Communication Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

The program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed to prepare qualified students for college and university teaching and for careers in communication research. The program emphasizes communication theory, research methods, and the application of knowledge in the field to identify, analyze and propose solutions for communication problems. The program requires at least three academic years of full-time study and research or the equivalent over a longer period beyond the baccalaureate.

Students entering the program with a Bachelor’s degree (having not yet earned a Master’s degree) are required to take a minimum of 60 credits, distributed as follows below, along with successful completion of a qualifying exam and a dissertation. Items in A1 below should be completed within the first two years of the program.

Doctoral students are required to complete a plan of study indicating a projected pathway to a program specialization and cognate, to be determined in negotiation between each student and his/her advisory committee.

A. Required Coursework

The core, substantive area, cognate area, electives, and guided research project require a minimum of 60 credits for completion.

  1. Core Courses (18 credits)
    Consists of 3 theory courses and 3 methods courses
    1. Theory courses (9 credits)
      Communication Theory (Com 502)
      Persuasion/Message Design and Social Influence (Com 503)
      Additional advanced theory course (to be selected in consultation with advisor)
    2. Methods courses (9 credits)
      Communication methods (Com 525)
      2 additional methods courses: quantitative and/or qualitative

      *Qualitative methods may be satisfied with Qualitative Research Methods (Com 580), Field Research Methods (Com 587), Conversation Analysis (Com 585), Qualitative Research Techniques (Soc 535), and Field Methods in Ethnology (Ant 608). Quantitative methods may be satisfied with Research Methods (Soc 509), Intermediate Stats (Soc 522), Multivariate Analysis (Soc 609), Survey Design and Analysis (Soc 626), Empirical Data Analysis (Pos 517), Regression Analysis (Pos 518), and Advanced Statistical Methods (Pos 519).
  2. Breadth Courses (6 credits)
    1. This requirement ensures that students become familiar with 1 or 2 other fields of study in the communication discipline beyond that represented by the substantive area. Courses fulfilling this requirement are designated by the Director of Graduate Studies, selected from courses such as: Theories and Research in Public Organizational Communication (COM 551), Interpersonal Interaction (COM 575), Culture and Communication (COM 577), Theories and Research in Political Communication (COM 520), Introduction to Health Communication (COM 560). (Note that these courses may not be double counted to fulfill other requirements.)
  3. Substantive area (15 credits, at least 12 of which are within the Department)
    The substantive area will be defined in consultation between students and their faculty advisers. Fields of study historically associated with the discipline of communication and represented in this department are: interpersonal/intercultural communication, organizational communication, political communication, health communication, and communication technologies.
  4. Cognate area (9 credits)
    The cognate area consists of coursework related to or supportive of students’ substantive areas, consisting of courses in or outside department; courses are selected in consultation with students’ doctoral advisors.
  5. Guided Research Project (6 credits)
    Doctoral students must complete a 6 credit guided research project (courses COM 697A and 697B). This is typically a two-semester commitment. It is generally recommended that students complete their guided research project during the third and fourth semesters of study. An M.A. thesis completed elsewhere does not necessarily exempt a student from the guided research project requirement; this will be determined during approval of the student's Plan of Study. Students who have completed a guided research project during their M.A. coursework at the University at Albany may transfer the credits may transfer the credits. Internship practicum credits from the M.A. in Communication cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.
  6. Electives (6 credits)
    Electives inside and outside of the department, including independent studies, as advised.

B. Other Program Requirements

  1. Proseminar (Participation required until coursework is completed; not credit bearing.) These are weekly research discussions with faculty during the academic year; participation is expected until the student completes coursework.
  2. Doctoral Comprehensive Exam: Students must pass the doctoral comprehensive exam. Students will respond to questions that cover each of the three areas: their major area, their cognate/secondary area, and methods. Comprehensive exams are taken during the student’s last semester of coursework or after all coursework has been completed.
  3. Research Tool
    Students must demonstrate competence in use of one research tool relevant to the area of specialization. The research tool requirement must be fulfilled with an acquisition of expertise in one special methodological area.
  4. Teaching Tool/Pedagogy Requirement
    Students must complete a semester-length experience (or its equivalent) focusing on the acquisition of pedagogical theory and method. This requirement may be waived by the student's committee on the basis of past experience. The nature of the experience will be determined in consultation with the student's committee.
  5. Dissertation
    Doctoral students will complete a dissertation presenting original research, guided by a committee comprised of at least 3 faculty members, one of whom will serve as chair. The chair generally should be selected from faculty members in the Department of Communication. Other members of the committee will be selected by students in consultation with committee chair.

C. Other Program Information

  1. Advanced Standing and Waivers
    Of the 60 credits required for the degree, 30 credits must be completed at this university. Students who have completed graduate work in our M.A. program or elsewhere may apply for advanced standing credits. Prior UAlbany M.A. students who completed the Research Practicum as their capstone project may receive up to 27 credits of advanced standing from their M.A. coursework, whereas those who completed the Guided Research Project as their capstone are eligible for up to 33 credits of advanced standing. Those who completed graduate work outside of UAlbany may receive up to 30 credits of advanced standing. The number of advanced standing credits is determined and approved by a student's plan of study committee, and this credit may or may not include credit for required courses. It also is possible for students with or without a master’s in communication to receive advanced standing for one or more courses in a related discipline.

    A waiver is granted when the faculty committee deems that students have satisfied a specific requirement by some means other than taking the required course. It does not carry credit.
  2. Admission to Candidacy
    Students are admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon the following:
    1. Satisfactory record in course study
    2. Satisfactory completion of the research tool requirement
    3. Completion of the University residence requirements
    4. Satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination
  3. Leaves of absence
    Students should be continuously enrolled during the period of graduate study. Leaves of absence may be granted upon petition of the student's advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate School.
  4. Getting a Master's degree along the way
    Students who do not enter the doctoral program having already completed a Master's degree in communication may, at their option, apply to be awarded a Master's degree while they are completing their doctoral program. All requirements of the M.A. program must be satisfied. The application form for the master's degree can be obtained from the MyUAlbany website.

Please note: This program offers an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience in the course listing as an option to fulfill course requirements. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions. If you have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of your intended academic program.