Communication (PhD) Fall 2024

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the PhD in Communication is December 1, 2023. New students are admitted to the fall term only. Late applications will not be accepted.

Should I submit a résumé or curriculum vitae?

Submit a current résumé. However, if you have presented at conferences and published papers and/or articles, a CV is expected.

What is the personal statement and what must be included?

The personal statement is an expression of three areas: (1) research experience, (2) professional background and (3) conceptual questions and phenomena of interest to you. In addition to addressing these three areas, your statement must include a detailed explanation of why you would like to work with the USC Annenberg faculty members that you identify in your application as possible mentors and/or committee members. Limit this statement to five pages. 

What type of writing sample is required?

Select a 10-page representative sample from an essay, article, or book chapter that you solely wrote that demonstrates a research area of interest that you wish to pursue in the doctoral program. This sample must be entirely your own writing and not co-authored. Please describe why you wrote the piece and where it was submitted.

May I submit audio or video content?

The submission of audio or video content is optional. Audio and video may be uploaded to the USC Graduate application in SlideRoom. Content must be solely created by you. You will access the SlideRoom application under the “Programs Materials” section of the USC CAS application. In order to ensure that your USC and SlideRoom applications sync properly, it is important that you access SlideRoom via the USC Graduate application only.

What is the questionnaire?

This required questionnaire is designed to identify your interests in doctoral program faculty, research and courses.

How many letters of recommendation are needed and from whom?

Three faculty recommendations are required. However, if you have substantial work experience, you may provide one professional reference (a direct manager or supervisor only) in place of one faculty recommendation.

What admission test scores are required?

The USC Annenberg School has suspended the GRE requirement for all graduate applicants for admission to the 2024 admission cycle. All international applicants are expected to demonstrate adequate English language proficiency. To learn more about how to satisfy this requirement, click here. Also, review the USC Graduate Admission video tutorial titled “English Proficiency Requirements for International Students” for more details.

Diversity, Inclusion and Access (DIA) Fellowship

USC Annenberg seeks to increase the ethnic and racial diversity of our PhD program by offering supplemental funding to newly admitted PhD candidates with an inaugural USC Annenberg’s Diversity, Inclusion and Access (DIA) Fellowship. The DIA Fellowship is designed to support PhD candidates who can and will use their diversity as a resource for enriching the academy, education, and the broader workforce. We will offer up to three (3) of these awards each year.

To be considered for this fellowship, please write a 600-word essay that addresses the following and upload it to your application for admission.

  1. Describe your sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy.
  2. Share the likelihood that you will use the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship.
  3. Explain how your membership in one or more of the following groups — Alaska Natives (Aleut, Inuit, or other Indigenous People of Alaska); Black/African Americans; Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos; Native American Indians; Native Pacific Islanders (Hawaiian/Polynesian/ Micronesian); Puerto Ricans; Hispanic Americans (whose families of origin are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, and other Central and South American countries) — will enhance the American professoriate.


Application Guidelines

The online USC Graduate Admission Application opens August 1, 2023. Go to to access the application.

Assemble the following documents and program materials which must be uploaded to your application:

  • CV or Résumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Copy of Official Transcript(s)

All program materials must be in English and uploaded to the online application. Note: Once your application has been submitted, you may not edit or change any document or program material. Also, all submitted documents and program materials become the property of USC and will not be returned.

Official Transcripts

Copies of official transcripts (with registrar's signature, stamp or seal) from all colleges and universities attended (including USC) must be uploaded to your application in the Academic History section. If you do not possess copies of your official transcripts, request to have official transcripts with legend or grading scale emailed to you from your previous colleges/universities. 

After submitting your online application, request to have e-transcripts sent from your degree conferring institutions to USC Graduate Admission at


  • International transcripts must include the original language and the English translation as one document.
  • Transcripts from your institution's student portal are not acceptable. 


Create online profiles in the Program Materials section of the application by providing names and email addresses of your recommenders. Instructions and forms will be emailed to your recommenders. Only recommendations submitted through the online process are accepted. 

Testing Requirements

GRE scores are not required for admission to fall 2024.

Valid TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores (taken August 2022 or later) are required from international student applicants unless waived; see below for the exception. To be considered official, USC must receive scores electronically from the testing service. Photocopies or paper copies of scores are unacceptable. 

  • For TOEFL, request to have your scores sent to USC institution code 4852. 
  • For IELTS or PTE, select "University of Southern California" from the list of available institutions when you register for the test. Alternatively, provide this information to your testing center after you have taken the test.

Exception: If you completed your entire bachelor's degree in the United States or another Anglophone country (i.e. where English is both the language of instruction and the only official language of the country), TOEFL and IELTS are waived. 

Note: Completing a master’s degree In the United States or another Anglophone country will not waive TOEFL or IELTS. 

Application Fee

Pay the $90 non-refundable application fee with a credit card or request an application fee waiver prior to submitting an application. 

Fee Waiver

Review the fee waiver requirements at USC Graduate Admission website: Applicants seeking a fee waiver must start the online application and then wait for the fee waiver approval before submitting the application.