PhD Program in Communication
The PhD in Communication may be completed on a part-time or full-time basis.
The program encompasses three areas of concentration:
- the history of communication
- the political economy of communication
- the socio-cultural analysis of communication
Students may write their thesis in any of these fields or a closely related area. The thesis is expected to be an important and original contribution to communications scholarship and is examined by two outside examiners (one outside the department, the other outside the university) along with the student’s committee.
During their first year in the program, students take a required full course covering the above fields along with four other graduate level seminars (one term each). They then write their first or “breadth” comprehensive examination on the three fields in question. During their second year, students complete their second comprehensive examination by preparing and defending a project related to the field in which they plan to write their thesis. Before beginning their thesis, they also prepare and defend a thesis proposal.
Students prepare both the second comprehensive and thesis proposal with the assistance of a supervisor – any regular member of faculty with whom they would like to work. They also select two other faculty members to serve as members of their thesis committee (one of whom may be outside the department). Completion of the thesis usually takes 2-3 years. The program is thus designed so that full-time students can complete all of the requirements within a 4-5 year period.
Program and Course Descriptions from the Graduate Calendar
The program normally admits 5-7 new students each year. Admission is on a competitive basis and applicants should, by the time they enter the program, have completed an M.A. degree in Communication or a related area of study with a Grade Point Average of at least 10.0 or A- as calculated at Carleton. All full-time students receive financial assistance; part-time students are not eligible for regular funding, but other arrangements are sometimes available.
Of the students who have completed their Ph.D. in our program to date, over three-quarters are currently teaching in Canadian universities with others employed in the cultural policy sector and related areas.
The PhD Program in Communication began in September 1997 with five students, four full-time and one part-time. Since then, between five and eight new students have joined the program each year from across Canada and around the world. Since 2003, when the program had its first graduates, the following students have received their doctorates in Communication.
Thesis: Digital Nationalism: Identity, Strategic Communication, and Global Internet Governance
Thesis: The Notorious Woman: Tracing the Production of Alleged Female Killers through Discourse, Image, and Speculation
Thesis: Digitizing Failure: Development and Power in Nigerian e-Schools
Thesis: Tweeting Towards Utopia: Technological Utopianism and Academic Discourse on Political movements in the Middle East and North Africa
Thesis: Taking Risk Seriously: Discourses and Worldviews in a Nuclear Waste Controversy
Thesis: Contemporary Canadian Military/Media Relations: Embedded reporting during the Afghanistan War
Thesis: The Status of Women News Journalists in Lebanese Television: A Field-Gender Approach
Thesis: Negotiating a Quantum Computation Network: Mechanics, Machines, Mindsets
Thesis: Beauty Marks: Counter-hegemonic Power of the Body?
Thesis: Back to the political future: coping with crisis through radical nostalgia for revolutionary icons
Thesis: Good for the Heart and Soul, Good for Business: The Cultural Politics of Documentary at the Hot Docs Film Festival
Thesis: The perfect political storm? The Tea Party movement, the redefinition of the digital political mediascape, and the birth of online politicking 3.0
Thesis: Lazarsfeld, Merton and Markets: Case Studies of Media Effects Theories As Applied to Financial Reporting and Financial Markets
Thesis: Drawing Professional Boundaries: Professional organizations, Communication and interprofessional collaboration in health care
Thesis: Beautiful & Ambiguous News: An Aesthetic Approach to the Limits of Discursive “Truth”
Thesis: The 2005 Canadian Same-Sex Marriage Debate: A Case Study Examining How the Press Presented the Parliamentary Debate on Bill C-38
Thesis: Dialectic of Gloom: How the press survived the great Recession of 2008, after slashing its wrists and writings its own obituary
Thesis: Communication and the Changing Roles of Public Art Museums: Lessons for Museum Professionals
Thesis: Communicating History: Forgetting Colonalism at the Institut du Monde Arabe
Thesis: Memory, Militarism and Citizenship: Tracking the Dominion Institute in Canada’s Military-Cultural Memory Network
Thesis: Shadows of Traditions: Discourse Shifts on the Rule of Law and China’s Modernity
Thesis: Strategic Outcomes and Public Understanding: the Goals, Contexts, and Strategies of Non-Profit Advocacy Surrounding Issues of Homelessness in Four Canadian Cities
Thesis: Dipping into the Social Imaginary:The Role of Narrative Reference in Public Debate
Thesis: Canada and the Berne Convention 1886-1971
Thesis: Reproductive Anxiety: Reconfiguring the Human in Virtual Culture
Thesis: Moral Discourse in a World After Virtue Communication and Dialogue in the Thought of Alasdair MacIntyre
Thesis: A Changing Sense of Place in Canadian Daily Newspapers: 1894-2005
Thesis: The Depoliticization of Canada’s Economic Discourse
Joseph K. Ngare
Thesis: Neoliberal Global Governance: How International Development Organizations Transform East African Mediascapes
Aliaa Ibrahim Dakroury
Thesis: PRESENT AT THE CREATION: The Telecommission Studies and the Intellectual Origins of the Right to Communicate in Canada (1969-71)
Thesis: Taking It To The Streets: Space, Labour and Resistance in the Vancouver and Paris Film Industries from 1970 to 2005
Thesis: Identity, Discourse, and the Media: the Case of the Kurds
Faiza Hirji Kassam
Thesis: Resistance is Futile: Indian Cinema and Identity Construction Among Young South Asian Canadians of Muslim and Other Backgrounds
Thesis: The Costal Communities Network: Community Development, the Internet, and Cultural Change in Rural Nova Scotia
Thesis: Conspiracy and the Logic of Capital
Thesis: Beyond Data Protection: Applying Mead’s Symbolic Interactionalism and Habermas’s Communicative Action to Westin’s Theory of Privacy
Thesis: “A Splendid Army of Organized Womanhood” Gender, Communication and the National Council of Women of Canada, 1893-1918
Thesis: Canada and the Cultural Trade Quandary: Rethinking National Identity, Economic Liberalization, and Policy Capacity
Thesis: Myths of ITCs and Progress in Malaysia
Thesis: Squeegee kids: A study of successful scapegoating, 1995-2001
Thesis: Interweavement — Building a Crisis Decision-Making Model for Rational Responsibility in the Media: International Communication, Political Crisis Management, and the Use of Mathematics
Thesis: The Canadian Dream-Work: History, Myth and Nostalgia in the Heritage Minutes
Thesis: Political Communication and Construction of the Neo-Liberal Hegemonic Project: Ontario in Transition, 1995-1997
Thesis: Battles on the Cultural Front: The (De)Labouring of Culture in Canada, 1914-1944
Thesis: Colour Codification: Law, Culture and the Hue of Communication
Deadlines and Admissions Process
The deadline for applying for admission to the PhD Program is February 1. Applications received after that date may still be considered, but only if places remain in the programs after the first round of admissions has been completed. Applicants who submit their applications by late January will be eligible for early offers of admission.
The decisions on admission are made by the department’s Admissions Committee comprised of 3-4 faculty members and chaired by the Graduate Supervisor. First-round decisions are made in early March and applicants are notified by the program administrator of their status by e-mail shortly afterwards. Applicants who are offered admission will also be informed of the funding package being recommended to Graduate Studies. The applications of unsuccessful applicants cannot be held until the following year. In a few cases, applicants may be placed on a short waiting list.
Formal offers of admission and funding are sent electronically to successful applicants by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The offer of admission is normally sent first. Once it has been accepted, the formal offer of funding outlined by the department will then follow. Applicants are encouraged to keep the Graduate Supervisor advised as to the progress of these offers from Graduate Studies.
Funding and Scholarships
Students entering and pursuing the PhD Program in Communication have been very successful at obtaining funding through Canada Graduate Scholarships, Ontario Graduate Scholarships valued at $15,000, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) doctoral fellowships. View our Funding and Scholarships page to see some of our past winners.