Communication, PhD

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Communication

chair of department: John Caughlin

director of graduate studies: Travis Dixon

department website:

college website:

overview of graduate college admissions & requirements: Graduate Admissions

overview of department admissions & requirements: Web site

department office: 3001 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 333-2683


To be accepted as a candidate for the Ph.D. degree, a student must either present a well-rounded undergraduate education with an emphasis in communication and a master's in a cognate discipline, or hold a master's degree in communication from an accredited institution.

Graduate Degree Programs in Communication

Communication, MA


Medieval Studies

Health Communication, MS (on campus & online)


Medieval Studies

Communication, PhD


Medieval Studies|Second Language Acquisition & Teacher Education|Writing Studies

The Department of Communication offers a broad curriculum in communication research. In consultation with an advisor, students assemble individualized programs, concentrating in organizational and group communication, interpersonal and family communication, health communication, communication technology, political communication, rhetoric and public discourse, communication in cultural contexts, or mediated communication. Interdisciplinary programs are also encouraged.


An application must include official transcripts from every post-secondary institution the applicant has attended; at least three letters of recommendation, preferably from academic recommenders; a major paper or essay as a sample of academic writing; an academic statement of purpose that details their scholarly accomplishments and goals, and a personal statement of purpose that describes how the student's personal background and experiences influenced their decision to pursue a graduate degree. Students whose native language is not English must present their official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination as part of their applications. The department follows the Graduate College’s recommendations for English proficiency. Detailed information about admissions and financial aid can be found on the department's Web site. Ordinarily, students are admitted to begin graduate study in the fall semester.

Graduate Teaching Experience

Although teaching is not a general Graduate College requirement, experience in teaching is considered an important part of the graduate experience in this program.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is usually offered in the form of part-time teaching assistantships; some fellowships and research assistantships are available.

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Communication

In addition to meeting general requirements of the Graduate College, the student must satisfactorily complete written and oral preliminary examinations, an oral defense of the thesis prospectus, and an oral defense of the thesis. Students must demonstrate competency in research procedures and tools that may include proficiency in one or more foreign languages, various research methods, or cognate academic work. Students must enroll in CMN 595 in the semester of the preliminary examination and in CMN 599 (thesis hours) in semesters spent working on the dissertation.

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's Graduate Programs and the Graduate College Handbook.

Minimum in appropriate research method; these are in addition to the 40 hours of additional coursework. (8 min)8
Courses from outside the department12
Elective hours (not in method or thesis hours)40
Independent Study Hours (8 max applied toward degree) 8
Language Requirement: based on major
CMN 599Thesis Research (0 min applied toward degree)0
Total Hours64

Other Requirements

Other requirements may overlap
Minimum Non-Method/Thesis Hours Required Within the Unit: 20
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD? Yes
Qualifying Exam Required: No
Preliminary Exam Required: Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required: Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required: Yes
Minimum GPA: 2.75