PhD in Communication

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Complete transcripts of all undergraduate and any graduate work must be submitted. Besides the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

  • Prior Degrees A master’s degree in communication or a related field is required. Applicants who have earned (or are completing) a bachelor’s degree and plan to pursue doctoral work should apply to the MA program.
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study, and 3.50 for any graduate study. When other data warrant, the department may grant conditional admission to students with lower grade point averages.
  • Tests Requireda GRE General.
  • Minimum English Competency Score
    • TOEFL 95, with minimum subscores of Reading 24, Listening 24, Speaking 24, and Writing 22 (iBT Test); 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (Revised Paper-Delivered Test), OR,
    • IELTS 7.0, with subscores of 6.5 for all four modules, OR,
    • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.
  • Resume Required; 1–2 pages.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required, preferably from professors.
  • Personal Statement Required; 600 words.
  • Writing Sample Required; MA thesis or similar sustained writing.
  • Other Requirements Students are only admitted for the fall semester.

The GRE will not be required for the upcoming admission cycle.

Degree Requirements

Besides the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 semester hours from the baccalaureate degree; 64 hours from the master’s degree.
  • Coursework At least 32 semester hours numbered 500 or higher. Credit in COMM 474, COMM 490, COMM 491, or COMM 498 may not count toward the degree. No more than 16 hours may come from outside the department, and no more than 8 hours may be in independent studies.
Required Courses a
Introduction to Communication Research (or equivalent with departmental approval)
Operationalizing Communication Research (or equivalent with departmental approval)
Seminar in Media Studies b
Seminar in Intercultural Communication
Communication, Technology, and Society Proseminar
New Media of Communication
Qualitative Methods in Communication
Dissertation Research (At least 20 hours and no more than 24 hours)

Students must complete required courses with a grade of B or better. 


The department advises students to take both COMM 502 and COMM 503.

  • Specialization: Students must develop expertise in one or more specialized subfields of communication. Specialties reflect the organization of the discipline in scholarly societies as well as the current interests and strengths of department faculty. Courses in one or more allied discipline are necessary for most specializations, and students normally take two courses in specific research techniques related to their chosen specialty.

  • Examinations
    • Departmental Qualifying Examination: None.
    • Preliminary Examination: Required; three calendar years after admission or upon completion of 40 semester hours (whichever comes first).
  • Dissertation Required.

Interdepartmental Concentrations

Students earning a graduate degree in this department may complement their courses by enrolling in select concentrations after consulting with their graduate advisor. Interdepartmental concentrations available for this degree include: