Top PhD Programs in Communication: List of Schools

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the field of communication is for those who wish to pursue a career in teaching at the college or university level. Learn about the top communication Ph.D. programs in the nation, including degree offerings, program concentrations, and other distinctions.

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School Overviews

Two of the best places to earn a Ph.D. in communication are Columbia University and the University of Southern California (USC). Both institutions offer accredited doctoral programs that allow students to select a concentration in the communication field to best suit their academic interests. Continue reading for further details.

1. Columbia University in New York City

School Highlight: Columbia University's Journalism School features several research centers and institutes focusing on specific issues pertaining to media and communications, such as the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

The Ph.D. in Communication at Columbia University involves the study of several disciplines, including political science, anthropology, business, and film studies. Students create an individualized course of study and concentrate on specific areas pertinent to communications, such as history, sociology, or international affairs.

Columbia's School of Journalism administers some of the top awards for written communication, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Chancellor Award. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) accredits the school.

2. University of Southern California in Los Angeles

School Highlight: Starting their second year, Ph.D. students in the University of Southern California's Communication Program have numerous opportunities for assistantships in USC research centers, such as the Annenberg Innovation Lab and the Center for the Digital Future.

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC has a Ph.D. in Communication program. The program provides an interdisciplinary focus on behavior in communication and has various areas of concentration, which include culture and community, information and political economy, health communication, rhetoric and political communication, and groups, organizations and networks. The Annenberg School is accredited by ACEJMC.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Mass Communication Studies
  • Speech Communications and Rhetoric

Top Communication Ph.D. Programs

College/University Name Distinction Location
Florida State University Communication research areas include South Asian media studies, which are focused on the emerging media industry in that region Tallahassee, FL
Indiana University - Bloomington Rhetoric and public culture, film and media studies, and performance and ethnographic studies are the main areas of research and focus within the Ph.D in Communication and Culture program Bloomington, IN
New York University The communication Ph.D. program's main areas of focus are technology and society, global and trans-cultural studies, visual culture and sound studies, critical theories of media and communication, and media institutions and politics New York, NY
North Carolina State University at Raleigh Communication rhetoric and digital media Ph.D. program faculty represent over a dozen research areas, including social networks and social media, game studies, visual rhetoric, and online information design Raleigh, NC
Purdue University Students can pursue a Ph.D. program in health communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, public relations, or media technology and society West Lafayette, IN
Texas Tech University Courses in the Ph.D. program in mass communications are largely focused on advertising, public relations electronic media, and journalism Lubbock, TX
University at Buffalo The Department of Communication is home to the Communication Science Center, which focuses on applying quantitative research methods to the study of communication activities in such areas as law, health care, marketing, and law enforcement Buffalo, NY
University of California - San Diego Among the broad areas of inquiry within the Department of Communication are race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, visual culture and communication, and disability studies La Jolla, CA
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Doctoral students create an individualized study and research program specific to their interests Champaign, IL
University of Pennsylvania All graduate students in the Annenberg School for Communication receive 100% funding for a total of five years of study, including money for research and travel to conferences both in the U.S. and abroad Philadelphia, PA
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