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Ph.D. in Communication 


badgeWelcome to the doctoral program in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Ph.D. at UNC is an inquiry based degree, offering students the opportunity to build unique programs of study around their respective research interests. The program requires the student to define a program of study organized by an evolving research question or research problem. The program ensures foundational study in sub-disciplines of Communication Studies as well as encouraging interdisciplinary work also relevant to the research question or problem. The research question or problem and subordinate lines of inquiry that help to define it serve as the basis for selecting coursework, developing integrative reading lists for the doctoral comprehensive exam, and completing a major, original research project in the form of a doctoral dissertation. All students—whether admitted with a baccalaureate degree or a master’s degree—are admitted to the doctoral program; the Department does not offer a terminal M.A. degree.

Doctoral students (admitted with M.A. or equivalent) complete a minimum of 48 hours of coursework, including 4 core courses (12 hours), 10 research courses (30 hours), 2 professional development courses (COMM 702 and COMM 907 for 6 hours). Dissertation research hours are additional. Students admitted with a baccalaureate degree or equivalent take additional coursework and complete a qualifying exam in their third semester. A student may also wish to pursue formal or independent minors or certifications, language competence related to research, and/or additional courses as needed or desired. All students must demonstrate methodological competence through completion of a course relevant to the dissertation project.

SPECIAL NOTE If you are interested in public relations, advertising, journalism and related mass communication fields, please contact the graduate program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.