interests and potential areas of study; how the ICR’s doctoral program would help you achieve your scholarly and professional goals; and any specific faculty members with whom you might like to work.  
  • Personal Statement. Please use the Personal Statement to describe (within 250 words) any personal experiences, achievements, strengths, or circumstances not discussed in your academic statement that you would like to include or that you believe will help you succeed in our program in Communications & Media. [Sometimes applicants combine the Academic Statement of Purpose and Personal Statement into a single 1,000 word document.]  
  • Graduate Record Examination Score.
  • English Proficiency Score.  All international applicants are required to submit the results of an accepted test of evidence of English proficiency unless they qualify for an exemption.  
  • Application fee.

Important information for applicants 

The admissions process in the Institute of Communications Research is competitive; that is, all applications are considered at the same time for fall admission. Applications should be received by the deadline for consideration for both admissions and aid. The Committee strives to notify applicants by March 1 of their decisions. Since we do not have a rolling admissions process, it is very important that applicants adhere to the December application deadline.

Applications submitted electronically at the aforementioned Graduate College website are accessible by ICR as soon as the application fee has been paid. Applications for which the fee has not been paid, whether paper or electronic, are not released to ICR by the Office of Admissions and Records.

Please feel free to contact us to check the status of your application file: email or call 217-333-1549.

Financial aid and benefits 

Financial aid is available in the form of teaching and research assistantships, fellowships and tuition and fee waivers. Most Institute of Communications Research students are funded through teaching and research assistantships.

Information about the benefits for graduate students and graduate assistants can be found on the Graduate College website and that of the union that represents graduate assistants.

International applicants 

All international applicants are required to submit the results of an accepted test of evidence of English proficiency unless they qualify for an exemption. International applicants must meet minimum requirements based on their country of origin.  Information on proof of funding, visa, and SEVIS requirements can be found here on the Graduate College website. 

Residency requirement 

The doctoral degree requires a minimum of 64 hours of credit for students entering with a master’s degree, all of which must be earned as a graduate student in courses or thesis hours offered at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The credit hour requirement for students entering with a bachelor’s degree is 96. 


You can contact the ICR Director of Graduate Studies: Amanda Ciafone
119 Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright St., Urbana, IL