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School of Communication | Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology Simon Fraser University Calendar | Fall 2019


Doctor of Philosophy

The School of Communication approaches the study of communication using theoretical and methodological frameworks that are informed by the Social Sciences and Humanities. In both the M.A. and Ph.D. programs graduate students design research projects that examine case studies, theoretical issues or practices using a Communication framework, analyzing the political, economic and cultural implications for society at local and global levels.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulation 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. Admission requirements will normally include a Master's of Arts degree in Communication or an equivalent degree. Qualified applicants will be accepted only if the School of Communication's Graduate Program Committee (GPC) can identify faculty members from the School who have the capacity and required expertise to be senior supervisors for the applicants in question.

Program Requirements

This program consists of course work, comprehensive exams, a thesis proposal, and a thesis for a minimum of 37 units. The Graduate Program Committee may require additional courses depending on the applicant's background and thesis project. The courses are normally completed before completing the comprehensive exams.

Students must complete

CMNS 801 - Design and Methodology in Communication Research (5)

A survey course which examines the problems, methods and theoretical assumptions in communication research using case studies of research design and methods. Students may design a research project and conduct a small pilot study in a selected area. Normally offered in the spring term and expected in the first year of graduate study.

and two of

CMNS 800 - Contemporary Approaches in Communication Studies (5)

This course surveys current interdisciplinary perspectives in communication studies and theory. It is normally offered in the fall term, and expected in the first year of graduate study.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Zoe Druick
Fr 10:30 AM – 2:20 PM
HCC 3122, Vancouver
CMNS 802 - History of Communication Theory (5)

A survey of classic works, issues and debates in communication theory.

CMNS 804 - Seminar in Advanced Communication Theory (5)

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Sarah Ganter
Mo 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
SSCK 8652, Burnaby

and one graduate course in CMNS

and one graduate elective 5 unit course

and a comprehensive exam

CMNS 895 - Comprehensive Examination (6)

Examination of three areas of which one must be on the theoretical or methodological framework/procedures indicated by the proposed dissertation. S/U standing only. The exam may be retaken once in the event of unsatisfactory performance.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
G300 TBD

and a thesis

CMNS 899 - PhD Thesis (6)

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
G300 TBD

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program in 18 terms.

Other Information

Advising and Supervision

Students are advised to read section 1.6 of the Graduate General Regulations and the School's guidelines for supervisory committees. Upon admission, students are assigned an interim advisor. Once the student's senior supervisor has been confirmed, which is typically the interim, in consultation with the supervisor, a minimum of two other faculty members are invited to join the student's supervisory committee by the beginning of the third term. Although the Graduate Studies Committee aims to select interim advisors with expertise in the student's research area who have the time and capacity to supervise, the student or interim advisor might decide another faculty member is better suited to be the senior supervisor.

Language Requirement

Students will be required by the Graduate Program Committee to demonstrate adequate command of any language that is essential to the completion of their thesis.

Course Work

Students who have completed equivalent graduate courses should consult their senior supervisor to evaluate course substitutions or waivers.

No more than one course may be completed with the same instructor, except by permission of the graduate studies committee.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.