Ph.D. Program: FAQ

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE Ph.D. PROGRAM

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE Ph.D. PROGRAM

 

How many students do you accept each year into the Ph.D. program?

Typically, 10 to 12 students are offered admission each year. Annual enrollment in the program, which normally takes three years to complete, totals about 30 students.

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What are the areas of research emphasis in the Ph.D. program?

The Ph.D. program is focused on five substantive areas of study:

  • Media processes and production
  • Legal and regulatory issues in communication
  • Media uses and effects
  • Health communication
  • Political, social and strategic communication

Visit our curriculum page to read about these research areas and the affiliated faculty members

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How long does the program take to complete?

Most students complete the Ph.D. program in three to four years. The program requires 48 hours of coursework (typically four classes each fall/spring semester in the first two years). In the third year, doctoral students take comprehensive exams, defend their dissertation proposals and complete their dissertations. Some students elect to stay a fourth year in order to compete more effectively for research-intensive positions at Research 1 universities or to pursue more ambitious dissertations.

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Can I transfer credits or grades from other institutions into the program?

UNC Hussman does not accept credit transfers from other institutions.

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What is tuition for the program?

Tuition and fees are detailed on our page about program costs and funding.

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How do I establish residency to qualify for in-state tuition?

If you indicate in your online application that you claim North Carolina residency for tuition purposes, you will be prompted to complete a residency determination form online. Guidelines for residency consideration are available from the North Carolina Residency Determination Service.

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What funding opportunities exist for Ph.D. students (e.g., fellowships, assistantships)?

We strive to make our program as affordable as possible for all of our students through generous fellowship packages provided by the Hussman School and The Graduate School. Details are available on our page about program costs and funding. Applicants seeking a Park Fellowship must complete an additional application essay. For all other UNC Hussman and UNC Graduate School funding, applicants will be automatically considered for any packages for which they are eligible, with no additional application requirements. Back to Top

 

How can I learn more about the program?

We offer online info sessions every fall for prospective students. Our graduate program staff and Ph.D. program director are available to answer your questions and connect you with more resources. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies at mjgrad@unc.edu or (919) 843-9471 to be added to our program email list or ask a question.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS

 

When is the application deadline?

Our application deadline to start the program in fall 2021 is Tuesday December 15, 2020. More information on the application timeline is available on our admissions page.

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What materials are required with the application?

The following materials are required with your online application:

  • Unofficial undergraduate and master's or J.D. transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation, submitted by recommenders
  • Resume/CV
  • Writing sample(s)
  • For U.S. citizens seeking fellowship funding, the Park Fellowship essay
  • Application fee

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Are GRE scores required?

GRE scores are not required for 2021 admission. You may elect to submit GRE scores if you feel the scores will benefit your application.

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What is the application fee, and how do I pay?

The $95 application processing fee can be paid online with your application via credit/debit card (Visa or MasterCard). You may also send a check drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars, payable to UNC-Chapel Hill to:

The Graduate School – Admissions Campus Box #4010, 200 Bynum Hall University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC, 27599

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I cannot afford the application fee. Is it possible to request a waiver?

Please visit The Graduate School's website to determine whether you are eligible for an application fee waiver and for instructions on how to request an application fee waiver.

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What are the minimum requirements for admission?

Minimum criteria include:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree
  • A recognized master’s degree or J.D.
  • Undergraduate and graduate GPAs of “B” or better (3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale)

For more information, please visit our admissions page.

Applicants below these standards will need to demonstrate substantial compensatory qualifications to be considered. Meeting the above criteria is not a guarantee of admission.

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If I am an international student, must I take the TOEFL or IELTS exam?

International students who have not graduated from a degree program in which English is the sole language of instruction must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam and achieve the following scores:

  • Internet TOEFL exam: 105 or higher
  • Computer TOEFL exam: 260 or higher
  • Paper-based TOEFL exam: 620 or higher
  • IELTS exam: 7.5 or higher

The Graduate School's application instructions outline the specific conditions under which this requirement is waived. Back to Top

 

Can letters of recommendation be sent electronically? May I submit more than three letters?

Yes, all application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted electronically through The Graduate School’s online application system. Applicants will be prompted to provide the names and contact information for a minimum of three people who will write letters of recommendation. Each recommender will receive an email with instructions on how to upload the letter of recommendation into the online system or how to mail a sealed, hard-copy of the recommendation directly to The Graduate School. You may have more than three letters sent on your behalf.

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What are the guidelines for the statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose should describe your background, career goals and areas of research interest, and how they fit with those of the program and specific faculty. It should be double-spaced and no more than four pages long.

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What are the guidelines for the writing sample?

Upload a writing sample in the Supplemental Document(s) - Required section of the Program Supplement page of the online application. You should submit an academic paper or a chapter from your master's thesis.

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What are the guidelines for the Park Fellowship essay?

U.S. citizens wishing to be considered for a Park Fellowship must submit an additional essay in the Supplemental Document - Optional section of the Program Supplement page of the online application. Guidelines for this essay are available on the Park Fellowships page.

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How do I go about sending in my transcripts?

One unofficial transcript from each university attended must be uploaded into the application by the application deadline. We only accept unofficial transcripts for application evaluation. Please do not mail transcripts. If you are offered admission, you will be requested to obtain one official transcript for each university attended and given instructions on how to submit those official transcripts.

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