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Ph.D. in Communication Studies

The Ph.D. program in Communication Studies is intended to qualify the student to teach and conduct research in instructional communication, interpersonal communication, health communication, and mediated communication, among many others, at the university level. Students who are accepted into the Ph.D. program in Communication Studies are awarded an assistantship for the first year that is renewable for the second and third years of the program upon faculty consent. Click and/or read below to read more about our top-rated Ph.D. program in Communication Studies.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Ph.D. degree program in Communication Studies, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the field of Communication Studies through the identification and explanation of the research domains that comprise the field of Communication Studies.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of two domains of the field of Communication Studies through the identification, explanation, and evaluation of the primary theories, constructs, and researchers associated with each domain.
  • Independently design, conduct, and present original research using quantitative research methods.
  • Demonstrate effective instructional communication behaviors across a variety of teaching and training situations.
  • Develop logical, well-reasoned arguments to guide future research endeavors and projects in the field of Communication Studies.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the profession through activity in professional associations and service to the university, community, and state.

Program Timeline

The Ph.D. degree program in Communication Studies is designed to take three years of study, including summer terms. Students will tend to complete 36 hours of coursework during the first two years of the program (i.e., Year 1 Fall semester, Year 1 Spring semester, Year 1 Summer term, Year 2 Fall semester, Year 2 Spring semester, Year 2 Summer term). Upon completion of coursework, students will take and defend comprehensive examinations (i.e., Year 2 Summer term) before writing and defending a dissertation prospectus (Year 3 Fall semester) and writing and defending a dissertation (no later than Year 3 Summer term).

Ph.D. Courses

At the Doctoral level, students will be engaged in both the mastery of Communication Studies as well as the development of a line of scholarly inquiry. Our Ph.D. students are expected to become broadly versed in the field while specializing in two areas of research. Students in the program complete 54 total course credits at the 600-level or above, including a mix of theory, methodology, philosophy and seminar courses.

Learn more about Ph.D. courses

Ph.D. Dissertations

For scholars, the dissertation represents one’s first independent research as part of their career-long line of research inquiry. It is during the dissertation process that the Doctoral candidate makes a substantial contribution to his or her field through a rigorous analysis of a novel research concept. While not a requirement, many dissertations eventually find their way into scientific journals and other publications. The dissertation is a long and arduous process comprising of both a written document and an oral defense.

Read more about past Ph.D. dissertations

Seelio: Sharing Student Work

Students enrolled in COMM courses are asked to study the theory and process of human communication so that they can apply this knowledge to understanding real-world issues. As part of this process, COMM students have adopted the Seelio platform – a social media platform that allows students to create an online portfolio of their coursework that is easily accessible to the public. Sharing these portfolios shows the importance of the COMM degree while also giving prospective employees a clear, accurate look at the academic work our students are doing.

Seelio Student Coursework Showcase

Academic Advising

Our advisors are available during the summer, fall and spring semesters during office hours. Check 108 Armstrong Hall, call 304-293-3905, or e-mail an advisor to check office hours for the semester (see below for contact information).

The COMM academic advisors are:

Nikki Loy –
Dr. John Shibley –
Mary Donato –


Request a Mountaineer Intern

Professional Field Experience (PFE) is a key element in the undergraduate COMM curriculum that allows students to gain experience in applying their classroom knowledge to a variety of corporate and organizational environments. Organizations looking for students with an in-depth understanding of communication areas that include (but are not limited to) communication theory, data analysis, health communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and social media/communication technology now have the opportunity to request an intern from the Department of Communication Studies at WVU. Use the form below to read up on our PFE program, and to request a Mountaineer intern today.

Organization Intern Application