Degree Requirements

Our program is designed to help students successfully enter the Academy or other specialized government, not-for-profit, and private sector positions. Many of the requirements in our program are modeled after what is expected of junior, tenure-track faculty members. Our program also offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of courses, specializations, and research trajectories.

Our doctoral program is designed as a four year program, regardless of previous training and experience. The first year of the program is focused primarily on completing core classes and preparing for the preliminary exam. The second and third years of the program are primarily oriented toward coursework and independent research. During the third year, all students complete a scholarly portfolio to prepare for job searches. Because the portfolio contains a pre-proposal for the dissertation, most students move well into the dissertation process during the Spring and summer of the third year. Last, year four is focused mainly on the job search and completion of the dissertation.

Coursework Requirements

We divide coursework requirements into the following areas:

  • Core Classes: Your first year core counts as approximately one third of your coursework and provides a conceptual and practical foundation for the remainder of your program. Courses in the core emphasize reading original works of prominent theorists in the humanities and social sciences, research methods, communication pedagogy, and professional seminars to orient you to graduate study.
  • Primary Area: The primary area focuses on a student’s area of specialization (Health Communication, Rhetoric and Culture, or Interpersonal and Organizational Communication). Usually, the primary area courses will be from COMS, but some outside courses can be included as determined appropriate by your committee.
  • Related Area: Your related area may involve a mixture of COMS and other courses that allow a student to develop a cognate area in communication or in an allied field.
  • Research Methods: Because of the depth and expertise of our faculty we are able to offer quantitative, qualitative, and critical methods courses in our school.
  • Electives: General electives from within COMS or another program are selected with the guidance of the doctoral committee.

More complete information about any of these requirements can be found in the Graduate Student Manual.

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Publication News

Miller, J. L., Sandburg, S., & Kay, C. S. (Forthcoming). Diamonds in the rough: Claims, evidence, and reasoning in Facebook comments. 
American Behavioral Scientist.
Lippert, A., & Kay, C. S. (Forthcoming). Click for Dixie: Virtual plantation tours’ use of White nostalgia and directed narrative experience. Chapter proposal accepted for the edited collection, Subjectivities of Interactive Nostalgia

2017 Excellence in Service Award recipient, The National Society of Leadership and Success: Ohio University Chapter. Nominated by former students. Carson Kay was the only graduate student and the only humanities scholar awarded by the society.


Kay, C. S. (2018, January 29). Graduate school and you: Insight from a Viking alum. Invited Skype presenter to discuss the graduate school experience with Dr. Sam Nazione’s senior seminar communication course at Berry College.
Kay, C. S. (2017, November 16-19). The young judge’s dilemma: Examining the tension between established team friendship and objectivity in judging ‘cousin’ teams.” Paper presented at the 2017 National Communication Association Annual Convention, Austin, Texas.
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