Degree Requirements - Doctoral

 Curricular Requirements

Doctoral students must complete:
1) 18 hours required in core curriculum -- see subsection a and b below
2) 27 hours in their major areas of study, including at least one independent research course
3) 12 hours of dissertation work
*The student's academic committee must approve all coursework. A student's doctoral committee may require more courses if the student's background or goals necessitate additional study. 

Students may elect to take up to 9 hours outside of Communication Studies. 

Students 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 master's 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.

Core courses (18 hours)

Rhetoric track. Students in this track will take these core courses:

  • CMS 600: Communication Theory and Research
  • CMS 720: Introduction to Graduate Research
  • CMS xxx: Qualitative Methods
  • CMS 735: Rhetorical Theory
  • CMS 740: Rhetorical Criticism 
  • An additional methods elective

Applied track. Students in this track will take these core courses:

  • CMS 600: Communication Theory and Research
  • CMS 720: Introduction to Graduate Research
  • CMS xxx: Qualitative Methods
  • CMS 722: Research Methods
  • Two additional 700-level statistics courses

*Students may take REF 602: Introduction to Educational Statistics as needed, but it will not count toward the student's program of study, serving only as preparation for taking a higher level statistics course.  

Major Areas of Study (27 hours)

A minimum of twenty-seven additional hours of elective coursework is required. Students normally may take no more than 6 hours of CMS 692 or 792 Special Problems. 

Electives (24 hours)

Students in conjunction with their committee select these courses to provide substantive preparation in their selected specialization area. 

Independent research (3 hours)

Students must complete an independent research project that involves an in-depth examination of an area of communication research. This involves a review of literature on a selected topic and also involves the completion of a study based on some form of data. The paper reporting on this research must be accepted as "publishable" by the student's Ph.D. committee. Standards faculty use to assess an essay include: 

  • The essay contributes (or has the potential to contribute) something new and significant to the discipline
  • The essay shows an accurate and thorough understanding of relevant literature
  • The essay effectively applies and justifies an appropriate methodology
  • The essay is well written. 

Dissertation (12 hours). The student must enroll for at least 12 hours of dissertation credit (CMS 898) as detailed below. 

Additional Requirements

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Grades.  The student must obtain a 3.0 GPA over all doctoral coursework for graduation
  • Professional Development Seminar presentations.  Students must make two presentations to the department’s Professional Development seminar (see Graduate Handbook). 
  • 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. 
  • 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 (updates coming):  grad_handbook_16-17.docx