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!


Graduate Certificates 

The Department of Communication Studies also offers a graduate certificate in Science and Health Communication. The certificate requires six hours of introductory courses offered in-department and six hours of electives. The electives may be in or out of department. See the plan of study here.

Furthermore, the University of Georgia at large offers many other graduate certificates. Communication Studies students often complete certificates in the Women's Studies or African-American Studies departments, but others may be completed under consultation with your advisor and the department in question. See the full list here.