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Doctor of Philosophy in Communication

College of Communication
Study System
Thesis and Courses
Total Credit Hours
45 Cr. Hrs.
3-5 Years
Fall & Spring
Sharjah Main Campus
Study Mode
Full Time

Doctor of Philosophy in Communication



The Ph.D. program in Communication is dedicated to educating the next generation of communication scholars, professors, leaders, and practitioners for the digital age. The proliferation of communication technologies has dramatically altered communications, creating extraordinary challenges and opportunities for communication scholars and professionals locally and at globally. This includes the need to form new generation of educators and scholars who are conversant with the nature of modern communication technology and its impact on media, public relations industry, culture and social institutions. The program is expected to attract M.A. holders currently working or studying in the UAE as well as in the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

Program Goals
The program aims to accomplish the following goals:

  1. Build up UAE national capabilities in communication scholarship and practical research.
  2. Offer current knowledge and applied research in media and public relations
  3. Satisfy the need of a significant number of master's holders in the field to pursue a doctorate degree.
  4. Foster long-term collaborative relations with the UAE community.
  5. Enhance and empower students to engage in research using advanced theories and methods in communication.
  6. Contribute to a better understanding of present issues relevant to communication issues and other cultural, social and ethical media issues in the region and at the international level.
  7. Transform the College into a center of excellence and expertise in the area of communication.
  8. Satisfy the need for Ph.D. holders in the UAE universities.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon the successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Identify, explain and critique the major paradigms and theories that have shaped the field of communication, including their historical development and current trends.
  2. Articulate the ethical and social responsibilities in communicating with others in different social contexts.
  3. Analyze and evaluate published research, and design and conduct communication research studies using quantitative social science, interpretive, critical, rhetorical, and/or performative methods.
  4. Interpret and critique research methods used in published communication research studies.
  5. Design, facilitate, and evaluate applied communication activities in professional contexts utilizing conceptual foundations and research methods.
  6. Participate in research teams to develop and implement research projects.
  7. Produce research that contribute new knowledge to their field of communication.
  8. Work collaboratively with all stakeholders to create, develop and exchange research knowledge to influence and benefit society and the economy.

Program Structure

Requirement Credit Hours
Compulsory courses 15
Elective courses
Dissertation 18
Total Credit Hours 45

Course List:

Program Requirements-Compulsory Courses (33 credit hours)


Course Code Course Name Cr. Hrs. Prerequisites
0800701 Readings in Mass Communication and Public Relations 3 --
0800702 Seminar in Contemporary Communication Theory 3 --
0800703 Statistics for Communication 3 --
0800704 Seminar in Applied Quantitative Methods in Communication 3 0809703
0800705 Seminar in Applied Qualitative Methods in Communication 3 0809702
809706 Comprehensive Exam Pass/Fail Completion of 15 Cr.Hrs. from compulsory
0800799 Dissertation 18 0809706
Total 33

Program Requirements-Elective Courses (Select 12 credit hours)

– Elective List
Course Code Course Name Cr. Hrs. Prerequisites
0800711 Integrated Strategic Communication 3 --
0800712 Ethical Problems in Communication 3 --
0800713 Seminar in Health Communication 3 --
0800714 Communication Technologies and Social Media 3 --
0800715 Special Topics in Communication 3 --
0800716 Rhetorical Communication 3 --
0800717 Communication & Political Economy 3 --
0800718 Women Studies in Communication 3 --
0800719 Seminar in Global Communication 3 --
0800720 Seminar in Development Communication 3 --

Course Description

Readings in Mass Communication and Public Relations
3 hours

The course surveys main books and other references both classical and modern in the fields of mass communication and public relations.  The course examines major areas, theories, concepts and tools in main literature in the field.  The course builds a solid base for knowledge and excellence in both theory and practice in modern media and public relations. Historical and social contexts of communication literature are also examined.


Seminar in Contemporary Communication Theories
3 hours

Course Description: The course examines the most current theories, scholarship, published research, trends and issues in the field of communication theory. The course provides a firm foundation in the breadth of communication theories. This includes philosophical assumptions, social & cultural contexts and applications. The course also evaluates and critically examines the strengths and weaknesses of theory building as this applies to real communication problems in different cultural & socio-historical contexts.


Statistics for Communication
3 Hours

This course introduces students to foundational statistical concepts and provides applied experience with conducting, interpreting, and reporting results obtained from the most commonly used tests in the field of communication.


Seminar in Applied Quantitative Methods in Communication
3 Hours

This course is designed to prepare students to undertake their own independent research.  It aims at developing both students' critical thinking skills and their practical research skills. The course examines various stages of quantitative research; frame research questions and develop problem statements, make the appropriate choices for particular techniques of data collection and analysis, and know how to apply research methods in practice. The course includes the choice of a research problem, the role of theory in research and the design of research projects. The courses further surveys a wide range of research tools and approaches commonly used in media and communication studies such survey, content analysis and experimental research.


Seminar in Applied Qualitative Methods in Communication
3 Hours

The course examines goals, epistemology and methods of qualitative inquiry in communication. This involves field observations, in-depth Interviews, case studies and critical content analyses.  The course includes strengths and limitations of different qualitative research methodologies. Distinctive contributions of qualitative research to theory and practice of communication are highlighted.


3 Hours

Dissertation Seminar is intended to assist doctoral students in the preparation of a dissertation proposal and to facilitate the transition from course work to dissertation. Completing a dissertation successfully is the last and often most challenging part of doctoral studies. The goal is to put one's theoretical knowledge and research proficiency to practical test by carrying out an independent, albeit guided, project producing an original piece of research and making a significant contribution to solving a problem and expanding the knowledge base in the specific discipline.


Integrated Strategic Communication
3 Hours

The course examines all phases of integrated strategic communication and its role in contemporary business and society.  This includes a historical and socio cultural overview of advertising, public relations, sales promotion and direct response marketing as well as an exploration of their interrelationships. The course covers strategic planning for integrated communication, message approaches and their foundations in theories of persuasion and information processing, and characteristics of message delivery systems. The course also provides a discussion of ethics, regulations, and the economic and social impacts of the industries.


Ethical Problems in Communication
3 Hours

The course is designed to give students an overview of one of our most important ethical issues in modern media practices. The course will peruse through the gamut of ethical issues and problem solving in communications. 


Seminar in Health Communication
3 Hours

This course is designed to advance knowledge of health communication theory, research, and practice. The course provides solid foundation for evaluating and conducting health communication campaigns including planning, initiation, and assessment. The course also focuses on various contexts of health communication including interpersonal, small group, mass media, and organizational communication for message generation, persuasion and effects.


Communication Technology and Social Media
3 Hours

In this seminar, we will examine the role of communication technologies in society and culture, with a particular emphasis on the technologies of the "social networks society." This will include both the social and cultural influences that have shaped the development of various new media, information, and communication technologies, as well the social and cultural impacts of those technologies. To that end, the seminar will begin with a series of readings aimed at helping you to think better about technology in general, both what it is and how change in technology relates to society more generally. With those theoretical understandings in mind, the historical development and impacts of various communication technologies will be examined, focusing on the early development of various technologies that have been key to the "social networks society", such as computers and the Internet. Next, several theories about the ways that these technologies have led to fundamental changes in our society, culture, and economy have to be examined. Finally, in the last several weeks of the seminar, the ways that new media, information, and communication technologies are shaping the way we work, play, conduct politics, create knowledge, relate to the environment, and conduct ourselves in times of war will be examined.


Special Topics in Communication
3 Hours

The course  investigate topics related to contemporary issues in mass communication and public relations among of which are  the influence of technological evolution driving the development of communication and media, and their contribution to cultural change locally and  abroad. Topics to be investigated will include general themes as class interests and time dictate; as this is an advanced seminar, the class is structured loosely to allow students to investigate topics in detail and to develop possible topic ideas not directly indicated in the syllabus.


Rhetorical Communication
3 Hours

This course is designed to provide a foundation for the humanistic study of communication, starting from the classical notions of rhetoric and civic life in ancient Greece and extending this analysis to our current global community. The course will trace significant contributions in rhetorical theory and understandings of the public sphere. The course is structured to introduce rhetorical concepts, theorists and vocabulary.


Communication and Political Economy
3 Hours

This course explores topics in the political economy of information and communication in contemporary society.  Survey of economic and socio-political issues relating to the globalization of the information and communication market. By focusing on problems in the production, distribution and sale of information, this course seeks to develop an appreciation of the importance of power in relationships between producers, owners and consumers. 


Women Studies in Communication
3 Hours

The course offers an introduction to Women's and Gender Studies, an interdisciplinary academic field that explores critical questions about the meaning of gender and images of women in language and media. The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with key issues, questions and debates in Women's and Gender Studies scholarship, both historical and contemporary. Gender scholarship critically analyzes themes of gendered performance and power in a range of social spheres such as media, advertising, law, culture, education, work, medicine, social policy and the family.


Seminar in Global Communication
3 Hours

The course examines globalization theory, the global media landscape and social media using political, economic, technological and cultural perspectives. The course also investigates the relation between national, regional and global media systems, and media markets, in terms of flows, contra-flows and the digital divide.


Seminar in Development Communication
3 Hours

This course traces the theory and the research in the development communication. Throughout the course, students gain theoretical knowledge and practical competencies in the fields of communication, media, culture, development, social change and globalization. The role of mass media in agriculture, health, education, population planning, sanitation, environment protection and socio economic development of transitional societies in general are thoroughly examined.