The doctoral program is designed to provide students with the requisite foundation in theory as well as research skills for using communication to make positive change at the societal, community, and individual levels. The program allows learning across content and creative areas, methodological orientations, and platforms of expression for engaged scholarship and immersive experience, globally and locally. You will engage with communication theory, research, and practice using advocacy and storytelling, with particular attention to new and social media for social and behavioral change. This will be your niche: conducting research, engaging in immersive experience, and translating these into evaluation-based practice for the well being of community, society and the world.

The program includes field research experience and the teaching, writing, and media skills necessary for a career in higher education, research institutions, non-profits, government organizations, media, business, and industry. You may choose from health, environmental, international, intercultural and organizational communication as well as from journalism studies and media development to create an appropriate combination for your career goals.

Curriculum Requirements

For the doctoral program, students must complete 57 credit hours of course work beyond the master’s degree; 12 of the 57 credit hours must be dissertation credit hours. Doctoral students cannot take intersession courses. The case for exceptions should be made by department chair/adviser and student to the Graduate Admissions and Curriculum Committee.

Required Core Courses
COM 601Theories of Communication3
COM 602Methods of Communication Research3
COM 603Qualitative Research Methodologies3
COM 604Advanced Communication Research Methods and Statistics3
COM 609Special Topics in Communication 13
COM 695Directed Readings 13
COM 698Independent Research 13
School of Communication Electives9-12
Courses outside the School of Communication12-15
Dissertation 2
COM 830Doctoral Dissertation1-12
Oral Qualifying Examinations 3
Total Credit Hours57

Students must take a minimum of 9 credit hours in COM 609 and/or COM 695/COM 698 or any combination of the three. Students are allowed to take up to 6 credit hours of Directed Readings/Independent Research in total.


The dissertation committee may be the same as the student’s qualifying exams committee. The guidelines for the composition of the dissertation committee are the same as those for the qualifying exams committee. Students must complete 12 dissertation credit hours. These credit hours begin after students have successfully completed their qualifying exams. Students are required to defend a dissertation proposal to the dissertation committee. Students may proceed with the dissertation once the proposal has been approved by the committee and accepted by the director of graduate studies. The dissertation must be an investigation of a substantial scholarly topic and must be defended orally in the presence of the dissertation committee. Students should note that they cannot conduct human subjects research without approval from the University of Miami’s Institutional Review Board.


All School of Communication Ph.D. students will take written and oral qualifying examinations following the conclusion of all course work prior to being admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. A student who fails the exam is given one opportunity to retake it with the permission of the exam committee and must pass it within one calendar year of failing the first exam. Any student who fails to be admitted to candidacy for the degree within this one-year period will be dismissed from the program. To be admitted to candidacy, students must have successfully completed qualifying exams and received approval from the department chair, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and have submitted all original transcripts and standardized test results. A qualifying exams committee consists of a minimum of four members including the chair.