The Ph.D. program serves students who seek to acquire theoretical and research skills for scholarly activity or for leadership positions in the communication and information fields. The program focuses on the nature and functions of communications and information processes. It looks at systems, institutions, and policies and assesses their impact on individuals and organizations and upon national and international affairs. Students may focus on any of the following areas: communication processes, library and information science, or media studies.
Communication processes deals with three interrelated areas: social interaction, organizational communication, and mediated communication. Research areas include such contemporary issues as health, gender, globalization, identity, and policy. Health communication research is a major emphasis.
Library and information science concentrates on information behavior and systematic responses to it. Students opting to focus on information science learn about human information-seeking activities, information-retrieval systems, and information structures. Students whose primary interest is libraries and information centers as part of the worldwide information environment learn how to design, manage, and evaluate information systems and how to make these systems responsive to users` needs.
Media studies examines the political, social, psychological, and economic impact of the media. It describes the historical conditions that gave rise to contemporary media and covers both the traditional mass media and the new electronic technologies.
To earn a Ph.D. degree, students must complete a minimum of 36 credits of doctoral-level course work and accumulate 24 credits of dissertation research. In addition, Ph.D. candidates must have completed at least 24 credits of course work at the master`s degree level.
As a part of the 36-credit course work requirement, students must take 16:194:601 Information and Communication Processes, 16:194:602 Research Foundations, 16:194:603 Qualitative Research Methods, 16:194:604 Quantitative Research Methods, and 16:194:605 Current Research Issues.
There is no language or residency requirement, and students may pursue the Ph.D. on a full- or part-time basis. Students are required to enroll for a minimum of 6 credits during each of the first two terms in the program. Teaching and research assistantships, which include tuition remission, and various fellowships are available for highly qualified full-time students.
The master of philosophy degree is also available to doctoral candidates. The School of Communication, Information and Library Studies (SCILS) offers an M.L.S. degree in library and information studies and a master of communication and information studies. These programs are described in the SCILS catalog.