Academic Catalog

Communication (Ph.D.)

At the Ph.D. level the primary aim of the Department is to help students develop the theoretical basis and the analytical and research skills necessary for scholarly inquiry into various communication acts, processes, and contexts. Courses in the Department are designed to serve several specific purposes:

  1. To promote research and study into all aspects of communication process and effects.
  2. To provide intensive inquiry into communication areas such as computer-mediated communication, critical and cultural studies, dispute resolution, health and risk communication, interpersonal communication, journalism studies, media effects, media studies, organizational communication, public relations, and rhetorical theory and criticism.
  3. To prepare students for communication related careers in public service organizations and private business.
  4. To prepare communication educators.

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. Admission to the Department's Ph.D. program is competitive and is based on an applicant's entire academic record; requirements stated below are minimum standards for consideration and do not guarantee admission. The Department requires an M.A. degree in communication or a related field, with a minimum 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. In those instances where an applicant's M.A. is not communication-related, or there are fewer than fifteen semester credits in communication, the applicant may be admitted to the department's master's degree program until such time as sufficient background for doctoral study is demonstrated. The determination of sufficiency is rendered at an appropriate time by the Director of Graduate Studies, normally after the completion of 12 to 15 graduate hours in communication.

Application: There are six parts to the Ph.D. application process including submission of the following:

  1. The Application for Graduate Admission
  2. Three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess the applicant's scholarly potential
  3. A two- to three-page statement of the applicant's academic interests and professional goals identifying faculty with whom the applicant would like to work
  4. A sample of sole-authored written scholarship, such as a research paper or a master's thesis
  5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (minimum 50th percentile required). International students are also required to submit scores from Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (minimum 100 on Internet-based Test required) or equivalent tests
  6. Official transcripts from each college and university previously attended.

An academic curriculum vitae or professional resume is recommended but not required.

Doctoral students are admitted for the fall semester only. The deadline for the first round of admissions is January 15. Application materials are submitted online through Graduate Admissions. Current Wayne State University graduate students must also apply online through Graduate Admissions and submit a Change of Graduate Status form with the application.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Doctoral degree requirements consist of a minimum of ninety credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, thirty of which must be earned as dissertation credit. The thirty credit dissertation registration requirement is fulfilled by registering for the courses COM 9991, COM 9992, COM 9993, and COM 9994 (Doctoral Dissertation Research and Direction I, II, III, and IV, respectively), in consecutive academic year semesters. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts.

All students must complete COM 8000: Introduction to Ph.D. Studies in Communication in the first semester of coursework with a grade of B or better. Students must also complete COM 7810: Seminar in Communication Education in their first semester of coursework, but this can be waived. The student's Coursework Worksheet and Plan of Work must be developed in consultation with the advisor; the Worksheet must be filed within the first eighteen credits and the Plan of Work within the first twenty-seven credits of study.

Additional requirements include:

  • Minimum five Tool/Methods courses. Up to two graduate-level transfer courses may be applied, but these will not count toward the required minimum sixty credits of coursework. Foreign language reading and writing proficiency as determined by appropriate tests can count as one Tool course, if the adviser judges the language directly relevant to the dissertation project.
  • Minimum four Content courses in the Department of Communication that together constitute a research area specialization
  • Additional Elective Content courses as needed to achieve minimum sixty credits of coursework (includes up to thirty credits transferred from prior graduate-level coursework, if applicable).
  • Content courses (minimum nine credits) outside the Department of Communication that together constitute a Minor/Cognate.
  • Minimum thirty dissertation credits (COM 9991, COM 9992, COM 9993, COM 9994, each seven and half credits, to be taken in consecutive semesters).
  • Successful completion of the written and oral parts of the Qualifying Examination.
  • Successful presentation and defense of the Dissertation Prospectus.
  • Successful presentation and defense of the Doctoral Dissertation.
Back to top