Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Communication Studies Ph.D.

Communication Studies
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Communication Studies, 225 Ford Hall, 224 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-5800; fax: 612-624-6544).
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2018
  • Length of program in credits: 75
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Communication studies focuses on the study of communicative dimensions of human experience using humanistic and social scientific methods. This program prepares students to become researchers and teachers, offering three concentrations: interpersonal communication, rhetorical studies, and critical media studies. Coursework in rhetoric and public discourse studies emphasizes humanistic methods and includes argumentation and persuasion, ethics, rhetorical theory and criticism, and political rhetoric. Students may also pursue special interests in rhetorical philosophies, movements and campaigns, or popular culture and critical theory. The program should be supplemented by coursework outside the department. An understanding of history, political science, sociology, or cultural studies is recommended. Coursework in interpersonal communication has a social scientific orientation. Most students focus on a subarea such as small group, intercultural, interpersonal communication, or problems (e.g., decision making, conflict resolution). Coursework outside the department is usually concentrated in one or more of the behavioral sciences. Students are expected to develop a command of research techniques and a thorough knowledge of statistics. Coursework in critical media studies emphasizes qualitative, historical, critical, and empirical methods and includes television studies, feminist media studies, ethnic and racial minorities in media, critical media literacy, political economy of media, popular culture, environmental communication, and music. Coursework outside the department is usually in the fields of American studies, political science, cultural studies, mass communication, or women's studies.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.50.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
All applicants must have completed at least 15 undergraduate or undergraduate credits in speech or communication courses related to their proposed area of emphasis in the department. A brochure detailing prerequisite requirements is available from the department or from the department website. All prerequisites must be completed before admission. Applicants must submit scores from the GRE General Test, transcripts of all postsecondary academic work, a written statement of academic and occupational objectives, and a diversity statement. Three letters of recommendation and a writing sample are required of all applicants for assistantships or fellowships.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
    • General Test - Verbal Reasoning: 153
    • General Test - Quantitative Reasoning: 144
    • General Test - Analytical Writing: 5.0
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
33 to 39 credits are required in the major.
12 to 18 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may not be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.50 is required for students to remain in good standing.
Major Requirements
Introductory Course
COMM 8101 - Introduction to Graduate Communication Studies (3.0 cr)
Major Coursework
Take 30 - 36 credit(s) from the following:
· COMM 5xxx
· COMM 8xxx
Outside Coursework
Take 12 to 18 credits outside the major.
Thesis Credits
Take 24 or more credit(s) from the following:
· COMM 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
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· College of Liberal Arts

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COMM 8101 - Introduction to Graduate Communication Studies
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
COMM 8101 is a required course that provides beginning graduate students with a foundation for understanding the discipline of communication studies from the perspective of a graduate student, scholar, and faculty citizen.
COMM 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required