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The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication offers a transdisciplinary graduate program leading to a Ph.D. in communication.
This program provides coursework and resources in interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, organizational communication, health communication, rhetoric, and performance studies. Students receive training in communication theory, research methodology, and multiple areas of emphasis. They can also actively participate in one or more of the school’s research collaboratives.
The program is designed to meet the needs of students whose interests transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and to prepare scholars for research-oriented careers in universities and in the public or private sectors.
The 66-hour program of study includes a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus, and a dissertation.
For students who have completed only the bachelor's degree prior to admission, a minimum of 96 hours of graduate work is required, with the last 66 hours duplicating the requirements for those students admitted with a master's degree.
What We Study includes interpersonal communication, organizational communication, intercultural communication, rhetoric, performance studies, and health communication.
Research Collaboratives include Health Communication (HCI), Strategic Communication (Center for Strategic Communication), Civil-Critical-Creative Communication (I4C Collective), Intercultural Communication and Global Engagement Interest Group (ICGlobal), and The Transformation Project.
The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program In Communication application process is completed online through ASU Graduate Admissions. Prospective students must submit the admission application form online, along with the fee and official transcripts.
All application materials are due by January 5 each year for fall admission consideration. We do not have spring admissions in our program.
"The opportunities are endless in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. I have been able to teach a variety of courses, take seminars and modules in different topic areas and methodologies, collaborate with our initiatives and research teams, and explore other department's courses offered at ASU. The best thing about these opportunities is that our faculty, instructors, and department staff serve as guiding lights and mentors. Here, opportunity is coated in support."
Nikki Truscelli, Graduate Teaching Associate, Communication
The interdisciplinary nature of the degree and breadth of faculty expertise allow students to design a plan of study geared towards their area of interest and in line with future career plans. Students develop a plan with the guidance of their principal advisor and their supervisory committee. The program allows specialization in traditional areas of communication study while meeting the needs of students whose interests transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries.
|Requirements and electives||Hours|
|Total hours required (beyond a Master's degree)||66|
Each student will develop an individualized plan of study based on professional interests and goals. A proposed plan for the degree will be developed by the student with the direct guidance of a principal advisor and the student's supervisory committee.
The interdisciplinary nature of the degree and the breadth of faculty expertise allow students to design individual plans of study geared toward specialized topics in human communication. The program, therefore, is designed to meet the needs of students whose interests transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and whose records indicate the capability to pursue such studies.
A required core sequence of a theory and methodology course(s) will be taken early in each student's program. To complete the core, all students entering the program must take:
All students must also take two or more of the following methodology course(s):
All students must have 24 hours of COM 691 seminars.
Three 1-hour COM 692 Methods module courses can add up and count as a 3-credit COM 691 seminar (this can only be done once).
COM 691 Seminar, selected semesters (1-12): A small class emphasizing discussion, presentations by students, and written research papers.
Previous topics include:
Students will choose 6 credit hours of graduate coursework from disciplines outside of communication.
Must have 9 credit hours of "other" coursework (can be COM classes or outside of COM, but not 792 or 799).
During the third or fourth year of doctoral studies, the student concentrates much of his or her effort on a scholarly review of the areas of communication. The student works with at least three faculty committee members to put together a reading list upon which the comprehensive exams, (written and oral), are based. The student completes 8 hours of "closed-book" written exam and 16 hours of "open-book" written exam, completed within one calendar week. The oral exam is conducted after the conclusion of the written exam and serves to clarify the student's answers to the written questions. Often, the literature review that the student conducts during this time period becomes the basis of the doctoral dissertation.
Students must take 6 credit hours of COM 792 (*Friday Forum and Seminar Assistant are required).
The doctoral dissertation is an extensive piece of original research that demonstrates the capability of the student to act as an independent scholar and use experimental methods. The dissertation is closely supervised by the research advisor and at least two additional faculty members who constitute the dissertation committee. There are three components. First, the student writes a formal dissertation proposal and defends it to the committee. After the proposal defense, the student is admitted to Ph.D. candidacy by the Graduate College. Second, following data collection, there is a “data meeting” at which the analysis is reviewed by the committee. The process culminates with the student’s defense of the dissertation before the committee and the academic community.
COM 799 Dissertation, selected semesters (1-15): Supervised research focused on the preparation of a dissertation, including literature review, research, data collection and analysis, and writing.