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MASS COMMUNICATIONS Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Doctoral Degree:


Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

65 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

32 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

At least 50% of the required coursework (33 of 65 credits) must be taken at the graduate level, which Mass Communications defines as

(a) courses numbered 700 or above;

(b) courses Journ 614, Journ 616, Journ 617, Journ 618, Journ 620, Journ 621, Journ 646, Journ 658, Journ 662, Journ 669, Journ 675, Journ 676, Journ 699, LSC 614, LSC 616, LSC 617, LSC 625, LSC 640, LSC 660, which are specifically designed for graduate students or assess graduate students separately from undergraduate students; and

(c) those courses outside of mass communications that have been identified as graduate level by the course’s subject owner.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

In consultation with the student’s advisor, and with program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 33 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. 

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, up to 7 credits numbered 600 and above from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.  

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

In consultation with the student’s advisor, and with program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count no more than 12 credits of coursework numbered 600 and above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework taken ten years prior to admission to the doctoral program is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits for non-dissertators; dissertators must enroll for exactly 3 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

Attendance of both seminars in the joint seminar sequence (J901 and LSC700) is strongly recommended for new graduate students.

Additional requirements are detailed in the Academic Policies and Procedures Handbook for Graduate Work in the joint Ph.D. program in mass communications.

Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements

Breadth is provided via interdisciplinary training (minor requirement waived).

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.50 GPA required

Other Grade Requirements

Courses in which the student earns a grade below B do not count toward the 65 credit minimum, but they do count in the cumulative GPA.

Probation Policy

Doctoral students must do the following to maintain satisfactory progress:

1. Earn a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA by the end of the second semester in residence and maintain that GPA for the duration of the degree program.

2. Remove grades of Incomplete in the semester following their occurrence. A course proposal cannot be approved until all incompletes are removed.

3. Complete preliminary exams within three to six months of completing coursework.

4. Maintain steady progress toward completion of degree, including final oral exam and deposit of dissertation. Fulltime students can expect four to five years; completion will vary for part-time students.

Advisor / Committee

Doctoral committees must include at least two members from outside the Department of Life Sciences Communication and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Assessments and Examinations

Doctoral students must pass preliminary exams once coursework is completed.

Time Constraints

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Language Requirements

No language requirements.