Communication and Media Studies PhD Study space

Communication and Media Studies

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

The world needs people who understand media and communications. As a student in the Department of Communication, Media and Film, you will develop a critical perspective on how communication, media and film represent and shape our lives. You will also gain marketable research and communication skills.

This thesis-based degree is designed for students who want to pursue a research or scholarly career. Some of our focus areas include: animation studies, Canadian cinema, communication infrastructure, digital media and social movements, internet policy, rhetoric studies, and visual culture studies. We encourage students to develop their own unique programs of study that reach beyond traditional topics and discipline boundaries.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: Students take courses in interdisciplinary approaches to communication and media studies and research methods.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both written and oral candidacy exams.
  • Additional Courses: Topics may include critical media studies, communication infrastructure, environmental communication issues, media and politics and more.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.


Academic careers; private sector: communication/media/film related companies, companies dependent on digital media, wifi services; public sector: non-profit organizations, government positions dependent on digital communication.

A PhD in communication and media studies is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Three core courses and three electives.

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

Virtual Tour

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Charlene Elliott

    Charlene Elliott

    Accepting Inquiries
    Food Marketing, Policy and Childrens Health, Communication and Health, Sensorial communication, Intellectual property, Taste and taste culture, Media literacy
  2. Placeholder Profile Image

    Mél Hogan

    Accepting Inquiries
  3. Jessalynn Keller

    Jessalynn Keller

    Accepting Inquiries
    Girls media, digital cultures, contemporary feminisms, popular culture, celebrity
  4. Annie Rudd

    Annie Rudd

    Accepting Inquiries
  5. Tamara Shepherd

    Tamara Shepherd

    Accepting Inquiries
    feminist political economy of digital culture, internet policy, social media & platform studies, research methods
  6. Dr Tania Sona Smith

    Tania S. Smith

    Accepting Inquiries
    Rhetoric, Rhetoric of health and medicine, Public online professional communication
  7. Dr. Paul Stortz

    Paul Stortz

    Accepting Inquiries
    History of Education, Higher Education, and Media; History of Ethnicity, Race, Immigration, Refugees, and Multiculturalism; History of Intellectual Culture; Cultural Theory and Theories of History; Interdisciplinary Studies and Theory; Images in Historical Cultures
  8. Gregory Taylor

    Gregory Taylor

    Accepting Inquiries
    Communication Policy, Technology and Society, Canadian Media, Media and Democracy
  9. Charles Tepperman

    Charles Tepperman

    Accepting Inquiries

Admission Requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A completed Master's degree in Communications Studies or related field.

Work samples

Two samples of written work.


  • A statement of research intent (500-1000 words)
  • A detailed curriculum vitae

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency (ELP)

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements.


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Dec. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Dec. 1 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Communication, Media and Film

Social Sciences Building, Room 320
618 Campus Place NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website

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