Key Policies and Documents

Current students, as well as applicants, should familiarize themselves with the general policies of the Graduate School at the University of Memphis, and with the specific policies that govern graduate study in the Department of Communication.

The Graduate School's general policies and regulations are outlined in the Graduate Catalog, and encompass everything from academic misconduct to transferring credit to the minimum requirements for graduation. Department of Communication policies appear in full in its catalog entry select policies are spelled out below.

Key Policies

Compliance with core University and Departmental policies is presumed, as is a student's satisfactory progress toward degree completion. A student's failure to maintain satisfactory progress can result in a recommendation that s/he exit the program.

Before registering for courses beyond 18 hours of study in the department students must choose a major advisor, form an advisory committee, and get their Plan of Study approved by the committee. Students seeking to enroll beyond 18 hours must have an approved Plan of Study, or they will not be cleared to register.

Each year, the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Communication convene twice to evaluate the progress of every Master's and Doctoral student in the program. For a student to continue in the program, he or she must maintain satisfactory progress. The student will be judged as NOT making satisfactory progress if:

  • The student's cumulative GPA (during the student's initial 36 hours of coursework in the COMM PhD program) drops below 3.0 and remains there for more than one semester or nine credit hours.
  • The student has acquired more incompletes than he or she can complete during one semester of normal academic work.
  • The student fails the comprehensive exam.
  • The student's coursework does not demonstrate promise for independent scholarly work.

To be considered as "making satisfactory progress," Doctoral students must pass comprehensive exams within two semesters of completing 36 hours of coursework and have a dissertation prospectus approved by their advisory committee within two semesters of completion of the comprehensive examination.


Familiarity with the various forms, guides and webpages that surround University and Departmental policies ensures a clear path to completing your degree. Attendance at Departmental events, and adherence to Departmental and University deadlines, is vital. Be sure to consult the calendars below regularly.

Graduate Student Calendars

University of Memphis Graduate School Calendar

Degree Completion Milestones

MA Plan of Study Form
PhD Plan of Study Form
Comprehensive Examination Plan and Procedure


Current COMM Graduate Courses
Four-Term Forecast of COMM Graduate Courses
Course Registration
Independent Studies

Department of Communication Forms

Master's Plan of Study Coversheet
Doctoral Plan of Study Coversheet
Process for Making Changes to a Student's MA or PhD Committee
Teaching Portfolios and the John Angus Campbell Award for Excellence in Teaching 
Apply for Research and Creative Achievement Award
Apply for Travel Funding 
Apply for Summer Teaching 
Apply to Teach Advanced Undergraduate Courses

Select Graduate School and University Documents

Academic Regulations of the Graduate School
Assistantships and Awards supported by the Graduate School
Comprehensive Exams Results Form
Thesis/Dissertation Faculty Committee Form
Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Defense Form
Thesis/Dissertation Final Defense Results Form
Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form
Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Access a comprehensive listing of all documents at the Graduate School Forms.