Dec 07, 2022  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication, Ph.D.


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Doctor of Philosophy in Communication

The program is designed as a traditional academically-focused Ph.D. in Communication. As such, the program will educate students using a course-based approach while training them to apply their research training in completing a unique dissertation project. The program is designed to be completed by students in three academic years. Completing the program on the three-year timeline assumes the following:

A) Students entering the program will already have completed a related M.S. or M.A. degree;

B) Students will complete their coursework and requirements in the time allotted; and

C) Students will maintain uninterrupted continuous full-time enrollment throughout the program.

If a student enters without an approved M.A./M.S. degree in Communication or related field, the time expectation is an additional two years of study (five years total), to fulfill the requirements of the M.S. degree program. Each student will consult with the Graduate Director, who will determine the coursework needed for approval.

Admission deadlines

Early decision application reviews will begin January 15th. Applications received after January 15th will be considered on a space available basis. Because the number of students admitted is limited, meeting the following minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Program admission requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree from accredited institutions. Official transcripts must be submitted from all degree-granting (bachelor’s and master’s degrees) colleges and universities attended.
  • 3.000 is the minimum recommended undergraduate and graduate cumulative grade point averages.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required, including one from an academic source (i.e., graduate-level professor) who can describe academic and professional abilities.
  • 2-4-page personal statement addressing interest in the Ph.D. in Communication at Chapman University, research and career goals.
  • Writing sample from previous academic coursework or paper submitted to academic conference or publication (10-12 page minimum requirement).
  • Current curriculum vitae showing relevant education, research, publications, grants, coursework, teaching experience, work experience.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required and must be current. The minimum suggested scores are,
    • Verbal: 153
    • Quantitative: 146
    • Analytical Writing: 4.0
  • Interview with Graduate Director or Graduate Coordinator.

Program information

Students admitted with an approved M.A./M.S. degree will need to complete a minimum of 36 credits of didactic coursework. Additionally, students will register for up to 18 credits of Dissertation work during their third year in the program. Thus, students entering with a M.A./M.S., or the equivalent, must complete a minimum of 54 total credits.

Coursework requirements have been organized into five separate areas. The first is the Core Theory Courses, followed by Core Methods/Statistics classes, Electives in Primary Area, Electives in Secondary Area, as well as Dissertation. The core areas in the curriculum will provide students with solid grounding in a variety of new and established theoretical traditions, as well as in the major social scientific research methods most commonly employed in the field of communication. Fulfillment of these areas will ensure that students graduating from the Ph.D. program are proficient in both understanding existing empirical research, and in conducting rigorous and relevant research themselves.

Upon discussion with the Graduate Director, students will declare a primary area of emphasis no later than the end of the second semester of their program. Similarly, students will declare a secondary area of emphasis no later than the beginning of their third semester in the program (summer sessions and interterm do not count as semesters). Students may declare primary and secondary areas earlier than stated above and may change areas after discussion with Graduate Director or their current advisor. Areas of emphasis are Interpersonal Communication, Health and Strategic Communication, and Organizational Communication.

With approval of the Graduate Director, up to 6 transfer credits can be applied toward fulfillment of the Ph.D. in Communication; these must be transferred in accordance with the timelines and requirements for graduate credit transfer in the Academic Policies and Procedures  section of the Graduate Catalog.

Continuous enrollment requirements

Continuous enrollment is required throughout the Ph.D. program. Students who have completed their 18 credits of dissertation work (COM 798 ) but have not yet successfully defended their dissertation must register for COM 798A  for one credit each semester to fill the continuous enrollment requirement. Students who have completed the maximum 2-credit limit of COM 798A  must enroll in COM 798B  for 1 credit until the dissertation is successfully defended. See Continuous Enrollment  for additional information. The maximum time allowed for completion of the Ph.D. is seven years.

Demonstration of mastery

The academic progress requirements for students include a minimum GPA of 3.000 and successful completion of department and program requirements, including successful completion of qualifying exams, advancement to candidacy, a dissertation proposal and the dissertation. A dissertation sets forth a proposition in which the student advances and maintains an argument. Students will conduct research in their emphasis under the direction of a dissertation advisor and committee (see the School of Communication Program Handbook and Academic Policies and Procedures for guidelines).

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Communication degree

Students pursing the Doctor of Philosophy in Communication degree are held to the University’s Academic Policies and Procedures . In addition, these specific degree standards apply:

  • Completion of at least 54 total credits as listed below.
  • Minimum grade “C+” or above required in all coursework.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.000 GPA in the degree.
  • Successful completion of qualifying exams.
  • Advancement to candidacy.
  • Successful completion of dissertation proposal and dissertation based on original research.

The following courses make up the Doctor of Philosophy in Communication curriculum:

core theory courses (9 credits)


research methods and statistics (12 credits)


electives in primary area (12 credits)


Courses listed for core theory requirements can be double counted to fulfill electives in primary area requirements but can only be counted once toward the 54 credit requirement.

electives in secondary area (9 credits)


Courses listed for core theory requirements can be double counted to fulfill electives in secondary area requirements but can only be counted once toward the 54 credit requirement.

dissertation (18 credits)


total credits 54-60


The 54 credit total reflects the potential to double count 6 credits to fulfill requirements in 2 different areas. If no credits/courses are double counted, the total increases to 60 credits.

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