Communication and Information - Ph.D.

College of Communication and Information
314 University Library
Kent Campus


The Ph.D. degree in Communication and Information prepares individuals for traditional and emerging careers in teaching, research and administration in the converging fields of communication and information. The degree program consists of a prescribed core of interdisciplinary courses and varied selection of elective coursework within and across disciplines. The study is flexibly structured and designed to provide both an integrative, meta-theoretical and historical overview, as well as individually tailored and program-supported specialization.

Fully Offered At:

  • Kent Campus

Admission Requirements

  • Official transcript(s)
  • Completion of the academic requirements of a master's degree in one of the disciplines represented in the College of Communication and Information or a discipline closely related to the applicant's proposed course of study. Applicants with academic preparation in other fields may be required to enroll in preparatory coursework at the master's level that will not count toward the Ph.D. degree.
  • Minimum 3.3 graduate GPA, although 3.5 GPA and higher is recommended (4.0 scale)
  • GRE scores: 600 verbal and 600 quantitative (or equivalent in new testing format)  Effective spring 2018 admission: 160 verbal, 148 quantitative
  • Letters of recommendation from those in a position to evaluate graduate academic performance and potential
  • Statement of purpose1
  • Sample of superior scholarly writing (published paper, major term paper, thesis chapter, etc.).

English Language Proficiency Requirements for International Students: All international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning a minimum 587 TOEFL score (94 on the Internet-based version), minimum 82 MELAB score, minimum 7.0 IELTS score or minimum 65 PTE Academic score. For more information on international admission, visit the Office of Global Education’s admission websiteEffective spring 2018.

The Ph.D. degree is strongly research oriented. Applicants are expected to have completed a thesis in their master's program. Admission will be restricted to the most promising applicants. Applications are viewed holistically to evaluate the student's likelihood of success in the program. Applicants normally are accepted for admission only for the fall semester, and the deadline for all application materials is February 1. Applicants who do not meet all of the requirements listed above but who have otherwise exceptional credentials may apply and may be admitted conditionally. For more information about graduate admissions, please visit the Graduate Studies website.


The statement of purpose must describe the applicant's academic goals and intended topics of study that are compatible with the focus of the doctoral program. It is expected that this statement will clearly indicate why the applicant wishes to pursue doctoral education. Included in the statement of purpose should be an indication of the theoretical area or areas the applicant wishes to study and the line of research the applicant wishes to pursue. Statements that make reference only to the applicant's teaching or administrative goals are strongly discouraged.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of an area of expertise within one or more disciplines within the field of communication and information.
  2. Produce doctoral dissertations that advance existing areas of scholarly investigation within the field of communication and information. 

Program Requirements

Major Requirements


Approved Theory Course From Communication Studies (COMM), Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) or Visual Communication Design (VCD)3
Approved Theory Course From Health Informatics (HI), Knowledge Management (KM), User Experience Design (UXD) or Library and Information Science (LIS)3
Quantitative Research Methods Course3
Qualitative Research Methods Course3
Statistics Course3
Electives 224
Minimum Total Credit Hours:75

Each doctoral candidate, upon admission to candidacy, must register for CCI 80199 for a total of 30 credit hours. It is expected that a doctoral candidate will continuously register for CCI 80199 for each semester, including summer, until all requirements for the degree have been met. 


Courses in the elective category are selected with the approval of the student's advisor and supervisory committee to support the student's research interests. Students planning to enter the professoriate should include CCI 80094 in their electives. 

Graduation Requirements

The Ph.D. program in Communication and Information requires a minimum of  45 credit hours of graduate credit beyond the Master's degree and 30 credit hours of dissertation work for a total of 75 credit hours. 


To achieve candidacy, doctoral students must pass the doctoral comprehensive examination.

Program Notes

Students should begin developing their programs of study during their first semester and have them approved by the time they have completed 15 credit hours. Students may adopt templates for study in such areas as media, technology and society; cultural heritage information; knowledge organization; human information behavior; global communication; and interpersonal communication. All proposed programs of study are subject to review by the Doctoral Studies Committee as well as by the students' committee(s). Students are expected to become engaged in a variety of research projects before they begin dissertation work.