The C&IS doctoral program overseen by the Office for Graduate Studies provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of mass communication and information sciences. You will work with world leaders in sports communication, health communication, emerging media and more to choose your specialization and advance your individual line of inquiry. Through your work in the C&IS doctoral program, you will develop research, leadership and teaching skills to perpetuate the advancement of knowledge in the fields of communication and information sciences. Descriptions of the Spring 2017 CIS 600 level courses are available here as examples of doctoral coursework.
AdmissionsREAD MORE >>
The Graduate School of The University of Alabama administers admissions for the entire University. The Graduate School’s website has detailed admission policies, a copy of the graduate catalog, an electronic application, and other useful information for those considering graduate studies at the University.
Normally, an applicant will have completed requirements for a master’s degree in a communication field or in library and information studies. Consideration will be given to individuals with advanced degrees in other fields if they can make clear cases showing how their previous graduate work would apply to doctoral study in communication and information sciences.
An applicant whose credentials meet the following minimum requirements may be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program in communication:
- an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher overall (based on a 4.0 system), or a 3.0 or higher average for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study, or a graduate-level grade point average of at least 3.0, and
- a combined score of 308 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and no less than 151 on either the verbal or quantitative portion of the examination.
*International applicants must score at least 100 on the IBT Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to be considered for admission. Conditional language admission may be considered in exceptional circumstances.
Under exceptional circumstances, an applicant may be considered for admission if he or she meets either the GPA requirement for regular admission (GPA of 3.0) or a combined 300 GRE exam score requirement. If such an applicant is admitted, he or she will need to obtain permission to continue in the program after the first 12 semester hours of graduate-level work have been completed. Permission to continue is earned by achieving a GPA of “B” or better (3.0) in the first 12 semester hours. If the 12 hours are completed in a term in which the total credits exceed 12, the evaluation is made on the basis of all graduate-level work completed at the end of that term of enrollment. Students admitted under this circumstance who do not meet the 3.0 requirement after their first 12 hours of graduate-level work will not receive permission to continue in their graduate program, and will be dropped from the program.
Financial AssistanceREAD MORE >>
The College of Communication and Information Sciences offers a limited number of graduate assistantships to qualified students. The assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis to individuals who can best aid the institution in achieving its research and instructional missions. Students interested in graduate assistantships should apply to the appropriate divisions by November 1 for spring semester applications and by February 15 for all fall semester applications.
Program RequirementsREAD MORE >>
For the most up-to-date curriculum requirements, please visit the Graduate Catalog.
Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale in their graduate courses following admission to the doctoral program. A doctoral student whose grade point average falls below 3.00 at any time after completing 6 semester hours will be placed on probation by the College of Communication and Information Sciences. A student on probation will not be permitted to apply for admission to candidacy and may not hold an assistantship. Probationary status must be removed (by raising the overall average to 3.00 or higher) within the next 9 hours of graduate work following the period of probation. Failure to remove probationary status will result in the student’s dismissal from the program. Earning a “C” grade at any time will automatically put a student on academic probation within the College. Additionally, a student who earns a grade below “B” in more than two courses will be dropped from the program.
A preliminary examination is required of all doctoral candidates. The examination is given after all required course work and other work prescribed by the student’s Program Advisory Committee has been completed. The examination must be completed at least six months before the degree is awarded.
The student must demonstrate, through written and oral examinations, a capacity to understand, synthesize, and apply communication theory and research techniques in communication and information sciences, as well as demonstrate knowledge of the pertinent literature, issues, and recent advances in the student’s area of specialization and cognate area of study. In other words, the examination must cover (1) communication theory core, (2) the research methodology core, (3) the student’s specialization, and (4) cognate area. The written examination is administered by the student’s program advisory committee, which may call on other faculty members associated with the student’s coursework for assistance in preparing the examination. Sixteen hours are set aside for the examination, — four hours for each division (theory, methods, specialization, and cognate). The methods and theory portion of the exam must be taken on consecutive days, on campus, and closed book. The specialization and cognate exams should be taken on days immediately following the methods and theory portion of the exam.
The oral portion of the examination (required) will be scheduled as quickly as possible following the written examination. Immediately following the oral examination, the examination committee will convene to determine whether the student has passed, must perform additional work to demonstrate understanding of competency in one of more areas, or has failed the examination. In the case of a clear failure, the re-examination must take place after six months and before twelve months have elapsed. Each of the four portions of the preliminary examination may be taken only twice. The examining committee will rule either pass or fail on the second examination.
The minimum period in which the doctoral degree can be earned is three full academic years of graduate study. The student must spend an academic year in continuous residence as a full-time student (9-12 hours of coursework) in the Graduate School of the The University of Alabama (or, if specifically approved by the faculty concerned, one full summer consisting of two terms, preceded by or followed by one regular semester. Only enrolling in coursework can satisfy this requirement; dissertation research credit hours cannot be used. Students must complete their residency requirement before admission to candidacy.
Advisory and Dissertation CommitteesREAD MORE >>
A student’s Ph.D. Program Advisory Committee is composed of at least four members. The chair of the committee should hold a Ph.D. degree. All committee members may be Associate Members of the graduate faculty. One member may be from a college or school outside the College of Communication and Information Sciences, but must have graduate faculty status.
A student’s Program Advisory Committee can have no more than two members from one department. There shall be no more than one temporary member serving on any Program Advisory Committee. Additionally, temporary members shall not chair Program Advisory Committees.
Program Advisory Committees take responsibility for leading students through coursework and examinations toward degree candidacy.
Following the successful completion of preliminary examinations, the candidate for the Ph.D. in Communication and Information Sciences must form a dissertation committee. This committee evaluates the dissertation proposal and the dissertation proper. Both the proposal and the completed thesis must be defended before the committee. The successful defense of a proposal grants the student candidacy for the degree and entitles the student to conduct thesis research. The successful dissertation defense is the last formal step to reception to the Ph.D. degree.
The dissertation committee is composed of at least five members. The Graduate Faculty of the College of Communication and Information Sciences must be represented by at least three members. A fourth member may be from C&IS or from a college or school outside the College, but they must have graduate faculty status. A fifth member, to be appointed by the Graduate School of the University, must be a member of the Graduate Faculty in a division other than the College of Communication and Information Sciences; this “Outside Member” represents the UA Graduate Faculty at large. Only full members of the Graduate Faculty may chair doctoral dissertations.
At least one committee member other than the chair must have full membership of the College’s Graduate Faculty. One other member must also be a full member. All the other members may be associate members. However, no more than one, temporary member of the Graduate Faculty may serve on any given committee.
Admission to CandidacyREAD MORE >>
A student is certified by the Dean of the Graduate School for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. in Communication and Information Sciences after meeting the following requirements:
- Completion of the program of coursework and other requirements as prescribed by the student’s Program Advisory Committee and approved by the College of Communication and Information Sciences’ Office for Graduate Studies
- Demonstration by passing the preliminary examination, of competence in the Ph.D. core theory, research methods, specialization, and cognate
- A successful defense of a dissertation proposal
Only after the doctoral student has been certified as a candidate for the doctoral degree can the student indicate they are ABD (“all but dissertation”).
Dissertation and Final ExamREAD MORE >>
After successful completion of the preliminary examination, degree candidates must submit a written proposal to their dissertation committee. The proposal describes the importance of the proposed topic, outlines the hypotheses to be evaluated, provide an overview of the relevant literature, specifies the methodology to be used, and includes a timetable for completion of the project. The dissertation must make a significant original contribution to the field of communication and information sciences and must demonstrate the candidate’s ability to report that research in writing in a clear, comprehensive, and scholarly manner.
The defense of the dissertation proposal must precede the defense of the dissertation itself by at least 30 days. Furthermore, the student must submit the proposal, and later the dissertation, to the Dissertation Committee at least 14 days prior to the defense. After the proposal has been circulated among the members, the student’s dissertation committee meets for the student’s oral defense of the proposal. The candidate must complete the dissertation within seven years of the date of admission to the doctoral program.
The candidate must present a copy of the final draft of the dissertation to each committee member at least two weeks before the scheduled date of the final examination. After the dissertation has been completed and accepted by the candidate’s dissertation committee for purposes of the examination, the candidate will be given a final oral examination by the dissertation committee.
The final examination is primarily concerned with the research embodied in the dissertation and with the field in which the dissertation lies, but it may extend over the student’s entire primary field of study. The final oral examination is governed by the rules of the Graduate School of The University of Alabama. All members of the Graduate Faculty of the College of Communication and Information Sciences are invited to attend.
After the UA Graduate School has approved the dissertation the student is to provide the Office for Graduate Studies a bound copy of the final version of the dissertation. It is also recommended that the student present the chair and committee members a copy of the final version of the dissertation.