graduate program / About


The Department of Rhetoric encourages applications from students who want to pursue interdisciplinary research in the humanities and the social sciences. Our diverse faculty work on a wide range of topics and with various theoretical approaches, yet we have particular strengths in the following concentrated areas of study: Classical Rhetoric and Ancient Culture, Continental Philosophy and Critical Theory, Film and Media Studies, Gender and Sexuality, History and Theory, Law, Literary and Cultural Studies, Political and Social Thought, Race and Ethnicity. We are particularly interested in people who want to work critically within (and between) constituted disciplines.          

Please note that the Rhetoric Department admits students for a PhD only. Although an MA degree is awarded after partial completion of the requirements for the PhD, there is no MA program as such with its own curriculum.          

To learn how best to prepare oneself for study at the graduate level in the humanities and the social sciences, current undergraduates may find useful Finding your way, a planning tool developed by Josephine Moreno and Gloria Chun, the Graduate Diversity Coordinators in the Arts and Humanities and the Social Sciences.

Visit the Graduate Division for information on graduate admissions, and the online application.


Information for Fall 2014 Applicants

December 6, 2013, is the deadline for submitting a graduate application for admission in Fall 2014.

Students are admitted to the graduate program in the fall semester only. The deadline for admission applications  (including such supporting documents as transcripts, letters of recommendation and GRE scores), is December 6 for admission in Fall 2014.  For information on graduate admissions and the electronic application, see

The Graduate Division of the University of California at Berkeley has established three basic requirements for admission to graduate programs: (1) a valid degree from an accredited institution, (2) sufficient and appropriate undergraduate training to undertake graduate study in the chosen field, (3) a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B).

In summary, the requirements are:

    •    Submission of the online application including a Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement and Writing Sample.  Under "Faculty Contact", list the faculty you have contacted concerning your application for admission to Berkeley.  The department does not require or expect you to contact faculty prior to admission, however, under "Faculty Interest", you are required to list the faculty whose research is of particular interest to you.
    •    A $80 application fee for U.S. citizens and permanent residents; $100 fee for all others.
    •    3 letters of recommendation
    •    A writing sample ( suggested length not to exceed 30 pages).
    •    A statement about foreign language proficiency, if any (be specific: how long, at what level, what kind of familiarity,  i.e., conversational or reading). The online application is currently being revised by the Graduate Division. If there is not a specific area where you can submit this statement you should submit it as an additional pdf in the writing sample section.
    •    Official GRE scores no more than 5 years old (use departmental code 4506).

The application deadline is midnight, December 6, 2013.

To submit a complete and timely application:

    •    Take the general GRE and TOEFL no later than early November.  Scores must be no more than 5 years old as of the application deadline. The department has been assigned GRE code 4506 (Speech Communication).
    •    Request transcripts at least 6 weeks in advance. You will need your most recent transcript to download as a pdf copy.

   •    Recommenders will submit thier letters of recommendation online. You should let them know that you will be requesting a recommendation from them at least 6 weeks before the application deadline. 

You do not need to submit hard copies of any part of the application. Everything should be submitted online.

Once complete, your file is ready for review by admissions committee members. The various materials required for application are evaluated together to produce an overall portrait of the applicant. A superb writing sample may offset low undergraduate grades or low GRE scores, for instance, especially with a convincing statement of purpose.

Admissions decisions are made by a departmental committee; membership changes annually. The admissions committee meets early in the spring semester after having read the files over winter break. Decisions for admission with a fellowship nomination are made in early-mid February. Final admission decisions will be made in late February to early March. Notifications will be sent by email.

The number of new students the Department can admit is set by the Graduate Division and varies from year to year but is usually about 10.  Approximately 200 people apply each year.  The students that we have recommended for admission have been very successful in competition for the University's best fellowships.

Applicants may request a waiver of the graduate admissions application fee.  The form is available online under Graduate Admissions/Before You Begin/Application Fee.  Eligibility requirements and instructions for filing the waiver are there.

The University of California, in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, or age in any of its policies, procedures, or practices; nor does the University discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.


Berkeley Graduate Division: Information for Prospective Students:

This website provides essential information on admissions, fellowships, international degree equivalencies, academic requirements and much more.  This is where you access the online Graduate Admission and Fellowship application.

Berkeley General Catalog

To order a Catalog:


For questions regarding the graduate program and classes, please contact:

Marcus Norman (Graduate Assistant)

Department of Rhetoric

UC Berkeley

7407 Dwinelle Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-2670

Phone: 510-642-1416

Fax: 510-642-8881

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