Department of Communication
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Steps to Move Forward in the PhD Program Links

Getting Started During your First and Second Semesters (up to 18 hours)

When you begin your program here, we will assign one of our faculty members to be your temporary advisor. That person will help you to decide what classes to take during your first semester and will clear you to register. You cannot register for classes until you have talked to your temporary advisor.

During your first semester, you should become acquainted with the Department’s graduate faculty. Get to know the professors in the department. Ask them about their research and share your interests with them. This will help you to find a permanent advisor who can best help you to progress in your program. During your first 18 hours of course work (2 semesters for full-time students), you must:

  1. Select a permanent advisor who is a member of the graduate faculty. You can begin the process of selecting a permanent advisor any time during your first semester. This person could be your temporary advisor but the decision is yours.
  2. Once you have selected a permanent advisor, consult with him or her to select two additional Communication faculty members and one faculty member from outside the Department for your advisory committee. This person can be from another department in the University, or a person from another institution. He or she must, however, have a terminal degree and must apply for adjunct graduate faculty status in the Department. Consult with your advisor on how to begin that process.
  3. Complete the PhD Program Advisory Committee Form and submit it to Rika Hudson, our graduate administrative assistant.
  4. With help from your advisor, develop a Plan of Study. (See an example in the Forms section.) The purpose of the Plan of Study is to describe your goals for the program, discuss your research plan, list the courses you will take each semester, and the proposed semesters for your comprehensive exams, dissertation prospectus, and dissertation. This form is not a contractual agreement; it may well change. It will, however, give you direction for each semester so that you stay on the track you have planned.
  5. Arrange a meeting of your advisory committee to discuss and approve the Plan of Study. Give the final approved Plan of Study with your committee members’ signatures to Rika Hudson. Then send an electronic copy to each of your committee members. Be sure to keep the final version in your own files, as well.
  6. You cannot register for your second year, or if you are part-time, anything beyond 18 hours, before you have completed each of these steps.

Time Line for the Rest of Your Program

  1. During the first semester of your second year, you will take the Pro-Seminar, COMM 8992 (3 hours), a course that provides writing and research mentoring to a small group of students.
  2. If you are a full time student, you will likely finish course work during the first semester of your third year and then begin the process for comprehensive examinations and writing the prospectus. You must take your comprehensive exams within a year of finishing course work (excluding Pro-Seminar, 8992, and Reading for Comps, 8996) and then have your dissertation prospectus successfully defended no more than 2 semesters following your exams. While studying for your comprehensive exams, you can register for up to 9 hours of 8996, Reading for Comps.

Requirements for the PhD Program

Steps to Move Forward in the PhD Program 

Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress 

Course Descriptions

Doctoral Alumni

Graduate Programs Homepage

Current Graduate Students

PhD Program

Apply to the PhD Program

MA Program

Apply to the MA Program

Current Course Descriptions

MA & Ph.D. Requirements

Ethical Responsibilities


Graduate Faculty

Professional Organizations

UofM Graduate School

U of M Calendars and Deadlines

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Last Updated: 5/12/14