2020-21 COVID-19 Policies

On July 30, 2020, the Academic Senate decided that all undergraduate and graduate courses offered for a letter grade must also offer students the option of taking the course for a “credit” or “no credit”. With this new grading policy in effect for the 2020-21 academic year, the Department of Communication counts all courses taken in academic year 2020-21 with a grade of ‘CR’ (credit) or ‘S’ (satisfactory) towards satisfaction of graduate degree requirements that otherwise require a letter grade. 

Ph.D. Minor in Communication

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in other departments who elect a minor in Communication are required to complete a minimum of 20 units of graduate courses in the Department of Communication, including a total of three theory or research methods courses, and are examined by a representative of the department. The particular communication theory and methods courses are determined by a department advisor in consultation with the individual student.

Ph.D. in Communication

First-year students are required to complete introductory courses in communication theory and research, research methods, and statistics. These core courses are grounded in the social science literature emphasizing how people respond to media and how media institutions function. In addition, Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of three literature survey courses and related advanced seminars in Communication. Students also take significant coursework outside the department in their area of interest. Each student builds a research specialty relating communication to current faculty interests in such areas as ethics, information processing, online communities, law, human-computer interaction, politics and voting, virtual reality, information technology, and youth and media. Regardless of the area of specialization, the Ph.D. program is designed primarily for students interested in university research and teaching or other research or analyst positions.

The Ph.D. program encompasses five years of graduate study (subsequent to completion of the A.B. degree) during which, in addition to fulfilling University residency requirements, Ph.D. candidates are required to:

1. Complete all departmental course requirements listed below with grades of B+ or above with the exception of STATS 160 (‘B’ minimum) and an advanced methods course (‘B-‘ minimum). Required departmental courses include: COMM 206, COMM 208, COMM 301, COMM 311, COMM 314, COMM 317, and COMM 318.

2. Pass general qualifying examinations in the second academic year of study and pass a specialized area examination by the end of the fourth academic year of study.

3. Demonstrate proficiency in tools required in the area of research specialization. Identified with the advice of the faculty, such tools may include detailed theoretical knowledge, advanced statistical methods, computer programming, a foreign language, or other technical skills.

4. Complete at least two pre-dissertation research projects.

5. Teach or assist in teaching at least two courses offered by the Department of Communication, preferably two different courses, at least one of which is ideally a core undergraduate course (COMM 1A, 1B, 106, and 108).

6. Complete a dissertation proposal and proposal meeting approved by the dissertation committee.

7. Pass the University oral examination, which is a defense of the dissertation.

Because the multifaceted nature of the department makes it possible for the Ph.D. student to emphasize several areas of communication study, there tend to be several “typical” programs of coursework followed by students, depending on their specialties. Variation in coursework occurs after the first year of graduate study; the first year is devoted primarily to the “core” courses required of all doctoral students.

In addition, students must complete other advanced Communication theory and research courses preparatory to their particular specializations. Specification of these courses depends on (1) individual student needs to prepare for preliminary and area examination, and (2) the requirements of the particular area of emphasis chosen by the student.

Ph.D. candidacy is valid for five years.