Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 48

Required Courses:

Core Courses
MMC 8985Teaching in Higher Education: Communications3
MMC 9001Communication Theory I3
MMC 9002Researching Communication I3
MMC 9003Doctoral Colloquium1
MMC 9005Colloquium II (2 terms)2
MMC 9101Communication Theory II3
MMC 9102Researching Communication II3
Advanced Research Methods Course 13
Electives 221
Research Courses 36
MMC 9994
Preliminary Examination Preparation
MMC 9998
Pre-Dissertation Research
MMC 9999
Dissertation Research
Total Credit Hours48

Culminating Events:
Preliminary Examinations:
Under the direction of an approved faculty committee, the Ph.D. student must satisfactorily complete written and oral examinations prior to achieving formal Ph.D. candidacy. Areas of examination and the constituency of the committee are tailored to the individual student. The subject areas are determined, in advance, by the student and her/his Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC). The examinations consist of essay questions in three areas written by the members of the student's DAC. The exams are designed to demonstrate the student's critical and interpretive knowledge of specialized areas of media and communication. The exams evaluate the student's ability to apply specific research foci to related issues in the discipline.

The preliminary examinations should be taken no more than one term after the student completes the coursework component of the program. Students who are preparing to write their preliminary examinations should confirm a date and time with the chair of their DAC and register this information with Klein's Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The student and chair receive confirmation of the date, time, and, where applicable, room and proctor for the examinations. The examinations are defended orally approximately three weeks after they are written. They must be completed before the student defends her/his dissertation proposal.

The DAC evaluates the examinations. The student must answer every question in order to be evaluated. The evaluators look for breadth and depth of understanding of specific research areas; a critical application of that knowledge to specific media and communication issues; and an ability to write technical prose in a manner consistent with media and communication research. Each committee member votes to pass or fail the student. In order to pass, a majority of the committee members must agree that the exams have been satisfactorily completed.

With the guidance of her/his academic advisor, who is a member of the Media and Communication faculty, and at least two other committee members, the student proposes, conducts, and creates a written report of an original, theoretically motivated research project. The proposal should consist of the context and background surrounding a particular research problem; identification of the theoretical and, if relevant, practical importance of the problem; an exhaustive survey and review of literature related to the problem; and a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem. The proposal should be completed and approved no more than one term after the student completes coursework. It cannot be defended before the preliminary examinations are taken. Upon approval, a timeline for completing the investigation and writing process is established.

The doctoral dissertation is an original empirical study that makes a significant contribution to the field of media and communication. It should expand the existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's knowledge of both research methods and her/his primary area of interest. Dissertations should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standards of the communication field; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the primary area of interest and the broader field of media and communication; and be prepared for publication in a professional journal.

The DAC oversees the student's dissertation research and is comprised of at least three graduate faculty members. Two members, including the chair, must be from the Media and Communication program. Committee compositions must be approved by the Media and Communication faculty. The chair is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress, coordinating the responses of the DAC members, and informing the student of her/his academic progress.

The Dissertation Examining Committee (DEC) evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. This committee is composed of the DAC and at least one additional graduate faculty member from outside the Media and Communication program. The outside examiner should be identified no later than the beginning of the term in which the student will defend the dissertation. The DEC evaluates the student's ability to express verbally her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. DEC members vote to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

If a student needs to change a member of a committee, the new member must be approved by the program's faculty and registered with Klein's Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a date and time with their DEC members and register with Klein's Office of Research and Graduate Studies at least 15 days before the defense. The date, time, and room are arranged within two working days, and the student is forwarded the appropriate forms. After the defense has been set, the student must send a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” to the Graduate School at least 10 days before the defense. The Media and Communication program announces the defense via e-mail.