The requirements of a Ph.D program vary based on your area of study, your post-secondary institution and your geographical location. Some like mine require courses, others are more research-based.
The Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Ottawa has course requirements, a comprehensive exam, a research proposal defence and then a dissertation. Four courses are taken in the first year of study (two per semester), followed by the comp and then two more classes. After that it’s all proposal and dissertation.
I really struggled to become engaged in my classes first semester. I enjoyed doing the readings on my own (something I became proficient at during law school), but found that the material didn’t translate and/or wasn’t covered sufficiently in class. For someone with a very busy schedule – something that I acknowledge is entirely my choice – this made class feel like a waste of time.
After the first week of my second term, I am beyond happy to report that my experience is completely different (and I’m not just saying that because this blog is a requirement in one of the classes!). I feel as though the readings will be engaging and practical, that the workload is reasonable yet challenging, that the topics covered will be useful, and that the hand-on experience that we’ll gain from using social media platforms in one class and quantitative and qualitative analysis software in the other will be invaluable. In addition, the courses are conducted in French – although I’ll be submitting assignments in English – which means that I’ll have an opportunity to practice my oral comprehension in terms both of listening and speaking in my second language.
I know that it’s early days into the second semester, but if this week is any indication of how the rest of the semester will go, it’s gonna be a gooder!