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Joint Masters and Doctoral Program at Ryerson in Communication and Culture
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Graduate Program in Communication & Culture
A Partnership of Ryerson University and York University


PhD Degree Requirements, revised for Fall 2014

The PhD Program is research-oriented and is designed to provide advanced training for candidates intending to pursue careers in research and post-secondary teaching. This program is only available on a full-time basis at Ryerson. Those interested in a part-time program should contact the York ComCult office.

Our doctoral program offers specialization in three Areas of Study: Media and Culture, Politics and Policy, and Technology in Practice.

PhD candidates normally must complete six one-term courses, including the PhD Required Courses  as well as elective courses in a major and minor field. Students who do not have adequate background in Communication and Culture Studies may be required to take the MA level course: CC8906: An Interdisciplinary Approach, in addition to the other doctoral courses. Upon completion of the courses, candidates must pass a Comprehensive Examination and present an acceptable Dissertation Proposal. The Doctoral Dissertation must make an original contribution to knowledge in the field.

PhD Degree Requirements


Courses (normally six one-term courses)

  1. All Candidates are required to take the PhD core courses: CC9904 Perspectives in C&C and CC9905 PhD Field Seminar: Disciplinary Practices
  2. All Candidates must take the CC9900 Advanced Research Methodologies course.
  3. Candidates must select 3 additional electives: in a Major field (two one-term courses), and Minor field (one one-term course).

Comprehensive Examination

  • PhD students must demonstrate an overall command of the field and of the major and minor areas of concentration by passing a written comprehensive examination. The examination is normally taken by end of the second year of registration. The examination will test the student's grasp of the history of the field, its central themes and major debates, and the key theoretical and methodological issues. The examination will reflect the diversity of perspectives in the field and its transdisciplinary nature.
  • The successful completion of the examination indicates that the student is qualified to teach at the university level and has the level of knowledge in his/her area of specialization needed to begin work on the dissertation.

Dissertation Proposal

As part of the preparation for the comprehensive examination, the student will prepare a dissertation proposal, under the direction of an advisory committee of Program faculty, consisting of:

  1. A description of and rationale for the research question or problem;
  2. A survey of relevant literature and a discussion of the debates to which the research will contribute;
  3. A discussion of research design, plans, and methods;
  4. A proposed table of contents;
  5. A select bibliography;
  6. A work plan or timetable.

Language/Cognate Requirement

Students will be required to demonstrate competence in those languages and research techniques essential to their research and preparation of their dissertation. Supervisors will be required to write to the Program Director confirming the student's proficiency in necessary language or research techniques.

Note: Candidates who do not have a strong course-work foundation at the master's level in Cultural Studies and Communication Studies will be required to take the MA level course: CC8906, An Interdisciplinary Approach, in addition to the other doctoral courses.