The interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Mass Communications is offered jointly by the Department of Life Sciences Communication and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Ph.D. degree in Mass Communications provides future academics and professionals with rigorous training in theory and research with highly individualized programs that students develop in consultation with their advisors. Our Ph.D. graduates become some of the most successful researchers and leaders in the field of mass communication. We require our students to engage in a systematic search for answers to well-formulated and substantive questions. The research process culminates in the discovery and reporting of new knowledge to others.

A doctoral dissertation in Mass Communications demonstrates a student’s ability to examine in detail an important issue in the field, using original research. Faculty members expect the dissertation to be clearly presented while conveying the student’s close familiarity with his or her research area.

The program offers several internationally recognized areas of research and teaching excellence: 

  • civic and political communication
  • health and environmental communications
  • history of media institutions
  • information technologies
  • social networking and digital media
  • processes and effects of mediated communication
  • law and ethics of media
  • international and inter-cultural communication
  • public opinion
  • science and risk communication
  • social marketing
  • journalism studies
  • media ecologies
  • race and media

Working closely with their advisor and committee, students draw from courses offered in departments across campus to develop a plan of study in preparation for independent and original research in their area of specialization.