Ph.D. Degree Requirements

A Ph.D​. degree requires successful completion in three general areas: Coursework, Comprehensive Examination, and Dissertation.

Coursework

The Ph.D. plan of study is an agreement between a student and the student's Advisory Committee concerning what coursework the student will undertake to meet degree requirements. The plan is designed with reference to the student's major area, dissertation area, and general method from the following general principles.

Pre-Dissertation Coursework

1. Plan of Study Requirements for Student Entering Ph.D. program with B.A./B.S. in Communication. (A Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution is required for admission into the doctoral program.) Minimum pre-dissertation coursework totals 48 credits.

  • COMM 700 Introduction to Graduate Study in Communication (3 credits)
    (Required in first semester).
  • Theory Requirement. 3 credits. Students must complete one of the following (a second theory course is strongly recommended):
    • COMM 602 Communication Theory
    • COMM 630 Seminar in Public Relations Management
    • COMM 652 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
  • Methods and Foundations Requirement. 12 credits. Students must complete 6 credits through one of the following sequences:
    • Quantitative: COMM 702 and COMM 703. (Prerequisites to COMM 702 such as COMM 600 cannot be used to satisfy the 12-hour requirement. Additional coursework may be required depending upon preparation in statistics.)
    • Historical/Critical: COMM 711 and COMM 712. 
    • Qualitative: COMM 714 and COMM 715.
    • 6 additional credits in methods/foundations credits within or outside department.
  • Cognate Area Outside Department. 6 credits. Contributes to later dissertation research. Typically drawn from single academic discipline.
    • May be drawn from coherent combination of disciplines with Advisory Committee approval.
  • Area of Specialization. 15 credits.
  • Optional courses. 9 credits.
  • At least 24 credits should be taken from the Department of Communication and 24 credits should be numbered 600 or higher.
    Students must maintain a B or better (including B-) for courses that are required.


2. Plan of Study Requirements for Student Entering Ph.D. program with M.A. in Communication. (A Master's degree from an accredited institution is required for admission into the doctoral program.) Minimum pre-dissertation coursework totals 27 credits. (Minimum coursework specification assumes that a student with an M.A. in Communication has successfully undertaken courses that are functionally equivalent to the following: (a) an introduction to graduate study, (b) a theory course in communication, (c) two courses related to the student's general area of research interest.)

  • Methods and Foundations Requirement. 12 credits. Students must complete 6 credits through one of the following sequences:
    • Quantitative: COMM 702 and COMM 703. (Prerequisites to COMM 702 such as COMM 600 cannot be used to satisfy the 12-hour requirement. Additional coursework may be required depending upon preparation in statistics.)
    • Historical/Critical: COMM 711 and COMM 712.
    • Qualitative: COMM 714 and COMM 715.
    • 6 additional credits in methods/foundations credits within or outside department.
  • Cognate Area Outside Department. 6 credits. Contributes to later dissertation research. Typically drawn from single academic discipline.
    • May be drawn from coherent combination of disciplines with Advisory Committee approval.
  • Area of Specialization. 9 credits.
  • Students must maintain a B or better (including B-) for courses that are required.

Dissertation Credits

  • COMM899 Doctoral Dissertation Research
    Minimum 12 credits. After advancement to candidacy, students must enroll in COMM 899 each fall and spring semester until completion of degree even if 12-credit requirement is satisfied. 2. COMM898 Pre-Candidacy Research. Minimum 1 credit each fall and spring semester between completion of Plan of Study and Advancement to Candidacy, if applicable. (Eligibility for Candidacy requires passing Comprehensive Examination).
  • Comprehensive Examination
    • Mission
      The Ph.D. comprehensive examinations are designed for the graduate student to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of literature related to the student's approved research program, specifically in terms of the major area, method, and a specific subject area. In addition to demonstrating a depth of knowledge in a program of study, the examination process should prepare the student to write a dissertation, to secure an academic or professional position, and to fulfill an academic or professional career with distinction.
    • Subject Matter of Written Examination.
      At least three parts, all subject to Advisory Committee approval: 1. Major Area Examination 2. Methods Examination 3. Subject Area Examination, selected from among the following options: a. Dissertation Research Literature Examination: Tests knowledge of theory and literature informing the dissertation. May include material from Cognate Area. b. Second Content Area Examination: Tests knowledge of second area selected by the student and the Advisor from a list approved by the Graduate Committee. c. Second Method Examination: Tests knowledge of a second general research method. d. Cognate Examination: Tests knowledge of Cognate Area. An outside faculty member from the Cognate Area strongly recommended.
    • The written exam is followed by the oral component of the examination, generally of two hours.
  • Dissertation
    Students prepare a dissertation prospectus under the supervision of an advisor.  Following the successful approval of the prospectus by the student's advisory committee, the student proceeds to work on the dissertation with the adviser. The doctoral degree culminates in the successful completion and oral defense of the doctoral dissertation. The doctoral dissertation must be an original research project which advances knowledge of communication.