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PhD Program

The PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is a thesis-based program designed for students who wish to pursue a research or scholarly career. Students are expected to complete the PhD degree in 4 years of full-time study.

Program Requirements

Students entering the program before December 8, 2016, can choose the new arrangement below or the previous candidacy process.

Students entering the program after December 8, 2016, will follow the steps (and associated links) below:

PhD students are expected to complete all course requirements in the first 8 months:

  • 3 core courses:  
    COMS 601: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Communication, Media and Film
    COMS  615: Methods (or alternate methods course)
    COMS 713: PhD Theory Seminar
  • 3 elective courses (see graduate courses for course descriptions)
  • Thesis 212 (mandatory but non-credit)

Following the completion of course requirements, students begin the candidacy process explained below and on associated links:

  • Candidacy process: Students are expected to complete the candidacy process in 21 months. There is a written examination on two fields of study, and then an oral examination on these fields. When these are successfully completed, students submit a formal dissertation proposal for approval by their supervisory committee in a final meeting. For a complete description of these stages, please see Candidacy and Timeline documents.
  • Dissertation: students spend the third and fourth years of their programs researching and writing their thesis.
  • Dissertation Defense: an oral examination of the dissertation completes the requirements for the PhD degree.

Courses are being offered in Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 (Courses at the 600 and 700-level are graduate level courses)


 If you have questions or require more information, please email or phone (403) 220-5623.


To apply for graduate studies with the Department of Communication, Media and Film, you must apply to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. We will begin accepting applications for Fall 2018 on September 1, 2017. The deadline to apply is January 15, 2018. Applying early is highly recommended.

> Begin application procedure