The Doctor of Communication (DComm) Program is a professional doctorate offered by the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies of the UP Open University. It is designed to strengthen the capability of practitioners by bringing the academic rigors of research, critical analysis, intellectual advancement, and science skills into the profession of communication as it is practiced in knowledge industries such as the academe, R&D institutions, government and development-assistance agencies.

Program Goals:

  •  to strengthen critical thinking skills in the professional practice of communication;
  • to use research-based information and knowledge to enhance intellectual, managerial, and decision-making skills in communication;
  • to enhance abilities to generate new practical knowledge and skills in the professional practice of communication;
  • to strengthen ability to conceptualize, prepare, and present technical papers in professional communication conferences or publish in refereed journals;
  •  to strengthen intellectual skills and capacity to undertake independent studies and synthesis of best professional practices in the field of communication.

DComm graduates, therefore, are expected to demonstrate higher level abilities in:

  •   the conduct of independent studies and synthesize practical knowledge and best practices in the field of communication; and
  •    the design, implementation, and evaluation of practical continuing education programs, including short-term higher-level training courses for other communication practitioners.

Admission Requirements

An Applicant must have:

  • a Master’s degree from a recognized institution of higher learning;
  • a UP-equivalent grade point average (GPA) of 1.75 or better in the Master’s degree program; and panel interview

The applicant shall be evaluated by the DComm Admissions Committee, based on a complete portfolio that contains the following:

  •     Statement of Intent in the form of a 2,000-word essay outlining the applicant’s research plan of action, which includes the proposed research framework, problem (in question form) or topics.
  •     Portfolio of written work comprising the applicant’s written work (e.g., publications and studies undertaken wherein the applicant is the sole or senior author, media productions, scripts, etc.).
  •     English language proficiency report indicating that the applicant, who is not a native speaker of English and who did not take previous academic coursework in English, has passed a valid English proficiency examination (e.g., International English Language Testing System – IELTS, or Test of English as Foreign Language – TOEFL).
  •     Proficiency in the use of computers and the Internet, which may be an actual demonstration of proficiency in the use of computer technologies, the Internet, and other information and communication tools essential for undertaking independent research.
  •     Official Transcript of Records (ToR) from the applicant’s Alma Mater recognized by the CHED or the University of the Philippines.
  •     Two letters of recommendation from former professors, or from current/previous employers or colleagues in the field of communication.
  •     Receipt to testify that the applicant has paid the required application fee to the UPOU.
  •     Special Needs Statement that would include but not limited to physical and mental conditions that might require special attention or support service.

Other additional and special admission requirements that may be imposed by the University of the Philippines Open University.

The DComm Admissions Committee is responsible for determining whether or not an applicant may be admitted to the DComm Program.

Core Courses

The DComm student shall take four core courses totaling 12 units:

COMM 310 (Communication Theory and Practice). Contemporary communication theories and practices; communication models; approaches to theorizing in communication. Prerequisite: None

COMM 390 (Communication Research Paradigms). Foundations of communication research. Basic assumptions, concepts and approaches to communication research. Prerequisite: COMM 310

COMM 391 (Communication Research Methodologies). Quantitative and qualitative approaches to communication research. Prerequisite: COMM 390

COMM 399 (Online Colloquium in Communication Research). Student-managed online colloquium focused on selected topics related to or tools useful in the systematic study of communication phenomena and best practices in the profession. Prerequisite: COMM 391

 Specialized Courses

 The DCOMM student shall take seven specialized courses totaling 21 units. These courses have no prerequisites and may be taken in any order. However, it is advisable (but not mandatory) to take these specialized courses after COMM 310, 390 and 391 that provide the appropriate perspectives and contexts.

COMM 320 (Management of Communication Media Resources & Systems). Concepts and structures of communication systems; application of contemporary management theories and approaches in the effective operations of communication systems.

COMM 330 (Communication Policy and Planning). Current approaches to communication policy sciences and planning at the organizational, national, and global levels.

 COMM 340 (Organizational Communication). Concepts, techniques, and contemporary thinking in organizing and managing corporate communication systems.

COMM 350 (Information and Knowledge Management). Theoretical foundations, principles, and development applications of Information and Knowledge Management. Management of information and knowledge systems.

COMM 360 (Information & Communication Media Technologies). Current and emerging information and communication technologies and their application to the generation, processing, storage, and utilization of information and other social messages.

COMM 370 (Corporate Social Responsibility Communication). Philosophical, social, and moral foundations of the corporate social responsibility of human organizations in a developing society. 

COMM 380 (Advocacy and Social Mobilization). Contemporary principles in and approaches to advocacy and social mobilization in a changing social environment.


COMM 400 (Doctoral Dissertation). Comprehensive and exhaustive, directed independent study consisting of in-depth analysis of communication phenomena, synthesis of scientific communication literature, or in-depth analysis of best practices in the field of communication. You must have completed your coursework before enrolling under COMM 400.

Dissertation Milestones

 The capstone requirement of the Doctor of Communication program is the conduct and writing of a dissertation (12 units).

You enroll in COMM400 in order to have your dissertation proposal formally approved and eventually completed, not to begin developing your ideas about your work. You should begin considering topics for your dissertation early on in the program.

You may only enroll COMM400 after completing all your coursework and your graduate advisory committee constituted. The dissertation has a credit of 12 units to be enrolled in one semester. This does not mean that you need to complete your dissertation within that length of time. The timeline for your dissertation will be decided upon by your advisory committee and you.

In keeping with the spirit of openness, the DComm Program will not structure nor put timelines on your dissertation. It will allow the student and his/her adviser to work on the dissertation in an iterative manner without specific milestones and timeline restrictions. Take note that the program does not have a maximum residency period. This will also avoid confusion in recalling the total number of units registered. If you are unable to complete your dissertation in a given semester, you should enroll for residency in the succeeding ones until you successfully defend your work.

Your final grade is issued only once the dissertation has been completed and defended. An official note is placed on the transcript or records stating the semester when you have satisfactorily completed your dissertation.

Topic Presentation

 Immediately upon enrolling your COMM 400 (Doctoral Dissertation), you are encouraged to communicate with your graduate advisory committee to discuss your topic. Your adviser may require you to give a topic presentation. In this event, you are expected to present your identified dissertation topic to your graduate advisory committee for their approval. Ordinarily, the topic presentation would consist of the following: your proposed title; the rationale for the topic including research gaps or inconsistencies found in the literature; research questions; a theoretical framework or lens; and your proposed methodology. This implies that you have read the literature related to the topic that you can fully discuss the rationale, the research problem and the research objectives for your topic.

Dissertation Examinations

There will be two dissertation examinations: the proposal presentation; and the oral defense or final exam. The student and his/her advisory committee will determine the appropriate dates based on the progress of the dissertation. Individual members of the advisory committee may exercise his/her right to postpone the proposal presentation or oral defense if he/she has any doubts on the student’s readiness.

For the proposal presentation, you are to present, in addition to the rationale of the study, research problem, and research objectives, the detailed methodology of your research.  This should include how the data will be gathered – if survey, who and how many will be your respondents and how will they be selected; if content analysis, what documents will be analyzed and how will the analysis be done; etc.  You are also to present the research instruments if these will be part of your research methodology and discuss how you will analyze the data that you will gather.

You should be prepared to describe measures that you will undertake to ensure that your research will adhere to the accepted Research Ethical Guidelines. After the proposal presentation, you are expected to submit a final research proposal and to clear it with the UPOU Research Ethics Committee. Guidelines on research ethics will be distributed to you in a separate cover.

For the final defense, in addition to the parts already discussed in your proposal presentation, you should present the following components of your dissertation manuscript: Results and Discussion; Conclusion; and Recommendations.

For the benefit of the student, it is highly recommended that presentations and defense examinations be done face to face not only to avoid technical difficulties but to avail of the opportunity to interact face-to-face with the DComm faculty.

However, it may be conducted online ONLY if conditions merit such but it will be done at your own risk of technical problems and coordination difficulties.
Note that the committee may opt to decide on an outcome in spite of these constraints and it may not be on your favor. If you will opt for the online defense, you will be advised on what tool will be used.

Program Structure for Part-time Students

First Year
First SemesterSecond Semester
COMM 310 Comm Theory & PracticeCOMM 330  Comm Policy & Planning
COMM 320 Mgt of Comm Media SystemsCOMM 390  Comm Research Paradigms
Second Year
First SemesterSecond Semester
COMM 340 Organizational CommunicationCOMM 350 Info &Knowledge Management
COMM 391 Comm Research MethodologyCOMM 360 Info & Comm Media Technology
Third Year
First SemesterSecond Semester
COMM 370 Corporate Social ResponsibilityCOMM 399 Online Research Colloquium
COMM 380 Advocacy & Social Mobilization 
Fourth Year
First Semester 
COMM400 (12 units) Doctoral Dissertation

Program Structure for Full-time Students

First Year
First SemesterSecond Semester
COMM 310 Comm Theory & PracticeCOMM 350 Info &Knowledge Management
COMM 320 Mgt of Comm Media SystemsCOMM 360 Info & Comm Media Technology
COMM 330  Comm Policy & PlanningCOMM 390  Comm Research Paradigms
Second Year
First SemesterSecond Semester
COMM 340 Organizational CommunicationCOMM 380 Advocacy & Social Mobilization
COMM 370 Corporate Social ResponsibilityCOMM 399 Online Research Colloquium
 COMM 391 Comm Research Methodology 
Third Year
First Semester 
 COMM 400 (12 units) Doctoral Dissertation


  • Dr. Alexander G. Flor
    Program Chair, DComm
    Research Interests:
    • Environmental Communication
    • Knowledge Management (KM4D)
    • Mixed Method Research
  • Dr. Melinda dP. Bandalaria
    Chancellor, UPOU
    Research Interests:
    • Advocacy & Social Mobilization
    • CSR Communication
  • Dr. Grace J. Alfonso
    Research Interests:
    • Film and Media Studies
    • Gender
  • Dr. Jean A. Saludadez
    Research Interests:
    • Organizational Communication
    •  Communication as constitutive of organization
    •  Communication qualitative research
  • Dr. Joane V. Serrano
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:
    • Environmental Communication
    •  Sustainable development
    •  Educational communication
    • Gender and communication
    • Culture and communication
  • Dr. Diego S. Maranan
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:
    • Interactive Art and Design
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Embodied Cognition
    • Wearable Technologies
    • Somatics
  • Dr. Ria Mae Borromeo
    Associate Professor
    Research Interests:
    • Data Engineering
    • Crowdsourcing Process Management
    • Hybrid Human-Computer Systems 
    • Knowledge Discovery in Databases


  • Dr. Arminda V. Santiago
    Research Interests:
    • Film and Media Studies
  • Dr. Benjamina G. Flor
    Research Interests:
    • Governance Communication
      Monitoring Evaluation
  • Dr. Serlie B. Jamias
    Research Interests:
    • Network Analysis
    • Qualitative Methods
  • Dr. Madeline M. Suva
    Research Interests:
    • Communication Research
    • Quantitative Methods
  • Dr. Lourdes M. Portus
    Research Interests:
    • Qualitative Research 
  • Dr. Elena Pernia
    Research Interests:
    • Communication Research
  • Dr. Rogelio V. Cuyno
    Research Interests:
    • Organizational Communication Research
  • Dr. Clarissa C. David
    Research Interests:
    • Communication Research
  • Dr. Serafin Talisayon
    Research Interests:
    • Knowledge and innovation management
    • Organizational learning and change; organizational review and evaluation
    • Environmental management and sustainable development
      Knowledge-based development


How many years will it take for me to finish the program?

 Assuming a normal load of six units per semester are taken, the average period to complete the course would be four (4) years. The period it would take to complete the course would however, depend on the student’s own pace.

I am currently working. Can I still enroll?
The DComm Program was primarily designed for part time and working students. Thus, distance e-Learning  suits working students well.

What if I am based outside the Philippines?
All courses are taught online, which means that you can study any course wherever you are.

How can I apply for admission?
The procedure of application may be found here.

Are there classroom sessions?
All DComm courses are delivered online.

Do I have to view the modules at a certain time or date or can I study these modules at my own pace?

The courses taught are asynchronous. You can view these modules on your own pace, at your available time. However, do take note or be updated if there are deadlines set by the faculty-in-charge.

Will there be an instance where I would be required to personally go to the university?

If possible, present your proposal or dissertation defense in person. This not only lessens the technical difficulties you may encounter, but it would also be an opportunity for you to meet the faculty face to face.

How can I conduct my dissertation defense? 

First, you need the approval of your adviser and panel members. The key here is to constantly communicate the progress of your draft with your adviser and panel members. Once the go-signal is given, schedule a defense date with your committee then prepare a powerpoint presentation to send to the student support staff before the date of your defense.

Please refer to this flowchart for more information.

If I could not make a face-to-face defense/presentation, how do I conduct an online defense?

Once you get the approval of your dissertation committee, set a date for your online defense.  Record a video screen capture with audio narration (screencast) of your presentation and email it to the DComm student support staff.  We will then instruct you on the video conferencing tool that you will be using (Zoom).

What do I need to prepare before my dissertation defense?

You need to prepare your powerpoint (or screencast) presentation. Provide a copy of your final draft to the committee, if possible. Other than that, laptops, projector, etc., will be provided by us.