We offer three degree plans in our department. All degree plans may be undertaken on both the Rhetoric and Interpersonal/Health Communication tracks. 

  • PhD
  • MA
  • Accelerated PhD

The PhD

The regular PhD track is normally completed in four years and requires a Masters to be earned before acceptance. The general timeline is:

  • Take four semesters (two years) of coursework.
  • Sit comprehensive exams the first semester of their third year. 
  • Defend the prospectus the second semester of their third year. 
  • Write and defend the dissertation their fourth year. 

PhD students are usually expected to teach every semester, with some exceptions. There is no non-dissertation PhD option.

The MA

The regular MA track is normally completed in two years. There is a thesis and a non-thesis track. For students who do not wish to continue on to the PhD, the non-thesis track can be an excellent way to prepare for a job outside of academia! Opportunities for internships and work experience abound. Just ask! 

For the thesis track, the general timeline is: 

  • Take two semesters of intensive coursework, with potential for fewer classes the second year. 
  • Defend the prospectus at the beginning of the first semester of Year 2. 
  • Write and defend the thesis before the end of the spring semester of Year 2. 

The non-thesis track has a similar course load, but instead of a thesis defense, you will sit comprehensive exams and defend them in your second year. 

The Accelerated PhD

The accelerated PhD program admits motivated and exceptional students holding a BA or BS degree in Communication Studies or a related discipline directly into a streamlined, rigorous doctoral track. Students will complete six semesters of coursework, take qualifying exams during their second year (conferring a non-thesis MA along the way to the PhD), complete comprehensive exams in the fall of their fourth year, and complete the dissertation in year 5. Only a few students are admitted to this program each year. See the graduate handbook's section on "BA/BS to PhD" here.

This is a unique program to UGA and we're very proud of our Accelerated PhD graduates. Go to our Alumni page to see what they're up to!