The Ph.D. program in communication at The Florida State University offers two emphases: mass communication and speech communication. The general requirements of each are identical. The primary differences between the two emphasis areas are the (1) nature of the courses you take, (2) different faculty members traditionally associated with each, and (3) emphasis area distinction itself, which may be of importance based on your career plans.
With the advice and approval of a supervisory committee, each student will develop a Program of Studies, or a plan of all coursework to be taken in the doctoral program. Specific course requirements have been minimized to provide each student great flexibility in designing a Program of Studies to meet individual interests and goals. The typical doctoral student’s Program of Studies contains total 90 credit hours and is made up of the following components:
|Component||Typical Credit Hour Requirement|
|Theory and Content Courses||9|
|Research Design and Methods||6|
|Advanced Research Tool Skills||12|
|Supervised Teaching and Research||5|
To be introduced to a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to communication research, all students take the following 16 credits hours of course work during the first year of doctoral studies.
COM5401 Analysis of Communication Theory, 3 hours, Required
COM5312 Research Methods in Communication, 3 hours, Required
COM5314 Statistical Methods in Communication Research, 3 hours, Required
COM5331 Computers in Communication Research, 3 hours, Required
COM5340 Historical/Critical Methods of Research, 3 hours, Required
COM5920 Colloquium in Communication, 1 hour, Required
Theory and Content Courses
The School of Communication offers a series of graduate courses dealing with a variety of specialized communication contents and theories. Doctoral students are encouraged to fulfill this requirement by taking two courses that complement one another, providing as much in-depth study in a particular area as possible. The Department of Communication has recently offered methods-related classes dealing with media effects, new communication technology, media policy and law, comparative media systems, persuasion and attitude formation, Hispanic marketing communication, system thinking, marketing communication, and diffusion of innovations.
Please see Graduate Bulletin for specific course descriptions.
To gain a deeper understanding of a topic or area, doctoral students are required to complete studies beyond an introductory, graduate level. To accomplish this task, the Department offers students doctoral-level topical seminars. This is a selected listing of some of the more recent advanced seminar offerings:
Communication, Social Change, and Technology
Gender and Communication
Media, Culture, and the Environment
Philosophy of Communication Inquiry
Political Economy of Media
Uses and Gratifications of Mass Media
Research and Design Methods
One of the goals of our program is to develop not only consumers of communication scholarship, but also creators. To that end, students will become proficient in the communication research methods most appropriate to their intellectual interests. In general, students select from a list of courses, in addition to special topics courses that may focus on research methods. The student’s supervisory committee will help guide the selection of appropriate courses. The Department of Communication has recently offered methods-related classes dealing with the assessment of organizational communication, survey research, media content analyses, and criticism of contemporary public address, to name a few.
Please see Graduate Bulletin for specific course descriptions.
Advanced Research Tool Skills
In addition to the basic research skills acquired in the Research Design and Methods course set, each doctoral student must complete advanced studies into the research design, methods, and analysis techniques necessary to complete independent scholarship in his/her chosen area of interest. In consultation with their supervising committee, students typically take a minimum of 12 credit hours in appropriate courses, many of which are offered in other departments. The supervisory committee will be the student’s guide for selecting the most appropriate courses.
Supervised Teaching and Research
During the course of doctoral studies, the typical student completes five hours of supervised research and/or supervised teaching. While teaching and research are ongoing activities throughout the doctoral programs, these courses provide the opportunity for faculty members to work in a more direct mentoring capacity with the student.
Students are required to pursue a cognate or minor area that relates to or enhances the overall program of studies. This requirement is fulfilled with courses offered outside the Department of Communication. Additionally, although it is not required that all twelve credit hours be taken in the same outside department, it is generally understood that all twelve hours of coursework should be conceptually related to one another. The supervisory committee will be the student’s guide for selecting the most appropriate cognate courses.
At the end of a student’s coursework and upon the approval of the doctoral supervisory committee, students will complete the Doctoral Preliminary Examination. The purpose of the preliminary examination is to determine if the student is sufficiently prepared to continue with the original, independent scholarly work required to complete a doctoral dissertation. Upon successful completion of the preliminary examination, the student officially becomes a doctoral candidate.
Upon admission to candidacy, the student is ready to begin the dissertation process. Students should note that dissertations should represent original, independent scholarship that is of significance to the discipline. Work will be held to the highest standards. The minimum number of dissertation credits for completion of a doctoral degree is twenty-four.
With the major professor’s approval, the student must enroll in Dissertation Defense for the semester in which the dissertation project will be completed. With successful defense of the dissertation, the student has fulfilled the departmental requirements for the degree.
Technically speaking, the doctoral programs at FSU do not accept “transfer credit.” However, that does not mean that students are denied all credit for previous graduate courses taken. Previous graduate coursework may be approved as course equivalencies to a student’s Program of Studies. The director of doctoral studies and the department chair can give students advice on what previous courses might serve as equivalencies. However, the decision to actually apply to the program of studies certain courses ultimately rests with the doctoral supervisory committee. For courses to be considered as possible equivalents, students must supply a copy of the course syllabi for evaluation. Discussions about possible course equivalencies should take place early in a student’s program.