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Communication, PHD

At a Glance: program details

You could be conducting innovative and socially embedded research on local, national and global issues, research that contributes to a more peaceful, prosperous and equitable future. Enjoy a supportive and dynamic environment of interdisciplinary training and research and teaching opportunities, 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 critical-cultural communication and rhetoric, health communication, intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication 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.

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 96 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

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
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 this degree; 66 credit hours are required beyond an appropriate master's degree.

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

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 first 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.

Applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. resume or curriculum vitae
  4. statement of goals
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. writing sample
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Most commonly, students enter with a research-based MA in which they have completed a master's thesis.

Applicants should visit the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication website for further details.

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Application Deadlines



Session A/C
In Person
January 5th

Career Opportunities

A doctoral degree in communication opens doors to a variety of careers in research, teaching, training and consulting. Graduates typically obtain jobs in research and teaching institutions that range from large research universities to four-year teaching schools and community colleges. A number of career opportunities appear in government agencies and organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit.

Graduates have obtained jobs as:

  • academic administrators
  • academic advisors
  • campaign managers
  • consultants
  • policy advocates
  • professors
  • program directors
  • researchers

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Program Contact Information

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