Graduate Degree

Communication - Doctor of Philosophy

Communication - Doctor of Philosophy
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Doctor of Philosophy
College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Department of Communication

Graduate Study
Communication - Doctor of Philosophy

Communication is a social process by which human beings are linked through the creation, transmission, and reception of messages. The focus of this program is the scholarly analysis of that linkage, with an emphasis on the characteristics of the messages and channels through which linkage occurs.

The student's program is organized around a set of experiences that simulate an interdependent community of communication scholars.  These experiences are intended to maximize creative growth and development, and to provide the student with the skills needed to manage an intellectual community.

There are two basic tasks of a community of communication scholars, in each of which the student must demonstrate competence:

  1. Teaching.  The entering student receives training in instructional models and teaching methods in communication education.  Each student serves as an apprentice in supervised teaching situations, leading to a demonstration of independent competence in teaching.
  2. Research.  The student is assigned to a task group that explores research questions to which the Department has assigned priority.  Each student participates in various phases of on–going research projects.  Responsibility for the design and conduct of research is increased as competence develops.  Each student must present at least one major report of original research which has been conducted independently.

The first learning experiences in the program consist of the absorption of basic knowledge about communication theory and research, message analysis, and methods of inquiry. During the first year, the new student takes core course work in communication theory,  research methods and analysis. Much of this work is taught by the faculty and engages the full–time curricular energies of the students. Students without background in communication or social science research may be advised to take some preparatory course work.

When the student has mastered this core material, usually by the end of two semesters of residence, the program's focus is directed toward specialization in one or more areas of communication activity. These include, but are not limited to, interpersonal communication, multicultural communication, organizational communication, and persuasion. For such specialization, the student is exposed to lecture courses and doctoral seminars within the department, and to work in other departments which will supplement the mastery of these content areas.

From this point, the student moves to the final stages of the doctoral program—additional advanced seminars, comprehensive examinations, and/or a preliminary paper, and the ultimate goal of developing and defending a doctoral dissertation.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, students must meet the requirements specified below.


February 1 is the deadline for applications for admission and for financial assistance for the succeeding fall semester.  Late applications may be considered.

Students are admitted from heterogeneous educational backgrounds.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Communication

The student must:
1. Earn a Master of Arts degree, or equivalent, prior to being awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree.
2. Complete the following core courses, typically during the first year in the doctoral program (16 credits):
COM  801 Communication Research I 4
COM 802 Communication Research II 4
COM 901 Communication Research Design I 4
COM 902 Communication Research Design II 4
3. Earn a grade-point average of 3.25, or the student will be eligible for elimination from the program. 
4. Earn no two grades below 3.0 in any of the evaluative structures the department uses to evaluate doctoral students, including
course work, research team, or faculty evaluations of student teaching, or the student will be eligible for elimination from the program.
5. Earn a minimum of an additional 26 credits of course work agreed upon and approved by the student's guidance committee.
6. Complete a minimum of 24 credits and no more than 36 credits, of COM 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research.
7. Write and successfully defend a preliminary research paper or comprehensive exam.
8. Write and successfully orally defend the dissertation.