Areas of Concentration

Students in this Ph.D. Program may elect to focus their study in the following areas:


The Communication area of the interdisciplinary doctoral program in the School of Communication and Information has faculty with research interests in five interconnected areas:

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

Doctoral students in Communication conduct problem-oriented research 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
  • Medical provider-patient interaction
  • Interaction on emergency and emotional support telephone lines
  • Family involvement in palliative care
  • Global teams
  • Organizational change
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Institutional leadership

Multiple centers and labs provide various opportunities for doctoral students, including:

For more information contact COM area coordinator, Matthew Weber.

Library and Information Science

The LIS area of concentration (also known as iSchool) in our interdisciplinary Ph.D. provides an excellent environment for research in such areas as: 

  • Health Information and Technology
  • Human Information Behavior
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Institutions, Artifacts and Documents
  • Information, Learning, and Technology
  • Information Retrieval and Language Analysis
  • Social Computing and Data Science

Multiple centers and labs provide various opportunities for doctoral students, including:

For more information, contact LIS area coordinator Vivek Singh.

Media Studies

Media Studies examines the role of media—of all types and on all platforms—in culture, society, politics and history. SC&I faculty members are trained in a variety of disciplines (communication, media studies, history, anthropology, and journalism and mass communication) and use a range of research methods including interpretive, qualitative, quantitative, and historical.

Our faculty members work in fields that include:

  • Cultural Studies
  • Political Economy
  • Media History
  • Journalism Studies
  • Technology and Digital Innovation
  • Media and Politics
  • Promotional Culture
  • Science Communication

Scholars who are seeking to be engaged, and whose work connects with real-world issues, our faculty examines the roles of media in understandings of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, class, and ideology; local, national, and international social movements, politics, and networks; and development and transmission of political and cultural ideas, including through journalism and popular culture. They also consider media law, regulation, and policy; media activism; and technological developments and emerging media forms.

For more information, contact Media Studies coordinator Caitlin Petre.

The Ph.D. 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 advisors. For more information, contact Ph.D. Program Director Melissa Aronczyk.