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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

As a matter of principle, the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences undertakes to adapt each program of study to the needs of each graduate student. We have relatively few requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. We do require that all teaching assistants participate in our teaching assistant training program and enroll in CAS 602, Supervised Experience in College Teaching, during their first year. In addition, every must student complete a specified course series in research ethics titled "SARI" and jointly administered by the Graduate School and the department. Finally, each student must complete an acceptable research methods course within the department and develop appropriate competencies in cognate disciplines relevant to his or her research. Beyond these expectations our presumption is that graduate students will determine with their graduate committees the specific programs of study that will best prepare them for their scholarly and professional careers.

With few exceptions, the requirements of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are identical to those of the Graduate School. In no instance do departmental requirements supersede those of the Graduate School. Each graduate student is responsible for ensuring that he or she meets all Graduate School requirements.

Minimum Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

  • At least 3 credits of course work in communication focusing on a research methodology relevant to the student's research area (appropriate course work to be designated by the student's committee)
  • A total of at least 36 course credits beyond the M.A.
  • At least 9 of these 36 total credits outside the Communication Arts and Sciences Department. When the candidate's adviser and committee consider it appropriate, course work completed in an M.A. program may be counted toward the 9 credits. If such course work is applied, the candidate is still expected to earn a minimum of 36 credits beyond the M.A. degree.
  • A minimum of 21 credits in communication arts and sciences beyond the M.A. degree.  A total of 6 independent research credits in communication [CAS 596] may be counted toward the 21-credit minimum. Credits earned with a member of the approved CAS Graduate Faculty who reside in a different department may be counted as "internal" or "external" credits at the discretion of an adviser and committee.
  • A candidacy examination in the student's second semester.
  • A written and oral comprehensive examination
  • A dissertation (see document)
  • An oral examination in defense of the dissertation
  • Satisfactory academic progress. Consistent with Graduate School regulations, a graduate student who fails to maintain satisfactory scholarship or to make acceptable progress in a degree program will be dropped from the program. Satisfactory progress for full-time students normally implies the completion of all degree requirements within a period not to exceed three consecutive calendar years. A cumulative grade-point average below 3.00 for any semester may be considered as evidence of unsatisfactory scholarship. Action to address this situation may be initiated by the department Head, the student's committee, or by the chairperson of the student's committee.

Download the Ph. D. option outline form here (DOC).

Download the Ph. D. option outline form here (PDF).