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 four interrelated core areas:

  • Social Interaction
  • Organizational Communication
  • Mediated Communication
  • Health Communication.

Students in this area examine the nature and effects of communication on the individual, social groups, and society. The department houses two centers that provide various opportunities for doctoral students: Center for Communication and Health Issues, and the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership. For more information contact COM area coordinator, Jennifer Theiss

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" 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 MS area coordinator, Aram Sinnreich.

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.