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PhD Areas of Concentration

Students in this PhD Program may elect to focus their study in the following areas:


Communication reflects faculty research and scholarship focusing on five interrelated core areas:

  • Communication and Technology
  • Health Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Language and Social Interaction
  • Organizational Communication

Students in this area conduct problem-oriented research at the intersection of these areas that focuses on a variety of prominent contemporary topics, such as social networks, social media, online privacy and anonymity, children's media use, community health programs, health campaigns, doctor-patient interaction, family involvement in palliative care, global teams, organizational change, corporate social responsibility, and institutional leadership.  Multiple centers and labs provide various opportunities for doctoral students, including the Center for Communication and Health Issues, the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, the Network Science (NetSCI) Lab, and the Collaboratory for Organizing and Social Media (COSM). For more information contact COM area coordinator, Galina Bolden. 

Library and Information Science

This area provides a strong academic foundation for students seeking theoretical and research skills for scholarly and professional leadership in the library and information fields. LIS offers concentrations in Information Science and Library Science. Information Science focuses on information behavior and systematic responses to it. Students in this area develop an understanding of and research capability in human information-seeking activity, information retrieval systems and information structures. Library Science concentrates on digital as well as physical libraries and information centers as part of a diverse global information environment. The concentration considers the design, management and evaluation of information systems and services responsive to users' information and cultural needs. For more information, contact LIS area coordinator, Nick Belkin.

Media Studies

This area is concerned with the political, social, psychological and economic impact of the media, as well as with the cultural and historical conditions that give rise to contemporary media. The area includes the study of "traditional"¬Ě mass media and newer electronic technologies and telecommunications. Research and coursework cover media content and effects; audience reception and interpretive processes; the emergence of audiences understood in terms of race, age, gender, class and politics; the sociology and production of culture; communication law, regulation and policy; and the media's roles in political and international communication and in educational systems. For more information, contact interim¬†MS area coordinator,¬†Regina Marchi.

The PhD Program encourages students whose interests are interdisciplinary and fall across these three areas to develop an individual plan of study in consultation with the program director, area coordinators and their advisors. For more information, contact Program Director Marie Radford.