Degree Requirements - Doctoral


 ** Please note that the department is in the process of changing curricular requirements for the doctorate.  Students will have more flexibility to declare a concentration in either applied communication or rhetoric.  

I.  Curricular Requirements.

Doctoral students must complete: 1) a 6-hour theory core; 2) 15 hours of required and optional research methods courses; 3) 24-hours in their major areas of study, including at least one independent research course; and, 4) 12-hours of dissertation work.  Students coming into the program without previous coursework in communication must complete additional requirements: 1) students without either an undergraduate degree or master’s degree in communication must take an additional 30 hours of coursework; 2) students with an undergraduate degree in communication and a masters degree in a discipline other than communication must take an additional 15 hours of coursework.  Students whose master’s degrees are in related areas can request a reduction of these additional requirements based upon the comparability of prior coursework.  The student’s academic committee can approve reductions in these supplemental course requirements only after examining the student’s transcript and the content of specific courses previously taken by the student. 

a.  Theory Core.  (6 hours)  A two-course theory core is required of all doctoral students: CMS 600 – Speech Communication Theory and Research and CMS 735 – Rhetorical Theory. Equivalent courses taken at the masters level may be accepted, pending approval of the student’s academic committee.  Students may be allowed to substitute more appropriate, non-redundant courses.

b.  Methods. (15 hours).   All students are required to take CMS 720: Introduction to Graduate Research, CMS 722: Communication Research Methods, and an introductory quantitative methods course.  Students must take 2 additional research methods classes appropriate to their academic interests.  Students may be allowed to substitute more appropriate, non-redundant courses.  Equivalent courses taken at the masters level may be accepted, pending approval of the student’s academic committee.  Students may be allowed to substitute more appropriate, non-redundant courses.

c. Major Areas of Study (24 hours).   A minimum of twenty-four additional hours of elective coursework is required.  A student’s doctoral committee may require more courses if the student’s background (see above) or goals necessitate additional study.  Students may take no more than 6 hours of CMS 692 or 792 Special Problems.  The student’s academic committee must approve all coursework. 

1. Electives (18-21 hours).  Students in conjunction with their committee select these courses to provide the substantive background in our discipline.  At least 12 of these hours must be within the department.

2.  Independent research (3-6 hours).  Students must complete an independent research project that involves an in-depth examination of an area of communication research. Minimally this involves a comprehensive review of literature on a selected topic but may also involve the completion of a study based on some form of data. Generally the difference between taking 3 or 6 hours of CMS 792 depends on whether the student completes only the first or both of these two goals.

d.  Dissertation (12 hours).  The student must enroll for at least 12 hour of dissertation credit (CMS 898) as detailed in the Graduate Handbook


II.  Additional Requirements

a. Continuous enrollment. Students must adhere to the university’s continuous enrollment requirement.  See the current Graduate Bulletin for details.  In brief, students should be continuously enrolled while pursuing the doctoral degree.  Students must register every spring and fall semester after completing the comprehensive exam until degree requirements have been completed. The Department of Speech Communication requires that students register for at least 3 hours of CMS 898 during any semester the student works with a professor on the dissertation. Students using other university resources such as the library can register for 1 credit hour of CMS 898. 

b. Comprehensive exam.  The student takes a rigorous written and oral examination in order to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge about speech communication.  See details in the Graduate Handbook.

c. Grades.  The student must obtain a 3.0 GPA over all doctoral coursework for graduation

d. Professional Development Seminar presentations.  Students must make two presentations to the department’s Professional Development seminar (see Graduate Handbook). 

e. Residency.  Students must meet the residency requirements specified in the current Graduate Bulletin.  Normally this is met by two consecutive terms in which the student enrolls for 12 hours or three consecutive terms enrolling for 9 hours. 

f.  Time Limit.  Students must complete their comprehensive exam within 6 years of their initial enrollment in the doctoral program and successfully defend their dissertation within 8 years. 


Graduate Handbook 2014:  gradhandbook2014.doc