Ph.D. Degree Requirements
Doctoral education in the College of Communications is committee-driven and highly flexible. Each program plan is tailor-made to meet the individual needs of the doctoral candidate while maintaining the high standards and expectations of the College and The Graduate School.
The number of credits that a committee might require for a Ph.D. in mass communications varies, depending primarily on the prior academic preparation of the doctoral candidate. The requirements below are for someone entering the program with a master’s degree in communications.
- Minimum of 36 credits of coursework in communications and related areas combined
Fulfillment of the language/research skill requirement
(Normally an intermediate knowledge of a foreign language or 12 credits of research methods or a cognate area outside of the College.)
- Minimum of 20 credits (of the 36 credits above) in communications-related coursework
- No more than six credits of independent study (596). (Normally 596 should not be used for work directly related to thesis research and writing. 600-level credits should be used for that purpose.)
- A minimum course load for a half-time Graduate Assistant is 9 credits per semester. Six to 9 credits during the first two summers is recommended.
Degree Completion Time
This is the equivalent to two years of full-time study, including summers, before the comprehensive examination.
Other Specific Requirements for the Doctoral Degree
- Both semesters (fall and spring) of the Mass Communications Proseminar COMM 501.1 and 501.2
- One semester of COMM 590 Colloquium
- A minimum of two research methods courses, at least one of which must be COMM 506 or COMM 511
- The seminar in Communications Curriculum and Pedagogy (COMM 502) or other pedagogy course
- A candidacy evaluation within one year of entry into the program
- Completion of The Graduate School residency requirement: two semesters (not including summer) of full-time study after the candidacy examination and before the comprehensive examination
- A written and oral comprehensive examination after the completion of course work
- A written dissertation proposal presented at a meeting of the candidate’s committee
- A Ph.D. dissertation
- An oral examination in defense of the dissertation
- Submit bound dissertation to college graduate office
Important Program Plan Elements
Although there are few specific requirements, all doctoral program plans should strive to include the following important elements while leaving the specific categorization of coursework to the discretion of individual committees:
Summative survey of the various ideological, theoretical and methodological traditions in mass communication scholarship.
A minimum of two research methods courses, at least one of which must be COMM 506 or COMM 511.
Define an area of concentration and develop a focus.
Exploration and Integration
Inclusion of coursework and influences beyond the area of specialization, with implications to the primary research focus
Research Skill Requirement
Proficiency in applying an appropriate set of tools for studying mass communications and familiarity with other methodologies used in the field.
Intermediate knowledge of a foreign language, an equivalent research skill, or cluster of related courses outside the major.
Completion of a dissertation that makes a significant contribution to advancement of knowledge in the field.
Conceptual knowledge of and practical preparation in pedagogy in communications along with supervised experience in college teaching.
Full Degree Requirements
For full degree requirements, please review the Graduate Degree Program Bulletins.