Quick Links

Ph.D. in Communication Studies

Ph.D. Degree Program Requirements

Candidates with an M.A. will be admitted at the PhD2 level of the doctoral program, thereby gaining credit for one year of resident study. Three years of residence are normally required for the PhD degree. The program of study is comprised of 5 courses (15 credits), the Pro-Seminar (3 credits), a comprehensive examination (0 credits), a dissertation proposal (0 credits), and a written dissertation with its defence.

Language Requirement: more information.

PhD students who have selected the Graduate Option in Gender and Women's Studies are required to take 9 credits (within the total credits that are required for the PhD degree); WMST 601 AND WMST 602 are required plus one 3-credit complementary Art History course related to gender and women's studies. All course selection must first be approved by the supervisor/graduate program director.



The candidate will take five related, graduate-level courses, plus the Pro-Seminar. Courses will normally be chosen from, but are not restricted to, those offered by the Program or by affiliated professors. Courses taken in other Programs must be approved by the candidate's supervisor or the Director of Graduate Studies in Communications. Students are encouraged to consider taking one of their courses in the graduate programs in Communications of other universities in Montreal.


Comprehensive Examination:

The Comprehensive Examination requires students to demonstrate competency in an area of communication studies. Students are encouraged to designate an area of communication studies with application to their chosen area of thesis research, but this is not an absolute requirement. The Comprehensive Examination will ensure that students are familiar with a significant body of work within the field of communication studies, and allow them to demonstrate their ability to critically analyze and synthesis a body of literature.

Students should prepare a bibliography of approximately 40 sources focused on a broad problematic or area of study within communication studies. This area should be agreed upon with a faculty advisor chosen for this purpose. This advisor need not be the supervisor of the student's dissertation. The student and advisor will agree upon a second faculty member, who will approve the bibliography. These two faculty members will constitute the Comprehensive Examination committee. In certain cases, a third member may be added to provide additional expertise. If appropriate, and with the approval of the Graduate Program Director, a faculty member can be designated by the student from outside the Department.

The committee will prepare a question or set of related questions arising out of the bibliography. The chair of the committee will provide the question(s) to the student. The student shall then have 30 days from receipt of the questions to prepare a paper answering the question(s) on the basis of their reading, synthesis, and critical analysis of the material. This paper should be 30-40 pages in length (typed, double-spaced, and exclusive of bibliography and notes).

The student will orally defend the Comprehensive Examination before the committee within four weeks of the date of submission of the paper. Upon completion of the Comprehensive Examination, the student will proceed to the Dissertation Proposal.

Dissertation Proposal:

The objective of the Dissertation Proposal is for students to demonstrate their readiness to undertake their thesis project. It should be completed once the student has a well-defined research problematic, a preliminary theoretical framework, and has a sense of how he or she wants to conduct the thesis research.

The Dissertation Proposal will consist of a thesis proposal of approximately 40-45 typewritten, double-spaced pages (exclusive of notes and bibliography). It should specify the focused research problematic of the thesis, situate that problematic within the field, specify the theoretical framework/approach to be used, offer a well-developed methodological discussion of the program of research, and provide a preliminary title, chapter breakdown, schedule for completion and working bibliography.

It is anticipated that by the time of the preparation of the Dissertation Proposal, students will have designated a thesis supervisor. The Dissertation Proposal will be evaluated by a committee to be designated by the student in consultation with that supervisor. The committee can be composed from within the members of the department, including Adjunct Instructors. The Committee must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Upon completion of the Dissertation Proposal, the student should submit four copies to the Graduate Administrative Coordinator (who shall distribute them to the committee members) and within four weeks from that date shall orally defend the Proposal before the committee. The defence of the Dissertation Proposal shall be chaired by the student's thesis supervisor.

The Dissertation Proposal shall be graded as Pass or Fail. In the event of a failure, the student would have the opportunity to resubmit the proposal, bearing in mind that the university permits only two failures before the student is asked to withdraw from the program.

All written material must be presented in accordance with the stylistic regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and must include appropriate documentation, footnotes and bibliography. Projects associated with confidential research may only be submitted in accordance with the regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.


Thesis work begins. Language requirement is fulfilled.

Language Requirement: At the beginning of the 3rd year of study, Ph.D. students are required to satisfy a French Lanaguage Requirement demonstrating French language ability in their area of research. Students are expected to make arrangements for the language requirement with the Graduate Administrative Coordinator.


Thesis is completed, submitted and defended.

Ph.D. Degree Time Limit:

The time limit to complete a PhD degree is 6 years (full-time) and 7 years (half-time). All doctoral students are admitted at the PhD 2 level which means that the time limitation period is the end of PhD7.