Program

Communication

College of Letters and Science

Graduate Degrees

The Department of Communication offers Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree in Communication. We do not offer a terminal M.S. in Communication. Students can earn their M.S. while completing the requirements for a Ph.D. All graduate students entering the Department of Communication at UCLA are expected to complete the Ph.D.

 

Doctoral Degree

Advising

Academic advising for graduate students in the department is primarily conducted on an individual basis by a student's faculty adviser because, beyond basic requirements, each student's program of study is unique. The department's graduate adviser is primarily responsible for counseling students in regard to program requirements, policies, and university regulations.

Students will provide their advisor and the Vice Chair a summary of their professional progress each Spring. This progress report will be collectively evaluated annually by all ladder faculty, with an analysis of progress toward the degree, as well as specific areas that require improvement if applicable. A written summary of the faculty discussion will be provided to the student by the primary adviser until that student advances to candidacy.

Areas of Study

Communication and Cognition; Political Communication; Computational Communication

Foreign Language Requirement

Not required.

Course Requirements

The expected course load is 12 units per quarter. However, the minimum course load may be adjusted downward by petition with the approval of the student's committee chair and the department chair if needed. Students must be registered and enrolled at all times unless on an official leave of absence.

Students must complete 14 courses (56 units)—of which at least 11 must be 200-level graduate courses—which must be taken for a letter grade, with a minimum GPA of 3.0. All students are required to take seven core classes: one communication theory and research course (COMM 200); one research design course (COMM 220); two approved statistics courses, with at least one at the 200 level (e.g., POL200A-D; PSY 250A-C; STAT 101, 102); and three seminars that correspond to the three areas of study (COMM 230; 250; 270).  In addition, students are required to take six elective courses from within our department or elsewhere, and a TA training class (COMM 495). Any additional elective courses above the 14 course requirement may be taken for a letter grade or S/U grading. Depending on the student’s area of study and prior academic preparation and study, a student may be advised to take other preparatory courses as determined by the faculty adviser.

Students entering the program with an M.S. or M.A. degree in Communication or a related discipline may potentially waive certain course requirements, with the approval of a committee made up of faculty members in the department.

Teaching Experience

All doctoral students must have a minimum of three quarters as a teaching assistant for courses offered within the department. This training need not be in consecutive terms, but it must be satisfied prior to graduation from UCLA.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass university written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to university requirements, some graduate programs have other precandidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the new Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.

 

First Year Paper and Second Year Paper

All students must complete original research during their first and second years, in the form of a first year paper and a second year paper.  In general, these two papers will be related to one another, but students may elect to pursue two distinct projects. At the end of the spring quarter of their first year, students present their research in a written paper and a brief oral presentation to the department’s faculty and graduate students. If original data has not been collected and analyzed by the end of the first year, the presentation must summarize work to date, including a proposal for data acquisition.

At the end of their second year, students present their cumulative research findings in a talk presented to the department’s faculty and students and in a paper. This second year paper must be approved by the student’s adviser (who will submit a formal grade) and approved by two additional ladder faculty members from the Department of Communication, and should be of publication quality in a top-tier journal in the discipline.

 

Written Examination

Students will complete a written examination in the form of a comprehensive paper, the contents of which must be approved by their adviser and the Qualifying Subcommittee of faculty members. This paper need not be directly related to the first year paper and second year paper, although a majority of students are likely to maintain continuity in the topic herein. In general this paper should include a substantial review of research in the student’s area of specialization, and it should be accompanied by an extensive reading list that the subcommittee can presume has been mastered by the student. The written examination is due by the end of the seventh quarter.

 

Written Dissertation Proposal

The written dissertation proposal requires a presentation of the student's proposed dissertation research, which may or may not relate directly to their capstone project. The proposal should include the background and significance of the area of research, the project’s goals, and the methods and tests used to address those goals. The written proposal must be approved by the end of the third year (ninth quarter) by the student’s primary advisor unless an extension is granted by the doctoral committee, and approved by the department chair. Prior to the approval of the written proposal, a doctoral committee must be established that will oversee the University Oral Qualifying Examination.

 

University Oral Qualifying Examination

Students take the University Oral Qualifying Examination after the written qualifying examination and written dissertation proposal are approved. The examination committee judges the feasibility and worth of the research project and the student's ability to undertake it in the form of pass/fail/retake (eligibility for one retake is at the committee’s discretion). The committee also may recommend changes in the research design.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

A final oral defense of the dissertation is required. A student is not considered to have passed the final oral examination with more than one “not passed” vote, regardless of the size of the committee. In the event that this occurs, the student may schedule a second oral defense of the dissertation.

Time-to-Degree

The normative time to complete the requirements for the doctoral degree is five years (15 quarters). Advancement to candidacy (ATC), including written and oral qualifying examinations, must be completed by the end of the fourth year, with normative time to ATC at 3 years (9 quarters). Maximum time to degree will be seven year (21 quarters)s, with extension granted by petition for an eighth year if necessary.

DEGREE: Ph.D.

NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters): 9

NORMATIVE TTD: 15

MAXIMUM TTD: 21

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

 

Special departmental or program policy

A recommendation for academic disqualification is made by the chair of the department after a vote of the faculty at the student review each term. Before the recommendation is sent to the Graduate Division, a student is notified in writing and given two weeks to appeal in writing to the chair. The student’s appeal is reviewed by a departmental committee, headed by the vice chair of graduate studies, which makes the final departmental recommendation to the Graduate Division.

 

UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by numerous special agencies. Information regarding the University's accreditation may be obtained from the Office of Academic Planning and Budget, 2107 Murphy Hall.

Master's Degree

The M.S. degree is not a stand-alone, terminal degree. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. degree program may be granted a terminal M.S. degree if they do not complete the Ph.D. requirements and exit the program. To be granted the M.S. degree, students must complete all required courses for the Ph.D., and complete the second year research paper, approved by the student’s adviser and two additional ladder faculty members from the Department of Communication. If the student is continuing in the Ph.D. program, this degree is optional. See below for more details.

Advising

Academic advising for graduate students in the department is primarily conducted on an individual basis by a student's faculty adviser because, beyond basic requirements, each student's program of study is unique. The department's graduate adviser is primarily responsible for counseling students in regard to program requirements, policies, and university regulations.

Students will provide their advisor and the Vice Chair a summary of their professional progress each Spring. This progress report will be collectively evaluated annually by all ladder faculty, with an analysis of progress toward the degree, as well as specific areas that require improvement if applicable. A written summary of the faculty discussion will be provided to the student by the primary adviser until that student advances to candidacy.

Areas of Study

Communication and Cognition; Political Communication; Computational Communication

Foreign Language Requirement

Not required.

Course Requirements

The expected course load is 12 units per quarter for a minimum of two years. However, the minimum course load may be adjusted downward by petition with the approval of the student's committee chair and the department chair if needed. Students must be registered and enrolled at all times unless on an official leave of absence.

Students must complete 14 courses (56 units)—of which at least 11 must be 200-level graduate courses—which must be taken for a letter grade, with a minimum GPA of 3.0. All students are required to take seven core classes: one communication theory and research course (COMM 200); one research design course (COMM 220); two approved statistics courses, with at least one at the 200 level (e.g., POL200A-D; PSY 250A-C; STAT 101, 102); and three seminars that correspond to the three areas of study (COMM 230; 250; 270).  In addition, students are required to take six elective courses from within our department or elsewhere, and a TA training class (COMM 495). Any additional elective courses above the 14 course requirement may be taken for a letter grade or S/U grading. Depending on the student’s area of study and prior academic preparation and study, a student may be advised to take other preparatory courses as determined by the faculty adviser.

Teaching Experience

Most students in the program will serve as a TA beginning in year 2 of the program. Those who receive external fellowships will be expected to complete a minimum of one quarter of teaching during their time in the program.

Capstone Plan

All students must complete original research during their first and second years, in the form of a first year paper and a second year paper.  In general, these two papers will be related to one another, but students may elect to pursue two distinct projects. At the end of the spring quarter of their first year, students present their research in a written paper and a brief oral presentation to the department’s faculty and graduate students. If original data has not been collected and analyzed by the end of the first year, the presentation must summarize work to date, including a proposal for data acquisition.

At the end of their second year, students present their cumulative research findings in a talk presented to the department’s faculty and students and in a paper. This second year paper must be approved by the student’s adviser (who will submit a formal grade) and approved by a second reader from the department ladder faculty, and a third reader from the ladder faculty of the university; and should be of publication quality in a top-tier journal in the discipline.

Thesis Plan

None.

Time-to-Degree

Students typically receive the master's degree by the end of their sixth quarter in residence.

DEGREE: M.S.

NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters): 6

NORMATIVE TTD: 6

MAXIMUM TTD: 9