The PhD in communication typically serves students interested in pursuing academic careers. Students are admitted to the PhD program after having completed an MA degree or equivalent.
PhD students generally specialize in one or more of the department's three main areas:
- community & social interaction
- organizational communication
- rhetoric & culture
Depending on the extent of the student's prior academic work in communication and their rate of progress, the degree can be achieved in three to four years. PhD students are expected to complete all degree requirements within six years from the semester in which they begin coursework in the doctoral program.
For application guidelines, visit the department's Admissions webpage.
All PhD students are required to take COMM 5210, COMM 6910 and two of three methods courses (COMM 5310, COMM 6020 and COMM 6030). PhD students entering without a background in communication must also take COMM 6010.
Beyond those specific requirements, PhD students develop expertise in four areas: broad-based background in communication, advanced expertise in a primary area of specialization, expertise in a secondary area of specialization and advanced expertise in a primary methodology.
Students' individual coursework requirements must be specified in a PhD plan of study document that is approved by their advisor and committee. A minimum of 54 graduate credit hours of coursework is required, plus 30 hours of dissertation credit, for a minimum total of 84 credit hours. At least 30 graduate credit hours of coursework must be in communication courses.
PhD students may transfer in a maximum of 12 credits from prior graduate coursework. Any graduate courses completed at CU Boulder (including courses completed for the master's in communication) can be applied to the PhD program if they are included in the student's approved PhD plan of study. Students may take a maximum of nine independent study and/or internship credit hours combined.
Students wishing to pursue graduate work toward this degree should carefully read the Graduate School requirements, review the coursework offered in this catalog and attend to the detailed degree requirements on the department website.
Required Courses and Credits
|COMM 5210||Readings in Communication Theory||3|
|COMM 5320||Readings in Rhetoric||3|
|COMM 6010||Communication Research and Theory ((required only of students without a background in Communication))||3|
|COMM 6020||Quantitative Research Methods||3|
|COMM 6030||Qualitative Research Methods||3|
|COMM 6910 - Communication Research & Theory Practicum (Pending Final Approval)|
|Primary Area of Specialization|
|This requirement is satisfied by taking courses, seminars and/or independent studies (including those outside the department) in the primary specialty declared in the student's approved PhD plan of study.|
|Secondary Area of Specialization|
|This requirement is satisfied by taking courses, seminars and/or independent studies (including those outside the department) in the student's approved PhD plan of study.|
|This requirement is satisfied by taking methodology courses in communication and/or cognate disciplines; methodological expertise also can be developed through independent studies and participation in research projects. 1|
The methodology may be primarily qualitative (e.g., discourse analysis, ethnography and/or rhetorical criticism) or quantitative (e.g., experimental, survey, content analysis and/or interaction analysis), or it may include a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. Although the PhD program requires that students choose two of the three methods courses that are offered, those seeking to claim a scholarly identity as a social scientist (as opposed to a humanist) are strongly encouraged to take both the quantitative (COMM 6020) and qualitative (COMM 6030) research methods courses.