General Information

Request Information
Communication (PHD) 
Program Description

The Communication PhD doctoral program is grounded in theory and research concerning human communication and provides excellent preparation for careers in academia. The department offers hands-on research experience and a broad range of coursework and educational opportunities, with specialization in Interpersonal Communication, Media, Health Communication, Small Group and Intergroup Communication, New Communication Technologies, and Political Communication. PhD programs of study combine major and minor coursework to fit individual intellectual needs and areas of research specialization.


Department/Academic Unit(s)

Communication -

The Department of Communication faculty examine ways in which human beings exchange messages with one another, the content of those messages, and the effects they have for individuals and society.  The Department's strong commitment to quality teaching and research has earned its faculty and graduate students numerous teaching awards and a ranking as one of the top Communication programs in the nation.

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Tina R Mendoza
Graduate Program Coordinator
Tina R Mendoza
Director of Graduate Studies
Jennifer L Stevens Aubrey
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Kristi R Davenport
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the PhD program in Communication, applicants must have earned an MA or MS degree before beginning the Fall term. 

Writing sample (thesis chapters or prospectus preferred)

 3 letters of recommendation addressing the applicant’s academic and intellectual qualifications

 Statement of Purpose  (500-2000 words) should be broken into the following sections: (a) your scholarly and research interests in the field of communication, (b) why you wish to pursue graduate study in the Department of Communication at the University of Arizona (including explicit connections between your research interests and our faculty's areas of expertise), and (c) your plans following completion of your graduate degree. Prospective PhD students should incorporate specific information on their plans for doing research in our graduate program into this statement. We encourage applicants to list one or two specific core faculty with whom they wish to work.

GPA:  3.5 minimum

TRANSCRIPTS:  For purposes of evlauation, we will accept unofficial transcripts of credits earned from ALL colleges and universities attended, uploaded where indicated on application. If applicant accepts offer of admission, we will require official transcripts sent to the Communication Dept at the University of Arizona.

GRE General Tests:  See GRE test score info below.

For International students: English Proficiency Test is required.  Please refer to the graduate college webpage shown here for types of tests accepted, as well as required scores: ; Please note: because all of our graduate students are also hired as Graduate Teaching Assistants/Associates, applicants must achieve the higher test scores listed under "Special requirements for students who will be acting as Graduate Teaching assistants".



Standardized Tests


Required test(s):  GRE Geneal Tests: Verbal, Quantitative, Analytical Writing Subtests. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS also required to take English Proficiency exam: TOEFL preferred.

 Minimum GRE Verbal:  156
Minimum GRE Quantitative:  146
Minumum GRE Written:  4.5

Minimum TOEFL:  95 IBT, 250 CBT, 600 PB

IELTS: composite score of 7, with no supject area below 6

Financial Aid

Graduate Teaching and Research Associateships, Tuition  Scholarships, Graduate College fellowship funding, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences scholarship and fellowship funding

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic and International Applicants:

  • Fall Admission:  January 10
  • Applications not accepted for admission during Spring or Summer semesters.
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 4507
NRC Taxon(a) for this program: Communication

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Core Courses: All students must complete 500, 561, and 571 with a grade of B or better in each. For students who have already completed 500, 561, 571 as part of our M.A. program or another M.A. program, those units must be replaced by 9 elective units approved by the student’s advisor.

Required Theory Seminars: All students must complete at least two of the required theory seminars from the theory seminar rotation: 609, 610, 620, 669.

Major: All students must successfully complete a minimum of 27 units in the major including: core courses, theory courses, and electives. In addition, students are expected to fulfill their research team, research tool, and dissertation requirements. Courses with grades of 'C' or lower will not count toward the degree.  

Minor(s): Students must have at least one minor and may take two. The requirements for these are specified by the minor department. The graduate college's minimum requirement is that 9 hours be taken in the minor department.

Research Team:  Students must participate on a faculty-supervised research team every semester during the program, for a 1 unit research credit, until they have successfully completed and defended their comprehensive exams. A total of 4 Research units will be counted toward the degree.

Research Tool: Students must take 6 units of research or methods courses above and beyond the major and minor requirements. The tool should consist of some particular specialty that will be put to use in the dissertation research.

Comprehensive Written Exam and Oral Defense: When essentially all course work is completed, students will take written exams over the major and minor fields, typically in the fifth semester of full-time enrollment. The student must pass all sections of the written major exam and the minor exam before the oral defense can occur.

Dissertation and Final Oral Exam: After student has successfully defended dissertation proposal and the required standards of scholarship have been met, the student will orally defend the dissertation.

Minor Requirements

Students who wish to pursue a minor in Communication must take 12 units of graduate level Communication courses: any two of the required graduate theory seminars (609, 610, 620, 669) and two other courses at the 500 or 600 level in the department. All courses are to be determined by the student and his/her minor committee. The minor committee consists of one voting member of the faculty who holds at least a .51 FTE appointment in the Department of Communication. Upon completion of the courses, students must take 6 hours of written minor comprehensive exams (3 hours on theory and 3 hours on other course work).

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 24%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 4.50
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 25%
Enrollment Percent Female 75%
Enrollment Percent International 29%
Enrollment Percent URM 14%

Back to statistics
Persistent link:
Last revised 19 Nov 2019