Ph.D. Program of Study

The general aim of the Ph.D. program in Communication is to provide students with a rigorous course of study that will prepare them for careers in either the academic or commercial spheres. The curriculum is not directed toward either of these domains, but rather attempts to give students a breadth of scholarly training that will allow them to pursue either of these career paths.

Academic Sphere.  There is a very strong academic research component to communication. Persons with interests in communication are currently found on Communication faculties and in schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. Communication is an established academic area, as reflected in published research by faculty members in departments of Communication.

Commercial Sphere.  Many organizations realize the value of research in mass communication effects, advertising, audience analysis, and other areas of communication. They have created a significant number of positions in communication. At the middle and upper management level, these are often filled by people with Ph.D. degrees. Training for persons filling these positions is often obtained in programs which do not equally emphasize communication theory and methods. The Ph.D. program in Communication is designed to provide the student with strong knowledge of communication theory, coupled with very strong research skills. A graduate of this program can step into a commercial research position without facing a period of hit-or-miss “on-the-job” training.

Ph.D. Program Elements

Length of Program

The time required for completion for the Ph.D. program will differ, depending on the degree status of entering students, and the courses already completed by the student at the graduate or undergraduate level. It is expected that students entering with a master’s degree will require approximately four years to complete the requisite course work, pass qualifying exams, and then write and defend the dissertation. (Note that students who earn an M.A. degree from our own program will require approximately three years, having already taken some of the required coursework.) The final program of course work and research for a student is created in consultation with his/her academic advisory committee. This program takes into account the student’s prior coursework and career objectives.

Research Requirement

Students participate in at least two research projects mentored by faculty before beginning their dissertation. These projects provide students with the necessary research experience before beginning the independent research required by the dissertation. They also put students in a better position to enter the Ph.D. job market.

Elective Courses (9 credits)

The student, in consultation with the academic advisory committee, will take an additional 9 credits in an area chosen to provide breadth or specialized skills. Typical areas might be social/behavioral research, computer science, or specialized business or communication areas.

Qualifying Exams

After coursework is completed, students take a general exam. When they pass, they are considered “Ph.D. Candidates” or “A.B.D.” (all but dissertation).

Dissertation

An original research project designed by the student, approved by the advising committee.

Ph.D. Program Coursework Overview

Required for All Tracks

4 Required Methodology Courses:

COMM 5001 Introduction to Graduate Communication Research
COMM 5002 Communication Research Methods
COMM 5003 Advanced Communication Research Methods
COMM 5010 Theory Construction and Research Design

2 Elective Methodology Courses (choose two of the following, or similar with approval of committee) — one must be an advanced course (as indicated by *):

AH 6005 Multilevel Mediation and Moderation Modeling*
COMM 6001 Proseminar in Communication Research*
EPSY 6615 Structural Equation Modeling*
HDFS 5002 Special Topics: Longitudinal Methods*
HDFS 5005 Qualitative Research Methods
MKTG 6203 Quantitative Models in Marketing
NURS 6130 Intro to Qualitative Methods in Nursing
NURS 6165 Mixed Methods in Nursing Research
PSYC 5702 Field Research Methods
PSYC 5130 Causal Modeling in Social Psychology*
PSYC 5131 Meta-Analysis: Theory and Practice
PSYC 6130 Measurement and Scaling
SOCI 5231 Qualitative Methodology
STAT 5515 Design of Experiments

1 Directed Research Requirement:

COMM 6800 Seminar and Directed Research in Communication

3 Required Communication Theory Courses (determined by track—see options below)

5 Emphasis Area Courses (1 must be COMM; determined by track—see options below)

Substitutions to required courses may be possible for students who have already completed the required course(s) elsewhere with a grade of B or higher. In such cases, students may substitute a different course within the requirement area (e.g., methods, content, theory, etc.) with approval of the advising committee.

Note on Emphasis Area Courses: Students may add a secondary sub-track as their emphasis area by taking any of the required courses for the secondary track to complete the requirements for the emphasis area.

Ph.D. Program Tracks

Required Communication Theory Course Options (choose at least 3):

COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication (required)
COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research
COMM 5220 Group Communication Research
COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication

Emphasis Area Course Recommendations (choose 5 from theory course options above, course list below, or similar with approval of committee—1 must be COMM):

COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research
COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion
HDFS 5240 Aging: Personality and Social Interaction
HDFS 5250 Close Relationships
HDFS 5310 Patterns and Dynamics of Family Interaction
HDFS 5311 Theories of Family Development
PSYC 5101 Motivation
PSYC 5460 Social and Personality Development
PSYC 5500 Research Seminar in Language and Psychology
PSYC 5568 Psychology of Language
PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology
PSYC 5770 Current Topics in Social Psychology
PSYC 5612 Leadership in the Workplace
PSYC 6731 Person Perception
PSYC 6752 Interpersonal Relations
SOCI 5651 Seminar in the Family

Required Communication Theory Course Options (choose at least 3):

COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research
COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory
COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Communication Research
COMM 6850 Seminar in Marketing Communication (required)
MKTG 5115 Market-Driven Management
MKTG 6202 Advanced Seminar in Buyer Behavior

Emphasis Area Course Recommendations (choose 5 from theory course options above, course list below, or similar with approval of committee—1 must be COMM):

COMM 5120 Communication Campaigns
COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion
COMM 6895 Topics in Applied Communication Research
MKTG 5250 Marketing Research and Information Systems
MKTG 5640 Integrated Marketing Communications
MKTG 5625 Marketing for Global Competitiveness
MKTG 6210 Seminar in Theory and Practice in Marketing

Required Communication Theory Course Options (choose at least 3):

COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory (required)
COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research
COMM 5120 Communication Campaigns
COMM 5150 Crisis and Risk Communication
COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Communication Research
COMM 6895 Topics in Applied Communication Research

Emphasis Area Course Recommendations (choose 5 from theory course options above, course list below, or similar with approval of committee—1 must be COMM):

ANTH 5352 Medical Anthropology
COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research
COMM 5330 Children and Mass Media
GPAH 5319 Allied Health Education
POLS 5341 Public Opinion and American Democracy
POLS 5342 American Political Parties
POLS 5336 Comparative Political Communication
POLS 5386 Public Opinion and Public Policy
PSYC 5120 Health Psychology
PSYC 6733 Social Cognition
PSYC 5616 Human Judgment and Decision Process
PUBH 5400 Intro to Public Health
PUBH 5401 Principles of Epidemiology
PUBH 5404 Environmental Health
PUBH 5405 Social Foundations of Public Health
PUBH 5419 Public Health Agencies
PUBH 5430 Public Health Informatics
PUBH 5451 Maternal and Child Health Services
PUBH 5452 Injury and Violence Prevention
PUBH 5453 Chronic Disease Control
PUBH 5455 Health Education
PUBH 5462 International Health
PUBH 5473 Women, Public Health and Reproduction
PUBH 5474 Minority Health
PUBH 5475 Gerontological Health
SOCI 5453 Medical Sociology
SOCI 5801 Political Sociology
SOCI 5821 Social Movements
SOCI 5829 Social Change

Required Communication Theory Course Options (choose at least 3):

COMM 5660 Computer-Mediated Communication (required)
COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research
COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory
COMM 5640 Social Media Use and Effects
COMM 5650 Communication Technology and Society: Theory and Research

Emphasis Area Course Recommendations (choose 5 from theory course options above, course list below, or similar with approval of committee—1 must be COMM):

COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 5220 Group Communication Research
COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research
COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication
COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion
EPSY 5220 Introduction to Educational Technology
EPSY 5520 Instructional Design
EPSY 5530 Learning Theory
MKTG 5250 Marketing Research & Information System
MGMT5260 Management of Technology and Innovation
MKTG 5640 Integrated Marketing Communication
MKTG 5665 Digital Marketing
OPIM 5165 Management Information Systems
OPIM 5270 Systems Development
OPIM 5620 Managing and Controlling Information Systems
PSYC 5615 Human Factors
PSYC 5101 Motivation
PSYC 5620 Design and Analysis of Human-Machine Systems
PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology
PSYC 6731 Person Perception
PSYC 6752 Interpersonal Relations

Required Communication Theory Course Options (choose at least 3):

COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication (required)
COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research
COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory
COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion

Emphasis Area Course Recommendations (choose 5 from theory course options above, course list below, or similar with approval of committee—1 must be COMM):

COMM 5220 Group Communication Research
COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research
COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Communication
COMM 6850 Seminar in Marketing Communication Research
MKTG 410 Seminar in Theory and Practice in Marketing
MKTG 402 Advanced Seminar in Buyer Behavior
PSYC 5101 Motivation
PSYC 5701 Experimental Social Psychology
PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology
PSYC 5770 Current Topics in Social Psychology
PSYC 6732 Attitude Organization and Change
PSYC 6752 Interpersonal Relations

Required Communication Theory Course Options (choose at least 3):

COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research (required)
COMM 5120 Communication Campaigns
COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory
COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Communication Research
COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion

Emphasis Area Course Recommendations (choose 5 from theory course options above, course list below, or similar with approval of committee—1 must be COMM):

COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research
COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication
PHIL 5316 Seminar in the Philosophy of Social Science
PHIL 5317 Seminar in the Philosophy of Psychology
PSYC 5567 Memory and Cognition
PSYC 5613 Organizational Psychology
PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology
PSYC 6732 Attitude Organization and Change

Ph.D. Program Optional Specialty Areas

Additional recommendations for Emphasis Area Courses for students choosing to specialize in the following areas (can be applied to any track emphasis area requirements):

Health Communication

ANTH 5352 Medical Anthropology
COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research
COMM 5770 Health Communication
GPAH 5319 Allied Health Education
PSYC 5120 Health Psychology
PSYC 6733 Social Cognition
PSYC 5616 Human Judgment and Decision Process
PUBH 5400 Intro to Public Health
PUBH 5401 Principles of Epidemiology
PUBH 5404 Environmental Health
PUBH 5405 Social Foundations of Public Health
PUBH 5419 Public Health Agencies
PUBH 5430 Public Health Informatics
PUBH 5451 Maternal and Child Health Services
PUBH 5452 Injury and Violence Prevention
PUBH 5453 Chronic Disease Control
PUBH 5455 Health Education
PUBH 5462 International Health
PUBH 5473 Women, Public Health and Reproduction
PUBH 5474 Minority Health
PUBH 5475 Gerontological Health
SOCI 5453 Medical Sociology

Political Communication

POLS 5341 Public Opinion and American Democracy
POLS 5342 American Political Parties
POLS 5386 Public Opinion and Public Policy
POLS 5336 Comparative Political Communication
SOCI 5801 Political Sociology
SOCI 5821 Social Movements
SOCI 5829 Social Change