Ph.D. Program


The doctoral program in the School of Media & Communication at BGSU is known for its balance in teaching and research, the diversity of its student body, and excellent record in graduate placement. The key commitment of the SMC faculty is to motivate and educate students to become independent intellectual leaders. During their time in the School of Media & Communication, doctoral students select one of the three areas of emphasis to serve as the knowledge basis for their program of study and future research endeavors. In addition, doctoral students take a variety of methods and tools courses that will prepare them for the rigors of conducting their dissertation research, and provide them with the tools necessary for research and scholarship throughout their careers.

PH.D Information

Coursework & Areas of Emphasis: Doctoral students take a minimum of 64 credit hours: 48 hours of coursework, and 16 hours of dissertation work. Coursework entails the following:

Core Courses (12 credit hours):

  • MC 6000: Introduction to Media & Communication
  • MC 6100: Philosophical Foundations
  • MC 6300: Social Scientific Methods
  • MC 6400: Humanistic Methods

Tool Courses (9 credit hours):

  • Three courses that focus on research method or methodology.

Emphasis Courses (12 credit hours):

  • Courses related to one of the three areas of emphasis in the School of Media & Communication. The following are courses typically offered that are informed by these areas:
    • Global Communication & Social Change:
      • MC 6570: Intercultural Communication
      • MC 7300: Critical Media Studies
      • MC 7630: Communication for Social Change
      • Social Movements
    • Interpersonal Communication:
      • MC 6530: Interpersonal Communication
      • MC 6560: Health Communication
      • MC 7610: Race & Communication
      • Relational Communication
      • Theory & Practice in Interpersonal Communication
    • Media Audiences & Processes:
      • MC 6440: Persuasion
      • MC 7110: Mass Communication Theory
      • MC 7370: New Media Research Seminar
      • Topics in Advanced Social Science Research Analysis

Elective Courses (15 credit hours):

  • Additional coursework that supplements the emphasis.

Additional Requirements:

  • A minimum of 3.0 cumulative GPA in all coursework
  • No incomplete grades in graduate coursework
  • Complete the degree within 8 years from the end of the semester of the first course
  • Continuous enrollment in consecutive Fall/Spring semesters [Summer optional]
  • Completed dissertation defended and uploaded by the Graduate College Deadline
  • Completed English Requirements (for international students. See ESOL courses and requirements)

Most students complete the program in 3-4 years. Students should complete coursework in 2 years. Most students take and defend their preliminary examination after the second summer. In the third year, students should defend their dissertation proposal and begin significant work on their dissertation project.



Credit Hours (Minimum)

Year 1

  • Temporary advisor: assigned
  • Qualifying examinations (second semester)
  • After passing the qualifying exams, declare the permanent advisor by filing the “Advisor Change Form” and, in consultation with the advisor, compile a “Tentative Degree Program Form” detailing the doctoral coursework.
  • Fall: 9 course credit hrs + MC 6970
  • Spring: 9 course credit hrs

Year 2

  • Composition of the dissertation committee.
  • Summer: 6 course credit hrs
  • Fall: 9 course credit hrs
  • Spring: 9 course credit hrs

Year 3

  • Completion of required coursework by the end of summer
  • Application for Preliminary exam
  • Completion of preliminary exams
  • Successful defense of dissertation proposal
  • Begin significant work on dissertation
  • Summer: 6 course credit hrs
  • Fall: 4 dissertation hrs
  • Spring: 4 dissertation hrs

Year 4

  • Completion of dissertation
  • Application for graduation
  • Summer: 1 dissertation hr
  • Fall: 4 dissertation hrs
  • Spring: 4 dissertation hrs


There are graduate assistantships available to doctoral students in the School of Media & Communication. Incoming doctoral students who are awarded an assistantship are typically granted three years of funding. The continuation of those assistantships from year to year is based on two primary criteria: whether they are meeting the requirements of their assistantship, and whether they are making significant progress toward their degree. Students may also apply for a fourth year funding.

The graduate assistantships typically entail teaching or working with faculty in classroom settings. Most first year GAs teach the public speaking course COMM 1020. After the first year, there are other opportunities for GAs to teach or assist in other courses across the Departments of Communication, Media Production & Studies, and Journalism & Public Relations.

The graduate assistantships come with a scholarship and stipend package. The scholarships cover the instructional fees and non-resident fees of doctoral students. The stipend provides income for the students as they work in their GA duties and study throughout the year.  As the cost of living in the Toledo metropolitan area has trended 15% lower than the national average, our stipends and overall assistantship package proves to be quite competitive compared to other institutions. All of our regular assistantships require that students work 20 hours/week in the Fall and Spring at a particular assignment.

While on assistantship, doctoral students are contractually obligated to enroll in a minimum of 9 credit hours each Fall and Spring semester.

  • Our students come from all over the world, including but not limited to Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East, East Asia, South Asia, as well as rural, urban, and suburban USA. Doctoral students come with a wide range of backgrounds and are both traditional and non-traditional.
  • Recent Ph.D. dissertations have addressed a wide range of topics. Visit OhioLink Electronic Theses & Dissertations Center to view recently published work of our graduate students:,P6_ETD_INST_DEPTID:4,842
  • Recent graduates found employment at such institutions as Arkansas State University, Boise State University, Cedar Crest College, Central Michigan University, Cleveland Clinic, Coastal Carolina University, Fayetteville State University, Indiana University East, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Northern Michigan University, Saint Mary's College, SEE University in Macedonia, University of Michigan-Dearborn, University of Nebraska, Utah Valley University, American Academy on Communication in Healthcare, John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.