Given the centrality of media technologies and the multiple formats and platforms that are now used to communicate messages, acquiring critical knowledge in the art of communication is an invaluable asset. Now more than ever, we need academic researchers and creators to pursue a range of different inquiries with a special emphasis on publicly and socially engaged practice.
The PhD in Communication provides a dynamic academic environment where you will acquire advanced training in media and cultural analysis. Our faculty members are award-winning scholars, artists and film-makers, who have extensive track records in graduate supervision. Their research has also been published in highly regarded national and international journals, including Communication, Culture and Critique, Media Industries, and the Canadian Journal of Communication.
Take advantage of opportunities to teach undergraduate courses and work on projects related to our various research initiatives. You will also benefit from Montreal’s fertile research and media arts environment, which positions the city as a leading international destination for advanced study and practice in the fields of communication, media and cultural studies.
Join a cohort of students who organize ground-breaking conferences, establish reading and thesis support groups, and successfully secure highly competitive scholarships and awards. Topics our students are currently examining include:
Framing and circulation of media representations in different social networking sites
Representations of race, gender, aging, sexuality and ability across various media platforms
Automation and digitization of various industries and its social implications
The use of media in contexts of societal crisis, revolution, and uprisings
Applicants must have a Master of/Magisteriate in Arts in Communication or its equivalent. Applicants are selected on the basis of the excellence of their past academic records. Applicants must include a thoroughly articulated outline of a research project with their application.
Excellence and pertinence of academic background.
Promise as a scholar.
Relevance of proposed research to the program.
Feasibility of proposed research in terms of material and faculty resources.
Ability to understand English and French.
Availability of a faculty member to direct the applicant.
While there are no fixed quotas, admission is limited by the availability of the program's faculty to supervise students.
Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.
Language Requirements. Applicants should have a level of competence that would allow them to read technical material and follow lectures and discussions in English. Students may participate in discussions, write reports, examinations and theses in English or French, as they choose.
Credits. A fully qualified candidate entering the program with a master's/magisteriate degree is required to complete a minimum of 90 credits. These are apportioned as follows: courses and seminars, 18 credits; doctoral examination, 3 credits; thesis proposal, 6 credits; and thesis, 63 credits. Typical progress in the program consists of:
Courses: Integrative Seminar: COMS 800 (3 credits), plus three elective courses (9 credits).
Doctoral Examination: COMS 815 (3 credits).
Doctoral Pro-Seminar: COMS 835 (3 credits), and one additional elective course from among the program's offerings (3 credits).
Doctoral Thesis Proposal: COMS 890 (6 credits).
Doctoral Thesis Research: COMS 896 (63 credits).
Courses. All students must enrol in COMS 800 Integrative Seminar in the first term of Year 1; COMS 835 Doctoral Pro-Seminar (3 credits); and enrol in seminars and courses from among the program's offerings for a total of 21 credits.Students are required to choose a thesis director before the end of their third term in the program.
Students are assigned an academic advisor when they first register. Students are required to choose a thesis director before the end of their third term in the program.
Doctoral Examination. Students must successfully pass an examination based on the student's research areas and interests. The committee for the examination is composed of three professors, including the student's supervisor. Under normal circumstances, students enrol in the Doctoral Examination in Year 2 of the program. Normally, the written portion of the examination is defended orally by no later than the end of the Fall Term in Year 2. It is compulsory to finish the examination before registering in the COMS 835 Doctoral Pro-Seminar. It is also compulsory to finish the examinationbefore completing the thesis proposal. Students who fail this examination are permitted to take it a second time in the following term. Students failing a second time are obliged to withdraw from the program. Students should consult the program regarding specific examination procedures and requirements.
Doctoral Pro-Seminar. In order to promote the growth of an intellectual community within the program, students are required to register in the theory and research pro-seminar known as the Doctoral Pro-Seminar. Students registered in this seminar engage in research design by workshopping their thesis proposals through iterative presentations with seminar participants, and through multiple written drafts. Students are then required to present a first draft of their thesis proposal. Students typically register in the Doctoral Pro-Seminar in Year 2 of their studies. It is compulsory to finish the COMS 815 Doctoral Examination before registering in the Doctoral Pro-Seminar.
Thesis Proposal. In the term following the completion of course work (usually the sixth term) students should submit a thesis proposal to their thesis director. Students must have completed the doctoral examination before registering for the thesis proposal. The thesis proposal should be completed within three years of the student's first enrolment. The proposal must be defended orally before a committee of three professors appointed by the program. Students must demonstrate the viability of their project and their capacity to undertake doctoral thesis research. The proposal may be accepted, returned for modifications, or rejected. The rejection of a proposal results in the student being withdrawn from the program. A student whose proposal is accepted is admitted to candidacy for the PhD.
Thesis Research. All degree requirements, including the thesis, must be completed within six years of the student's first enrolment for full-time studies and eight years for part-time studies. The thesis must be based on extensive research in primary sources, make an original contribution to knowledge, and be in an acceptable literary form. For purposes of registration, this work is designated as COMS 896 Doctoral Thesis Research.
The doctoral thesis is based on extensive primary research; the goal is to make an original contribution to knowledge. The traditional research thesis is ideally no less than 225 pages and no longer than 350 pages. It must be written in an acceptable literary form and represent a contribution to theoretical or empirical knowledge in the field of communication. Students also have the possibility to produce a research–creation thesis which is to meet the same standards of rigour as the traditional research thesis. The research-creation thesis includes a practical component of creation or innovative production in the field of media/communications or digital/computerized communications, as well as a written component of approximately 150 pages demonstrating the contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field. A digital reproduction of the practical component must be attached to the manuscript at the time of submission.
Doctoral students are eligible for a variety of scholarships and fellowships, Research assistant and Teaching assistant positions, Reserve Teaching positions, conference travel awards and other in-course funding.
Consideration for Entrance Awards is automatically part of the admissions process for all new students. Several of the awards that are available for Doctoral students include:
Faculty of Arts and Science Fellowships ($36,000)
Concordia University Graduate Fellowship ($32,400)
Concordia Merit Scholarship ($10,000)
Arts and Science Fellowship in Ethnic Studies and Social Diversity ($10,000)
Mentor Awards ($7,000)
International Fee Remission Awards ($35,500)
The Department of Communication Studies is pleased to recognize outstanding students with Department of Communication Studies Recruitment Awards, up to $5,000.
We encourage students seeking admission to our program to apply for funding from external sources (e.g. FRQSC, SSHRC).
The department’s interdisciplinary faculty are known nationally and internationally for their scholarship. They regularly garner significant grants and fellowships for their contributions to the fields of communications, media studies, media arts, cultural studies and design art. They are also gaining acclaim for ground breaking research situated at the crossroads of fine arts, science and the humanities.
Doctoral theses are based on extensive research and advanced theoretical or empirical knowledge within the field of communication. Doctoral students who undertake research-creation theses include a practical component of creation or innovative production along with a written component demonstrating how the work advances knowledge in the field.