Ph.D. in Communication

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in communication is designed to establish and maintain high standards of scholarly activity while providing excellence in academic instruction at both the theoretical and applied levels. The doctoral program encompasses the full range of quantitative, qualitative, rhetorical and critical approaches to the study of communication in which each student is focused through a Plan of Work that fits the student's interests.

Alumni of the program are skilled researchers, practitioners, creative artists, critical consumers and thoughtful observers of communication processes. While many serve as recognized scholars and educators throughout the country and world, others occupy responsible positions as communication and creative professionals in business and industry, government and academia.

For more information about the program, please refer to the navigation above, see the information for admissions , read the Ph.D. Handbook , and go over the research areas of our doctoral advisors. The projected rotation of graduate courses is available here and on the Forms and Resources page.


Our doctoral advisors are experts in a variety of fields of the study of communication. The Ph.D. in communication offers five specialized areas students can pursue:

  • Democratic Participation & Culture
  • Identity & Representation
  • Media, Society & Culture
  • Risk, Crisis & Conflict
  • Wellness, Worklife & Relationships

Students typically chose one to two related specializations for their studies. For more information about the program, please refer to the Ph.D. Handbook.

The department also offers a dual-title Ph.D. in Communication and Urban Sustainability. Students in this inter-disciplinary program integrate topics and experiences related to urban sustainability into their academic activities and research from several disciplines. More information about this program is available in the Ph.D. Handbook.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 30 credits of Ph.D. coursework at Wayne State with at least 20 credits within the Department of Communication. In addition, the university requires graduate students to maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA in order to graduate.

All students are required to file a plan of work that includes the department Ph.D. Coursework Worksheet (.doc), the Graduate School plan of work form and if necessary, the Graduate School transfer of credit form, within the first 18 hours of coursework.