Jul 19, 2024  
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2015-2017 
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2015-2017 [Archived Catalog]

Communication Studies - PHD

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study by Academic Unit

Degree Title: Doctor of Philosophy

Program Name and Numbers: Communication Studies - PH5360, PH5361, PH5362

Department/Unit: School of Communication Studies

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Program Mission: Our mission is to observe, interpret, and evaluate communication behaviors and processes, with particular interests in the construction of messages and meanings. Across various contexts—interpersonal, organizational, and public—we strive to understand how communication affects identities, communities, and cultures, and to develop teacher-scholars who are effective and ethical.

Program Learning Objectives:

  • Able to describe and explain theories and principles of communication in general and in area(s) of specialization.
  • Able to conduct and publish complex scholarly research in human communication.
  • Able to read, critically evaluate, and apply research in human communication.
  • (As relevant given appointment with School and career plans) able to teach courses in area of specialization.
  • Competent in the professional practice(s) of the specialization.
  • Understands the expectations for teaching and engaging in research in the professional environment.

Program Overview

The Ph.D. program is designed for students who want to become excellent teachers, researchers, and consultants in the field of communication. The Ph.D. in Communication Studies is ranked by the National Research Council as high as third in the nation for quality of research and teaching. The Ph.D. also ranked fourth in the nation for the quality of the graduate student experience.

The School of Communication Studies expects its graduates to develop a specialist’s depth in the study of human communication as well as a generalist’s perspective.  All students complete a common set of core courses and then proceed to take specialized courses relevant to their professional objectives. 

The School offers the Ph.D. degree with primary areas of study in rhetoric and public culture, health communication, and relating and organizing. These areas combine existing research areas while adjusting to the contemporary trends in the communication discipline. Students select their primary and related areas of study in consultation with their program of study committee and with permission of the School’s graduate committee.

In the most recent ranking of doctoral programs by the National Communication Association, the health communication track and the organizational communication track were each ranked in the top 10, and the rhetoric and public culture track in the top 20.

Students with a strong background in communication studies or related disciplines are eligible to be selected as graduate assistants. Graduate assistants serve as instructors in basic courses, assist in teaching advanced courses, help with the forensics program, and/or assist faculty with various administrative and scholarly projects.


Rhetoric and public culture (PH5360): Students in the Rhetoric and Public Culture track tend to specialize in the study of contemporary discourses on issues ranging from politics to sports. Students are exposed to a wide range of rhetorical theorists, as well as many interdisciplinary theorists. Courses and research projects in this area seek to help us understand how we participate as advocates in society and enable us to become better advocates.

Health communication (PH5361): Students in the Health Communication track address topics ranging from narrative approaches to understanding health to health message effects. Faculty scholars in this area have developed meaningful connections with the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of Health Sciences and Professions, as well as several health related community advocacy organizations.

Relating and organizing (PH5362): Students in Relating and Organizing blend theory from both organizational communication and interpersonal communication to ask provocative questions about communication contexts ranging from traditional organizational settings to the classroom and more traditional interpersonal relationships.

Opportunities for Graduates: Students obtaining the Doctorate in Communication Studies tend to enter higher education or a variety of private, public, and non-profit positions required an advanced, research-oriented degree.

Link to Program: http://www.ohiocommstudies.com/graduate

Link to Program Handbook: http://www.ohiocommstudies.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/handbook2013.pdf

Graduation Requirements:

  1. 62 semester hours of non-dissertation credit
  2. An approved program of study. An approved program of study must meet the following minimum requirements:
    1. COMS Doctoral CORE: All doctoral students in the School of Communication Studies are required to complete coursework in communication theory, research methods, and professional development. This 18 credit hour core is comprised of COMS 7040: Research Design and Analysis I;COMS 7050: Research and Design and Analysis II; COMS 7020: Integrated Theory in Communications Studies I; COMS 7030: Integrated Theory in Communications Studies II; COMS 7000: Professional Seminar in Communication Studies: Pedagogy; COMS 7001: Professional Seminar in Communication Studies: Scholarly Writing
    2. Primary Area: 4 courses (min 15 credits) in a primary area approved by the student’s POS committee.
    3. Secondary Area: 3 courses (10 CH Min.) in a secondary specialization area approved by the student’s POS committee.
    4. Research Competency: 3 courses (10 CH Min.) of methods courses approved by the student’s POS Committee.
    5. Electives: 2 elective courses (6 CH Min.) approved by the student’s POS committee.
    6. Dissertation Credits: All students must successfully complete the dissertation to obtain the Ph.D. A minimum of 12 semester hours are expected, and most students will exceed that number.
  3. Successful completion of the preliminary examination
  4. Creation of a scholarly portfolio
  5. Successful completion of the dissertation

This entire process is expected to take approximately four years for full-time students.

Admission Requirements:

Admission to graduate study is granted on the basis of a match between the student’s academic goals and the School’s primary areas of study, recommendations of those familiar with the student’s academic and other work, undergraduate and graduate grade-point average and class standing, scores on the Graduate Record Examination, submitted writing sample, and experiential and other informal learning experiences. International students from non-English speaking countries are required to submit a TOEFL score.

To be admitted unconditionally, you must have received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree or completed equivalent work (as approved by the University) at an accredited institution.

Students holding a BA degree from an accredited institution and who show extraordinary potential as a graduate student can apply for direct admission to our doctoral program following normal admission procedures.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study by Academic Unit