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. 

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


The mission of the Doctor of Philosophy program in Communication is to provide students with a rigorous advanced education and field experience in communication theory, concepts and practice as well as in qualitative and quantitative research methods.


The expected outcome from this education and experience is that students and graduates will be able to conduct original research, translate it into practice, and teach effectively.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of communication theory, research methods, and their areas of specialization.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to propose and implement original research and present and defend the research in academic and professional contexts. They will demonstrate effective written communication, oral communication, and critical thinking skills.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to teach undergraduate communication courses independently.