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Communication and Information - Ph.D.

Kent State's Ph.D. degree in Communication and Information offers a flexible and interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares you for a career as a faculty in higher education or as a researcher in communication, media, or information industries. Through coursework and research, you'll gain an integrative view of the disciplines of communication, media and information while specializing in research topics that intersect these disciplines. Read more...

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Doctoral Fields of Study


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Identities and Communities

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Health and Well-Being

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Media and Culture

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Information, Technology and Society

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Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

The Ph.D. degree in Communication and Information prepares individuals for traditional and emerging careers in teaching, research and administration in the converging fields of communication and information. The degree program consists of a prescribed core of interdisciplinary courses and varied selection of elective coursework within and across disciplines. The study is flexibly structured and designed to provide both an integrative and historical overview, as well as specializations in communication (media, technology and society; global communication; interpersonal communication) and information (human information behavior; cultural heritage informatics; knowledge organization).


For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of the academic requirements of a master's degree in one of the disciplines represented in the College of Communication and Information or a discipline closely related to the applicant's proposed course of study1
  • Minimum 3.300 graduate GPA on a 4.000 point scale (3.500 GPA or higher is recommended)
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Résumé (or curriculum vitae)
  • Goal Statement2
  • Letters of recommendation from those in a position to evaluate graduate academic performance and potential
  • Sample of superior scholarly writing (published paper, major term paper, thesis chapter, etc.).
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:
    • Minimum 587 TOEFL PBT score (paper-based version)
    • Minimum 94 TOEFL IBT score (Internet-based version)
    • Minimum 82 MELAB score
    • Minimum 7.0 IELTS score
    • Minimum 65 PTE score
    • Minimum 120 Duolingo English Test score

The Ph.D. degree is strongly research oriented. Applicants are expected to demonstrate previous research experience such as thesis or conference paper. Admission will be restricted to the most promising applicants. Applications are viewed holistically to evaluate the student's likelihood of success in the program. Applicants normally are accepted for admission only for the fall semester and for full-time enrollment. Applicants who do not meet all of the requirements listed above but who have otherwise exceptional credentials may apply and may be admitted conditionally. To ensure full consideration for funding opportunities, all application materials must be received by January 2. The program will continue to review applications through March 31 or until all available spaces filled. Late applicants are encouraged to submit materials as soon as possible.

For more information about graduate admissions, please visit the Graduate Studies admission website. For more information on international admission, visit the Office of Global Education’s admission website.


Applicants with academic preparation in other fields may be required to enroll in preparatory coursework at the master's level that will not count toward the Ph.D. degree.


The goal statement must describe the applicant's academic goals and intended topics of study that are compatible with the focus of the doctoral program including area of specialization based on the six specializations. It is expected that this statement will clearly indicate why the applicant wishes to pursue doctoral education. Included in the statement should be an indication of the theoretical area or areas the applicant wishes to study and the line of research the applicant wishes to pursue. Statements that make reference only to the applicant's teaching or administrative goals are strongly discouraged.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • Priority deadline: January 1
      Applications submitted by this deadline will receive the strongest consideration for admission.
    • Application deadline: March 1
      Applications submitted after this deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.
    • Final deadline: April 15
      Applications will not be accepted after this deadline.
Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of an area of expertise within one or more disciplines within the field of communication and information.
  2. Produce doctoral dissertations that advance existing areas of scholarly investigation within the field of communication and information.
  3. Be prepared to succeed as research-oriented, tenure-track faculty at research universities.

Program Requirements

Major Requirements

Major Requirements
Advisor-Approved Theory Courses from the College of Communication and Information6
Quantitative Research Methods Course3
Qualitative Research Methods Course3
Additional Methods Courses 16
Electives 212
Culminating Requirement
Minimum Total Credit Hours:70

Students choose two courses from any subject area.


Courses in the elective category are selected with the approval of the student's advisor and supervisory committee to support the student's research interests. Students planning to enter the professoriate should include CCI 80094 in their electives. 


Each doctoral candidate, upon admission to candidacy, must register for CCI 80199 for a total of 30 credit hours. It is expected that a doctoral candidate will continuously register for CCI 80199 for each semester, until all requirements for the degree have been met. 

Graduation Requirements

  • The Ph.D. degree in Communication and Information requires a minimum of 40 credit hours of graduate coursework beyond the master's degree and 30 credit hours of dissertation work for a total of 70 credit hours.
  • Students should begin developing their programs of study during their first semester and have them approved by the time they have completed 15 credit hours. Students may adopt templates for study in such areas as media, technology and society; cultural heritage information; knowledge organization; human information behavior; global communication; and interpersonal communication. All proposed programs of study are subject to review by the Doctoral Studies Committee as well as by the students' committee(s). Students are expected to become engaged in a variety of research projects before they begin dissertation work.


To achieve candidacy, doctoral students must pass the doctoral comprehensive examination.

Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus
Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available to qualifying applicants. Contact Miriam Matteson, PhD. if you’re interested in a graduate assistantship.