PHD Communication

You could be conducting innovative and socially embedded research on local, national and global issues that contributes to a more peaceful, prosperous and equitable future. Enjoy the supportive and dynamic environment of interdisciplinary training, research and teaching opportunities available to you in this program, all guided by award-winning faculty.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Communication

The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication offers a transdisciplinary graduate program leading to the PhD 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, and they actively participate in one or more of the School's collaborative research initiatives.

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.

Graduate Students Speak about the Communication PhD

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Required Core (9 credit hours)
COM 604 Theory Construction in Communication (3)
Choose two:
COM 607 Contemporary Rhetorical Methods (3)
COM 608 Multivariate Statistical Analysis of Data in Communication (3)
COM 609 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods in Communication (3)

Electives (45 credit hours*)

Other Requirements (24 credit hours**)
COM 691 Seminar (24)

Research (6 credit hours)
COM 792 Research (6)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
COM 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information

At least six elective credit hours must be coursework outside of the communication field.

*When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for the electives; 66 credit hours are required beyond an appropriate master's degree.

**When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows students to substitute three 1-unit COM 692 module classes for one 3-unit COM 691 seminar on their plan of study.

Doctoral Program Course Descriptions and Sample Syllabi

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Application Deadline:

The application window to be considered for Fall admission (and TA funding) is September 1 through January 5 each year. Note that we admit for Fall start date only (we do not have Spring entry into our program). The Admissions Committee reviews all applications after the deadline and students are typically notified by the end of February.

Required Materials

Applicants must submit all of the following materials by the deadline (January 5) in order for the Hugh Downs School Admissions Committee to consider their application:

  1. ASU Graduate Application.
  2. Transcripts (Note: Unofficial transcripts are accepted by Graduate Admission during the application process; official transcripts will be required if you are accepted to the program. ASU transcripts do not need to be sent.)
  3. $70 ($115 for international applications) application fee.
  4. International students also must meet English language proficiency requirements.
  5. Formal curriculum vitae (or résumé).
  6. Personal statement of career goals and the relevance of this program to those goals.
  7. Sample of writing, preferably scholarly (e.g., master’s thesis chapter, undergraduate honors thesis, or course paper).
  8. Three letters of recommendation must be sent directly from the recommenders via email to At least two of these should be academic.
  9. Indication of interest in a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (if an assistantship is desired) on the supplemental online application (a separate form is not necessary, as there is a Yes/No question regarding assistantships on the supplemental application).

Additional information regarding University requirements and the application itself is available through ASU Admission Services.

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Program Contact Information

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