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PhD Program

To apply, complete both the College of Communication and Information’s departmental application form and the university application form.

For more information on the CCI doctoral program, application procedures, and scholarship and assistantship opportunities, visit the College’s Office of Graduate Studies.


Admission to the doctoral program is limited to students of exceptionally high competence and promise.

A master’s degree is required for entry into the doctoral program. Students lacking academic or professional experience in communication and information may be required to take prerequisite courses.

The following are normally minimal requirements for admission to full potential candidate status:

  • A 3.0 (4.0 system) grade point average in undergraduate studies, and 3.5 for graduate work.
  • At or above the 50th percentile in verbal, quantitative and analytical aptitude on the Graduate Record Examination. The Graduate Record Examination must have been taken within the past five years.
  • Recommendation letters from at least three former teachers or professional colleagues.
  • A statement of the applicant’s goals and reasons for pursuing the doctorate.
  • Personal interviews with members of the Graduate Studies Committee are recommended and may be required.
  • Professional experience in some field of communication and/or information is a highly desirable criterion for admission.
  • For students whose native language is not English and who have not earned an earlier degree at an English-language college or university, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. The score must not be older than two years.


Prospective doctoral students must complete applications to BOTH the University of Tennessee and to the College of Communication and Information for admittance to the College’s PhD program.

All new students begin their graduate classes in the fall semester. If you are seeking funding, the application deadline is February 1st, prior to the start of the fall for which you are applying. Even if you aren’t seeking funding, you should submit application materials by February 1st to have the best chance of being considered for doctoral studies. A limited number of slots open each fall and preference is given to applicants whose materials are submitted by February 1.

Financial Aid

If you are interested in receiving funding you should also complete application forms as appropriate for