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Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Studies

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Concentration in Communication Studies

Requirements include:

1. COMS 859, COMS 958, and COMS 959 under Basic Communication Theory (9 hours)

  • COMS 859 is waived for students with the M.A. in communication.

2. A minimum of 27 hours of additional subject matter courses:

  • (a) These courses must represent 2 emphases.
  • (b) These areas are developed by the student in consultation with the adviser and the director of graduate study.
  • (c) If a student holds a master’s degree in communication studies (or equivalent), appropriate course work from this degree may be used to fulfill the subject matter course requirements. However, the total number of hours from the M.A. program used to satisfy items 2c, 3, and 4 must not exceed 24 hours.

3. 18 hours of electives

  • Electives may be chosen from another department or any phase of the program. The 18 hours need not be all in the same department. They may be used to broaden or intensify the program, as long as they constitute a meaningful course of study. Only 6 hours may be in independent study. Students with master’s degrees from other universities satisfy this requirement with 18 hours from their master’s programs.

4. A minimum of 15 hours of research methodology:

  • (a) Courses required of all students:
    COMS 851 Communication Research: Historical and Descriptive (3) or
     – COMS 852 Communication Research: Experimentation and Quantitative Analysis (3)
  • (b) Choose 12 additional hours appropriate to the student’s research/dissertation interest. A list of approved courses is provided below.

In lieu of 3 hours of methodological course work, a student may elect to enroll in 3 hours of applied research in which he or she produces original research using one of the above methods. The final paper must meet the approval of the student’s adviser and must be submitted to a professional society for presentation on a convention program or to a professional journal for possible publication.

In lieu of 3 hours of methodological course work, a student may elect to demonstrate a high level of writing competence in one foreign language if she or he can show that knowledge of this language directly relates to his or her research and academic interests. Competence levels are determined through consultation with the appropriate language department or program.

5. Ph.D. dissertation (18 or more hours).

6. Satisfactory completion of the oral and written comprehensive examination.

7. Final oral examination.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

Approved Methodology Courses

The following lists identify methods courses taught in and outside of the department for the 3 areas of methods trainings: rhetorical, qualitative, and quantitative. The faculty of the Communication Studies Department agrees that these courses qualify as methods courses toward the course requirements for doctoral candidates.

Three caveats:

  1. These lists are not comprehensive. Other courses may count as methods courses provided the student receives approval from the adviser.
  2. The courses on these lists are not required. These are recommended courses for training in each methods type.
  3. All methods courses should be chosen with the adviser's input.

Rhetorical methods courses include but are not limited to:

  • COMS 851 Historical and Descriptive Research Methods
  • COMS 930 Postmodern Rhetorical Theories
  • COMS 930 Contemporary Theories in Public Address
  • COMS 951 Seminar in Movement Theory and Genre Criticism
  • COMS 952 Seminar in Mythic and Narrative Approaches to Rhetorical Criticism
  • COMS 955 Seminar in Rhetorical Criticism

Please consult with your adviser and other relevant faculty members about courses that may meet the research methods requirement. Courses that may be used to meet a Methods requirement instead of Theory, because they involve systematic and explicit reflection on research methods including appropriate research questions, objects of study, and units of analysis include:

Courses outside of COMS may qualify as a rhetorical methods course subject to adviser approval.

In Department Qualitative Methods Courses

It is recommended that graduate students complete COMS 855 prior to taking qualitative methods courses outside of Communication Studies

Qualitative Methods Graduate Courses at KU that are Not in Communication Studies:

Courses with an asterisk have been recommended by our graduate students or affiliate faculty. The others are listed in the graduate catalogue but may or may not be taught and/or really appropriate for our students.

American Studies:
*AMS 803 American Studies Research Methods
*AMS 998  U.S. Ethnography (special topics)

*ANTH 783 'Doing Ethnography'
ANTH 786 Ethnographic Documentary Production

JOURN 829 Marketing Communications Research

*NRSG 802 Methods for Qualitative Research (Taught online)

Political Science:
POLS 708 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods

Public Administration:
PUAD 937 Qualitative Methods in Public Administration

SOC 813 Field Methods and Participant Observation

In Department Quantitative Methods Course

COMS 856 Quantitative Methods

It is recommended that graduate students complete COMS 856 prior to taking quantitative methods courses outside of Communication Studies

Introductory Outside COMS Quantitative Courses

PSYCH 790 Statistical Methods in Psychology or
PRE 810 Regression Analysis

PSYCH 818 Experimental Research Methods

PRE 811 Analysis of Variance

Advanced Outside COMS Quantitative Courses

PSYCH 791 Statistical Methods in Psychology II

PSYCH 887 Factor Analysis

PSYCH 893 Multivariate analysis

PSYCH 894 Multilevel Modeling

PRE 940 Multilevel Modeling

PSYCH 896 Structural Equation Modeling I

PSYCH 996 Structural Equation Modeling II

For descriptions of all quantitative psychology courses:


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