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Doctor of Philosophy Media, Culture, and Communication

Grounded in an interdisciplinary approach to the study of media and culture, our doctorate draws from a rich array of disciplines and theoretical frameworks. Department expertise spans the globe: the Middle East, East Asia, the Global South, Africa, and Europe. Our faculty generate some of the most original scholarship in their respective fields, creating a stimulating environment in which to pursue graduate work.

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Degree Details

Official degree title.

PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication

Research Focus

Alumni placements, funding for full-time phd students.

Five research areas operate as guiding frameworks for intellectual inquiry across the department: Global Communication and Media, Technology and Society, Visual Culture and Sound Studies, Media Industries and Politics, Interaction and Experience.

Your work as a doctoral student will be shaped by our commitment to:

  • Engaging with theoretical concepts from a range of disciplines—media and cultural studies, visual culture, history, science and technology studies, anthropology, sociology, disability studies, sound studies, political science.
  • A multi-methodological approach to research—from semiotics, global ethnography, gender and queer theory, critical race theory, qualitative and quantitative discourse analysis, to political/cultural economy, among other critical frameworks.
  • A global perspective—conceiving of the global mediascape as transnational and transcultural.
  • Recognizing media and technology’s long history and antecedents.

Read some sample dissertation abstracts .

After graduating, alumni join academic departments of media and communication, with placement in the social sciences and interdisciplinary humanities becoming increasingly common. MCC PhDs who graduated in the past ten years are now tenure-track or tenured professors at the University of California, Berkeley; University of Washington, Seattle; Cornell University; Stanford University; UCLA; Rutgers; Fordham; University of Michigan; George Mason University; University of North Carolina; University of Arizona; College of Charleston; Memorial University of Newfoundland; University of San Francisco; Scripps; Pratt; University of Maryland; American University of Beirut; American University of Paris, Ryerson University; Trent University; St. Joseph’s College.

Over the past decade, our PhD graduates have received numerous prestigious postdocs, including a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities in the Department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT; Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at MIT's Center for Art, Science, and Technology; Postdoctoral Fellow, Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University; Postdoctoral Researcher, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science; Postdoctoral, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University; Postdoctoral Fellowship at Rice University in Technology, Culture, and Society; Research Associate, Center for Digital Humanities, Princeton University; Postdoctoral Fellow, Media, Inequality & Change Center, University of Pennsylvania.

If you are accepted as a full-time NYU Steinhardt PhD student without an alternate funding source, you are eligible for our competitive funding package, which includes a scholarship and tuition remission.  Learn more about our funding opportunities .

Graduate Leadership

profile photograph of Mara Mills lecturing at a podium with a computer in the foreground and a screen in the background. she is a white middle aged woman with chin length brown curly hair.

Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication; PhD Director

Susan Murray

Susan Murray

Department chair and professor of media, culture, and communication.

If you have additional questions about our degree, please contact us at [email protected] .

Alumni Profiles

picture of Jacob Gaboury

Jacob Gaboury (PhD 2014)

Jacob is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Film & Media at the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation "Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics, 1965-1979" investigated the early history of computer graphics and the role they play in the move toward new forms of simulation and object oriented design.

picture of Xiaochang Li

Xiaochang Li (PhD 2017)

Xiaochang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University. Her teaching and research interests include the history of computing and information systems, AI and algorithmic culture, speech and language technology, and software/platform studies. Before joining Stanford, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

photo of Hatim

Hatim El-Hibri (PhD 2012)

Hatim is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at George Mason University. His research examines media technologies and urban space in the Middle East. His dissertation traced the history of the visualization of Beirut, from the politics of aerial photography and mapping during the French Mandate, to the visual economy of postwar construction, to the materiality of Hizballah's live satellite television.

photo of Liz Koslov

Liz Koslov (PhD 2017)

Liz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. Previously, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT. Her research examines the cultural, political, and sociological dimensions of climate change adaptation. Her first book project, Retreat: Moving to Higher Ground in a Climate-Changed City , is under advance contract with the University of Chicago Press.

photo of Devon Powers

Devon Powers (PhD 2008)

Devon is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Advertising, Media & Communication at Temple University. Powers' research interests include popular music, 20th century history, and cultural intermediation – the people and processes that operate "in between" the production and consumption of culture. Powers completed a fellowship at the University of Leeds in 2014, and was recently elected Vice Chair of the Popular Communication Division of the International Communication Association.

photo of Matthew Powers

Matthew Powers (PhD 2013)

Matthew is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington-Seattle. His dissertation "Humanity's Publics: NGOs, Journalism and the International Public Sphere" examined reporting roles assumed by international NGOs as legacy media outlets cut their foreign news budgets, and received the Gene Burd Outstanding Dissertation in Journalism Studies award from the International Communication Association. 

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Ph.D. in Strategic Media Online Lead with Insight

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Become an Expert in Strategic Communications with a Ph.D. in Strategic Media

Today’s world is buzzing with digital conversation. From politics to healthcare and human services, every industry is impacted by the media. By pursuing a Ph.D. in Strategic Media, you can grow your organization and your career by understanding the theory behind effective communication and the application of practical techniques to 21st-century problems.

Imagine utilizing the latest trends in video, graphic, and online visual persuasion to take your organization to new levels. Paired with the management and leadership skills you can cultivate in our Ph.D. in media studies, your new expertise can help you shape the future direction of policies, goals, and objectives within the communication sector.

Liberty’s Ph.D. in media studies blends theory with praxis. Through this online program, you can develop a strong background in communication theory, strategic media communication, and applications for nonprofit, for-profit, and higher education sectors. So whether you work in an academic, corporate, or faith-based setting, this degree can equip you with the social media and strategic communications tools you need to bring fresh insight to your company. And with a degree taught from biblical principles, you can become a trusted, ethical voice in media and communication.

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Choosing Liberty for your Ph.D. in Strategic Media means beginning the path to equipping yourself to become an expert in various digital and strategic media channels. Expand your mind and your skill set under professors who hold advanced degrees and have years of related professional experience. This online doctoral degree can introduce you to new ideas as well as scholarship, research, and professional practices from around the world.

With the mentorship of your professors and the biblical integration you’ll get in every program at Liberty, you can graduate with a doctorate that prepares you for a fulfilling career both personally and professionally. You can become more equipped to pursue positions including public relations specialist, social media executive, university administrator, professor, or researcher. This degree can help you get where you want to go.

But a doctorate from Liberty does more than set you up for professional success. Your advanced studies can also open you up to new peers, perspectives, and research opportunities that can shape you and empower you to make a difference in the world around you.

What Will You Study in Our Ph.D. in Strategic Media Degree?

A Ph.D. in media studies degree can help provide the foundation in data-gathering and insight tools you need to effectively impact your field. With courses in interactive media design and strategic communications media analytics, you can become an expert in the field of strategic communications.

Within our Ph.D. in Strategic Media, you will take courses in 4 major areas: advanced core, research, application, and dissertation courses. The advanced core courses are designed to help you master communication theory so you can apply that knowledge to your other courses and career. On the other hand, our professional application courses can help you gain tactical principles and practices in integrated communications.

Finally, the research and dissertation component of your degree brings the theories and applications together. This can help you fine-tune your communication capabilities and set you up for publication and future career success.

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  • DIGI 700 – Digital and Strategic Communication Orientation I
  • DIGI 710 – Communication Research Methods
  • DIGI 720 – Qualitative Data Analysis
  • DIGI 825 – Seminar: From Digital Analytics to Communication Action 

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If you are sending in a preliminary transcript for acceptance, you must:

  • Be in your final term and planning to start your doctoral degree after the last day of class for your master’s degree.
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  • Submit an official transcript to confirm that you are in your final term. The preliminary transcript must show that you are within 6 credit hours of completion for a 30-48 credit hour master’s degree or within 9 credit hours of completion for a 49+ credit hour master’s degree.
  • Send in an additional, final official transcript with a conferral date on it by the end of your first semester of enrollment in the new doctoral degree.

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PhD in Communication

Doctor of philosophy in school of communication.

PhD Communication Studies

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At the Intersection of Media, Technology, and Democracy

The AU School of Communication's Doctor of Philosophy in Communication allows you to research at the intersection of media, technology, and democracy. We study how media and technology interact with democratic culture and politics. Communication creates culture; communication is a vector of power; communication is central to democratic action. Our normative orientation toward a healthier democratic process is a theme consistent with the core public service mission of American University. Internet governance, podcasts as news sources, disinformation on Twitter, digital surveillance, facial recognition and power, racism on social media, and state social-media propaganda are all topics of recent dissertations.

Our focus is at the cutting edge of the field of communication studies today, and our students routinely present at our leading conferences. Our approach is also interdisciplinary, and we benefit from the diverse intellectual resources across American University, such as those showcased at the Internet Governance Lab , the AU Game Center ,  the Center for Media & Social Impact , the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies , and the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) . We also tap into our relationships with NGOs, media companies, foundations, and government institutions throughout the Washington metro area. 

In our doctoral program, you'll produce scholarship, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, that has real-world connection and impact . Your work will position you well to pick from career options that range from the professoriate to public policy research to media production to government. 

This is a three-year PhD, and from the moment you arrive, you will be working in a highly-structured program toward your dissertation research, building your networks, and developing publishable projects. You will join us in using knowledge to address our most pressing political and social challenge s . We welcome your application to become a part of the next generation of communication scholars, professors, leaders, and practitioners.

Demonstrate Your Commitment and Interest

Applicants for the Communication (PhD) degree program must hold an accredited bachelor's degree and a master's degree in communication, or a related field, with a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher, unless the applicant demonstrates comparable experience. The degree does not have to be in the field of communication or be research-based, as many of our PhD students have master's degrees in film or journalism. 

Applicants must submit a statement of purpose that outlines the intended research area, what research methods and theories the applicant will use, and which faculty members the applicant hopes to work with.

The candidate must also submit either a master's thesis or another example of substantial research. The GRE is optional. Students should submit their official GRE scores to CEEB code 5007 if desired.

The School of Communication's PhD program operates on a hard deadline. Applications must be received by December 15th.  Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

A complete PhD application consists of the following:

  • Statement of purpose
  • University transcripts from all universities attended (transcripts from outside of the U.S. must be evaluated by a NACES approevd organization)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores (optional)
  • Master's thesis (or another example of substantial research)
  • Proof of English proficiency (100 on the TOEFL, 7.0 on the IELTS, 120 on Duolingo, or a bachelor or master's degree from a university in an English speaking country)

The admissions committee may ask applicants to interview with the program director and affiliated faculty. Interviews are conducted either on campus or virtually.

Financing Your Education

Each year, we welcome several doctoral students with full tuition remission as well as a graduate assistantship . We may also offer admission to top candidates without merit funding. If funding becomes available, students admitted without funding may be eligible to receive a merit package from the school.

The PhD in Communication is 54 credit hours. To estimate the cost of tuition , please see the current cost per credit hour for graduate students.

Students whose funding package includes a graduate assistantship will work as research or teaching assistants for 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. 

The School of Communication offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based financial aid . Merit awards, named scholarships, and fellowships are administered by the SOC Graduate Admissions Office, while need-based awards are administered by the American University Office of Financial Aid . Several prestigious graduate fellowships are also available for students in the Political Communication program. Additional financial support is available for veterans .

Each year, we welcome several doctoral students with full tuition remission as well as a graduate assistantship. We may also offer admission to top candidates without merit funding. If funding becomes available, students admitted without funding may be eligible to receive a merit package from the school. 

All merit awards are based on your academic merit and professional experience , specifically your undergraduate grades and leadership activities as well as career-related accomplishments. Merit awards are valid for one year-they vary in amount, are typically divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters, and are not typically renewable.

Some merit awards come in the form of graduate assistantships , which consist of graduate tuition remission, a stipend, or both. Tuition remission will vary in the number of credits offered. If you are offered a stipend, you must employed as a graduate assistant for a School of Communication faculty member for 10 hours per week.

Graduate Fellowships for Political Communication

The School of Communication offers prestigious merit-based fellowships in partnership with leading Washington, DC-based media organizations. These fellowships provide varying amounts of tuition remission and stipend and allow you to pursue professional projects with some of the finest media organizations while completing your graduate program. Separate applications are required . 

Research fellowships at academic centers within the School of Communication and throughout the university may also be available.

Unless indicated, students may not accept both a graduate assistantship and a graduate fellowship.

 Advanced Study at Your Convenience 

The School of Communication makes continuing on for your advanced degree a simple, straightforward process. You may apply for admission to our combined bachelor of arts/master of arts program during the second semester of your junior year (after completing 75 credits, but before you have completed 90 credits). Students in any undergraduate major at AU are eligible for consideration. An undergraduate degree in communication is not required.

You may apply for combined degrees in Political Communication, Strategic Communication, Film and Video, Journalism and Public Affairs, Game Design, or International Media.

More information about admissions requirements can be found here.

PhD Students

Meet Our Students

Our students produce scholarship, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, that has real-world connection and impact.

The CMSI team poses with the lineup of comedians at Comedy Saves Democracy. Photo by Ari Scott.

Democracy is a Laughing Matter

In the Top 5 percent of Best Ranked Programs in Communication and Media Studies

According to College Factual

Course Progression

Complete your degree in three years.

In contrast to the traditional 9-month-per-year schedule, your annual course of study takes place over 11 months, including faculty supervision and mentoring via formal course work, organized research group meetings, and online collaboration. The  accelerated structure  of your program allows you to complete your degree in three years.

You'll take six required courses, three each in the fall and spring semester. Depending on your past master's coursework and professional experience, you may be able to petition for credit for methods and/or statistics course work, substituting an advanced methods course or other elective. The required teaching seminar prepares you to work as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate course during your second year of coursework. Students who have prior college teaching experience or who have already taken a similar teaching seminar as part of their master's program can place out of this course, substituting an additional elective. In the summer immediately following your first year, you'll enroll in one course for credit and participate in research group meetings.

COMM-704: Media, Technology & Democracy (3) This is a foundation overview course focused on scholarship and analysis concerning the intersections of media, technology, and democracy. It also introduces other core courses and study concentrations for advanced study in these topics.

COMM-750: Advanced Media Theory (3) This course examines a range of theories for explaining the complex interrelationships among media, technology, human behavior, social interaction, and democratic processes. It provides an in-depth comparative analysis of theoretical approaches from a variety of academic fields including mass communication, cultural studies, film criticism, and digital media.

COMM-751: Advanced Media Research Methods (3) This course covers major social scientific, historical, ethnographic, qualitative, and critical approaches to media research, including discussions of epistemology, conceptualization, measurement, and ethics.

COMM-754: Media, Law & Policy (3) This course equips students with a strong grounding in U.S laws, policies, and regulatory infrastructure. It analyzes how public debates and political struggles over policy issues have shaped the culture, structure, and operations of contemporary U.S. media industries and institutions.

COMM-711: Teaching Seminar (3) This course provides students with career preparation knowledge, including understanding the culture and history of higher education, teaching skills, and career skills including submission to journals, book proposals, finding appropriate job opportunities, writing cover letters and doing job interviews. Some individual coaching is also involved.

NOTE: This course begins the Friday BEFORE school starts in spring semester, with attendance at an all-day event, the Ann Ferren Conference. This affects your travel schedule over winter holidays!

Approved graduate statistics or research methods course (3) (by preference) OR

Elective selected in consultation with faculty mentor (3)

Note: Students will work with their faculty mentor, who must have an appropriate terminal degree, to select two electives for the first fall semester.

COMM-755: Research Design in Communication (3). This course strengthens student skills in defining an answerable research questions and finding appropriate methodologies.

In the fall, you'll take two electives and a course to prepare you for the comprehensive examinations. By the end of your fall semester, you'll be expected to have gained approval and to have finalized the four faculty members of your doctoral committee, with at least one member being from outside of the School of Communication. At the beginning of your spring semester, you'll begin your qualifying exams. This process takes approximately one month from the assignment of questions to a successful written and oral defense. You will also take a seminar to guide you in developing your dissertation proposal. By the end of the spring semester or beginning of the summer, students are expected to have successfully defended their dissertation proposals and to spend the summer focused on dissertation research.

COMM-860 Seminar in Doctoral Teaching and Research (3) Creation of dissertation literature review and preparation for the comprehensive exam. Introduction to teaching philosophies and strategies, preparation for scholarly career in Communication Studies.

Approved elective courses (6)

Approved graduate statistics or research methods course (3)

COMM-861: Advanced Research & Project Development (3) Prepares students for advancing to candidacy by taking the comprehensive exam and preparing a dissertation proposal.

COMM-898: Doctoral Continuing Enrollment (6) May be taken by doctoral students completing coursework, exams or proposals in preparation for advancement to candidacy.

In the fall and spring semesters, you'll register for dissertation research credits. During the fall and spring semesters, you will also probably be applying and interviewing for jobs, drawing upon information from your first-year course, COMM 711 and on your mentors’ advice. By late spring, your dissertation committee expects to have about six weeks to read and respond to a dissertation draft and to read and respond to a revised version.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply to the phd in communication program.

Applicants could be interested in tenure track, faculty positions in academia, or seeking careers at prestigious institutions in government, industry, and/or the nonprofit community.

How can the PhD program help strengthen my pedagogical skills?

In addition to the teaching seminars and teaching assistantships that are part of the regular doctoral curriculum, The Art of Teaching is a one-credit course offered each spring semester for PhD students who want to learn more about educational pedagogy. The course was originally designed by American University's former provost, Milton Greenberg.

Previously known as the Greenberg Seminars for Effective Teaching, this course complements the PhD academic experience, providing hands-on, practical introduction to professional development and classroom techniques. PhD students can participate at any time during their PhD program. There is no tuition fee for the course.

What are areas of faculty expertise?

Our program is focused on impactful research at the intersection of media, technology, and democracy. Our faculty and students study how media messages and communication technologies shape, and are shaped by, social and governmental processes. Specific sites of research range from Internet governance to music and film culture to social and political organizing to journalism to new media and games. We study communication patterns and their meanings across and between societies on a global scale, including, every continent in addition to indigenous and stateless groups. We draw upon cultural production, critical communication, science and technology studies, law and society perspectives, and other theories, and we use both quantitative and qualitative research methods as well as policy analysis.

What kinds of positions do alumni have now?

Our alumni have found full time and tenure-track jobs at universities throughout the U.S. and around the world, as well as prestigious post-doctoral positions and non-profit and government posts.

What kinds of collaborations can I expect with faculty?

You are assigned a mentor when you first arrive, a selection that results from both your stated interests and faculty interest. This assignment can change by request. You can expect to work with your mentor and, potentially, other faculty on research resulting in joint publications and conference presentations. In your second year, you may assist a faculty member with teaching. Several recent alumni have continued to collaborate with SOC faculty and student colleagues after graduation, resulting in dozens of published research articles, book chapters, and policy papers.

What other opportunities do the school and university offer?

The PhD program offers several PhD Symposia throughout the year, offering informal presentations of completed work and work in progress by both students and faculty. The  Internet Governance Lab , a joint program in the School of Communication and School of International Service, offers a range of activities throughout the year, putting a spotlight on Internet policy. The Center for Media & Social Impact offers workshops, events, a biannual conference, and research projects for which you can apply as research assistant. The AU Game Center  provides a community of scholars and graduate students in numerous programs across the university engaged in the design, production, and study of games, including the cultural and social impact of the medium, with substantial opportunities for collaboration with faculty, staff, and students across multiple related fields and contexts. The Institute for Immersive Designs, Experiences, Applications, and Stories (Institute for IDEAS) offers paid fellowships and research projects for which you can apply as a research assistant, often collaborating with faculty at other institutions. The PhD programs in the School of Communication, School of International Service, and School of Public Affairs jointly host a day-long research conference featuring work in progress by their PhD students, in February. The university-wide Center for Teaching, Research and Learning (CTRL) provides tools and programs throughout the year to help faculty and PhD students with best practices in teaching, and hosts an annual conference on teaching in January. PhD students are welcome, at no cost. CTRL also offers training and access to research tools . Finally, each PhD student receives enough annual funding to attend at least one major scholarly conference or event, anywhere in the world.

What are examples of dissertations students have written?

Our students have explored a wide diversity of interests with rigorous research, including dissertations such as:

  • Lucy Odigie, “Digital Margins: Digital Technology Use, Social Change and the Empowering Strategies of Domestic Workers of Color in Brooklyn, NY”
  • Isabelle Zaugg, “Ethiopic: Coding for Linguistic Survival in the Face of Digital Extinction”
  • Aras Cosuntuncel, “Networking Authoritarian Neoliberalism: Realigned Strategies of Information Control and Resistance in the Case of Turkey” Dorian Davis, “The Twitter Election? New Perspectives on Agenda-Building during the 2016 Campaign”
  • Louisa Imperiale, “Democracy for Sale: A Critical Examination of the Political-Media Complex at work in Campaign Finance and Political Broadcast Regulation in U.S. Presidential Elections from 1976 to 2016”
  • Fernanda Rosa, “Global Internet Interconnection Infrastructure: Materiality, Concealment and Surveillance in Contemporary Communication”
  • Donte Newman, “Straddling the Fence: How White Facebook Users Express Ambivalence to Navigate the Context Collapse”
  • Emily O’Connell, “Hybrid Systems and Hybrid Genres: Exploring U.S. Political Podcast Framing Tactics and Effects”

How many applicants are admitted each year?

Five people are selected each year to join the program, and there are usually about 20 people in the program at any one time.

Can I attend part-time?

The program is designed to be full-time.

Can I take courses outside of the School of Communication?

The SOC PhD program was designed as an interdisciplinary program. We encourage students to take full advantage of the wealth of resources and opportunities across the university, including taking courses and finding expertise in other departments, as well as courses at our partner universities around Washington, DC. Dissertation committees are required to include at least one member outside of the school.

Can I complete my PhD program in 3 years?

The program is designed to be completed in three years, and more than half of our PhD students accomplish their goal in doing so.

Still have questions? Send us an email: [email protected]

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PhD in Emerging Media Studies

New media poses challenges for society and complexities for researchers. Are you ready to tackle both?

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The Boston University PhD program in Emerging Media Studies is the nation’s first doctorate program in emerging media and its critical, daily role in modern life.

COM’s unique program prepares its doctoral students to become sophisticated researchers and critical thinkers who are ready to advance the fields of communication, sociological, and media leadership. Designed for students with a master’s degree, this program helps candidates gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of emerging media in society and organizations and hone their research skills through independent, innovative, and mentored research.

Recent and upcoming dissertation topics address a wide array of topics, such as social perceptions of robots, the effects of television binge-watching, and media framing of direct-to-consumer genetic testing.

phd topics in digital communication

Meet COM’s First Doctoral Recipient, Sarah Krongard

It seems there’s always something to celebrate at COM, and the 2019 fall semester marked one particularly noteworthy achievement — PhD…

Learning and Teaching

EMS graduate students are taught and mentored by some of the leading researchers and thinkers in the field.  The faculty make full use of the most advanced theories and methods to examine communication phenomena — from social media, streaming content, and AR/VR to Big Data and AI. Under their guidance, students learn how to conduct and analyze social science research concerning all types of emerging media. 

 As a doctoral student, you’ll serve as a teaching fellow while enrolled in the program. On average, you should expect to serve as a teaching fellow a minimum of two times during the program.

Resources for Research 

COM graduate students get ready for careers by rolling up their sleeves for hands-on research.

All Emerging Media Studies students contribute to COM’s annual #ScreentimeBU conference, an opportunity to present their research in the field of digital communication and society as well as exchange their views with peers and field leaders concerning important contemporary issues. By showcasing the fruits of your research, you’ll share their ideas with the general public and industry leaders. Additionally, the conference provides an opportunity for you to develop your public communication capabilities and receive input from industry experts in a professional setting.

CENTER FOR MOBILE Communication Studies

Laptops, smart phones, and tablets have been transformed from novelties to necessities. But we’re only beginning to understand how they have transformed us.

EMS students also take advantage of research opportunities at COM’s Communication Research Center , COM’s primary research hub, and the state of-the-art technology offered at the Zimmerman Family Social Activation Center, that puts in-depth social media analytics at your fingertips.

Funding Support

Because the doctoral program is immersive and requires full-time participation for a number of years, all PhD students in Emerging Media Studies are funded for the duration of their study, up to a maximum of five years. Funding includes a full tuition scholarship, health insurance credit, and stipend in return for teaching and research obligations. Students with their own funding for the program (through the Fulbright Commission, government funding or other source) will still be required to serve as a teaching fellow for at least one semester. Compensation will be provided.

Benefit from Boston

One of BU’s greatest resources is its location. Consistently ranked among the most livable cities in the world, Boston is “America’s college town,” a city rich in history while remaining on the forefront of culture and innovation. Boston is a Top 10 U.S. media market, and home to some of the world’s best creative agencies, media companies and leading employers — offering boundless opportunities for internships and careers.

More than 80%

of our graduate students receive scholarships.

Purpose Driven

COM stands out from our peers. Our faculty offers a mix of researchers and practitioners who endorse a cross-discipline, hands-on approach to learning. Our location lies at the heart of an electric, media-savvy city.

But it may be COM’s shared values that matter most. We believe that communication requires diversity, critical thinking, and creative expression. We believe that communication must be grounded in truth, authenticity, effectiveness, and purpose. We believe that communication builds understanding among people and across society.

Emerging Media Research

Agenda setting in the wizarding world: computationally examining attribute agenda and….

Abstract: This study investigates the complex dynamics of public discourse on Twitter/X concerning the transgender-related controversy surrounding the video game…

Physiological response to political advertisement: Examining the influence of partisan and…

This study investigates voters’ physiological response to real political advertisements that are issue focused and sponsored by three different political…

Does world system theory rein in social media? Identifying factors contributing…

This article examined how social media content has shaped the representation of countries for publics around the world. Based on…

The Robot Rights and Responsibilities Scale: Development and Validation of a…

The discussion and debates surrounding the robot rights topic demonstrate vast differences in the possible philosophical, ethical, and legal approaches…

Meet the Emerging Media Faculty

phd topics in digital communication

Chris Chao Su

Assistant professor, emerging media studies.

phd topics in digital communication

Chris Wells

Associate professor, emerging media studies.

Daniel Park smiling portrait

Daniel Park

Visiting assistant professor, emerging media studies.

Dr. James Katz

Feld Professor of Emerging Media

phd topics in digital communication

James Cummings

phd topics in digital communication

Kelsey Prena

Emerging media news, com’s new dalton professor knows disinformation from personal experience.

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When Robots Deliver the News

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Joan Donovan, Nationally Recognized Expert in Misinformation and Disinformation, Joins COM Faculty

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Emerging Media Studies

Digital Media (Ph.D.)

Focus: concentrating on an advanced research curriculum that prepares students to work in industry, public service, and universities, shaping emerging digital genres and expanding understanding and mastery of the representational power of the computer.

Theory and Research Ph.D.

Main navigation.

The Ph.D. program prepares students to conduct original research on communication processes, their origins, and their psychological, political and cultural effects. Most of our doctoral graduates enter academic teaching and research careers, or communication-related professions that require research skills.

Students usually enter the program with strong interests in one of our three areas of special strength:  Media Psychology ,  Political Communication , or  Journalism, Media and Culture . Within the program, students tend to anchor in one area while exploring key empirical and theoretical concerns in the others. After a core curriculum of courses in quantitative and qualitative methods, statistics, and mass communication theory, each student builds a research specialization through advanced courses and seminars in Communication and related departments, research projects, teaching, and an examination in the area of concentration. These requirements are normally completed within four years, and the dissertation within six.

Ph.D. Requirements and Procedures

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Doctorate in Communication

With one of the nation's premier doctoral programs in Communication, the Annenberg School is a tight-knit, supportive community of scholars committed to advancing knowledge of our media environment.

Founded through the generosity and vision of publisher, diplomat, and philanthropist Walter Annenberg, the Annenberg School for Communication is devoted to furthering our understanding of the role of communication in public life through research, education, and service. Our five-year doctoral program has a strong reputation as one of the best in Communication, based on Annenberg’s unparalleled combination of world-class faculty , students , and alumni , as well as access to the larger intellectual and cultural resources of the University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia .

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In an inherently interdisciplinary field, Annenberg researchers are engaged with a spectrum of topics related to health, politics, media systems, networks and digital culture, journalism, race and gender, and more, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

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Our Ph.D. program allows students to tailor a curriculum to suit their specific interests, and provides them the financial resources to launch their academic career. 

In addition to a full tuition waiver, our students currently receive an annual stipend as well as a budget for research and travel and health insurance for all five years.

Annenberg is the smallest of the 12 schools at Penn, and it functions as close-knit community of scholars whose doors are always open to one another. Our students also appreciate our staff , who routinely go above and beyond to support them.

Please note that we do not have a standalone master’s degree program at this time. All students are admitted directly into the doctoral program.

Request for More Information

Our Students By the Numbers

Here are some fast facts about our students and the admissions process . Get to know Annenberg!

Students currently in the program

Different nationalities represented by our students, applicants each year, students accepted each year, average undergraduate gpa of applicants, average toefl of admitted candidates, of students came from a previous graduate degree program, of students worked in a career before joining annenberg, of students came straight to annenberg from an undergraduate degree.

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Our Faculty

Our graduate faculty is at the heart of the school. Their innovative work, often in collaboration with students, pushes the field of Communication forward.

Students on Video

Hear from some of the Annenberg School's doctoral students as they talk about their work and what brought them to Annenberg.

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What is it like to be a doctoral student at the International Communication Association annual conference? We followed four students to find out.

Kelly Diaz Speaking Outdoors

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctoral candidate Kelly Diaz used her phone to document the many signs displayed in yards and windows around her West Philadelphia home. She has now collected that body of work into a  photo essay .

Roopa Vasudevan

Doctoral Candidate and artist Roopa Vasudevan studies the ways that the everyday technologies shape our daily lives.

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What is it like to be a Ph.D. student? We followed five of our students through their daily activities.

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Prateekshit Pandey works with the Communication Neuroscience Lab to study how the brain reacts to humor. 

Maria Celeste Wagner

Buenos Aires-native María Celeste Wagner looks at how gender influences credibility in news. 

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Jennifer Henrichsen studies the way that journalists adopt information security technologies to protect themselves and their sources.

Our Students

Annenberg's doctoral students represent a broad spectrum of interests, methodologies, and backgrounds. Here are just a few of our incredible students.

Arlene Fernandez

Arlene C. Fernández

Azsaneé Truss

Azsaneé Truss

Antoine Haywood

Antoine Haywood

Danielle Clark

Danielle Clark

Neil Fasching

Neil Fasching

Tom Etienne Headshot

Tom W. Etienne

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From Philly to Delhi: the Inaugural Global Media Cultures International Doctoral Institute

Organized by the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication (CARGC), the Institute convened students and faculty from Annenberg and the University of Hyderabad.

Melissa B. Skolnick-Noguera, Florence Zivaishe Madenga, Jeanna Sybert, Brendan Mahoney, Antoine Haywood, Sophie Maddocks, Darin Johnson, David S. Cordero, Fallon Alexandria Parfaite

Congratulations to Annenberg’s 2024 Ph.D. and M.A. Graduates

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Student Profile Video: Kate Okker-Edging

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Proust, Smith, and Truss Win 2024 James D. Woods Award

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Azsaneé Truss Receives Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching

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Explore the Program

Learn more about life in the Annenberg Ph.D. program.

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Financial Support

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Curriculum & Milestones

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Student Life

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Applications for 2025-2026 will open by October

More in doctorate in communication.

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COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES

Department of Communication

Ph.d. program of study.

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  • Beyond the Program…Why UConn?

The general aim of the Ph.D. program in Communication is to provide students with a rigorous course of study that will prepare them for careers in either the academic or commercial spheres. The curriculum is not directed toward either of these domains, but rather attempts to give students a breadth of scholarly training that will allow them to pursue either of these career paths.

Academic Sphere.  There is a very strong academic research component to communication. Persons with interests in communication are currently found on Communication faculties and in schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. Communication is an established academic area, as reflected in published research by faculty members in departments of Communication.

Commercial Sphere.  Many organizations realize the value of research in mass communication effects, advertising, audience analysis, and other areas of communication. They have created a significant number of positions in communication. At the middle and upper management level, these are often filled by people with Ph.D. degrees. Training for persons filling these positions is often obtained in programs which do not equally emphasize communication theory and methods. The Ph.D. program in Communication is designed to provide the student with strong knowledge of communication theory, coupled with very strong research skills. A graduate of this program can step into a commercial research position without facing a period of hit-or-miss "on-the-job" training.

Ph.D. Program Elements

Length of Program

The time required for completion for the Ph.D. program will differ, depending on the degree status of entering students, and the courses already completed by the student at the graduate or undergraduate level. It is expected that students entering with a master’s degree will require approximately four years to complete the requisite course work, pass qualifying exams, and then write and defend the dissertation. (Note that students who earn an M.A. degree from our own program will require approximately three years, having already taken some of the required coursework.) The final program of course work and research for a student is created in consultation with his/her academic advisory committee. This program takes into account the student’s prior coursework and career objectives.

Research Requirement

Students participate in at least two research projects mentored by faculty before beginning their dissertation. These projects provide students with the necessary research experience before beginning the independent research required by the dissertation. They also put students in a better position to enter the Ph.D. job market.

Elective Courses (9 credits)

The student, in consultation with the academic advisory committee, will take an additional 9 credits in an area chosen to provide breadth or specialized skills. Typical areas might be social/behavioral research, computer science, or specialized business or communication areas.

Qualifying Exams

After coursework is completed, students take a general exam. When they pass, they are considered “Ph.D. Candidates” or "A.B.D." (all but dissertation).

Dissertation

An original research project designed by the student, approved by the advising committee.

Ph.D. Program Coursework Overview

Required for all tracks.

4 Required Methodology Courses:

COMM 5001 Introduction to Graduate Communication Research COMM 5002 Communication Research Methods COMM 5003 Advanced Communication Research Methods COMM 5010 Theory Construction and Research Design

2 Elective Methodology Courses (choose two of the following, or similar with approval of committee) -- one must be an advanced course (as indicated by *):

AH 6005 Multilevel Mediation and Moderation Modeling* COMM 6001 Proseminar in Communication Research* EPSY 6615 Structural Equation Modeling* HDFS 5002 Special Topics: Longitudinal Methods* HDFS 5005 Qualitative Research Methods MKTG 6203 Quantitative Models in Marketing NURS 6130 Intro to Qualitative Methods in Nursing NURS 6165 Mixed Methods in Nursing Research PSYC 5702 Field Research Methods PSYC 5130 Causal Modeling in Social Psychology* PSYC 5131 Meta-Analysis: Theory and Practice PSYC 6130 Measurement and Scaling SOCI 5231 Qualitative Methodology STAT 5515 Design of Experiments

1 Directed Research Requirement:

COMM 6800 Seminar and Directed Research in Communication

3 Required Communication Theory Courses (determined by track—see options below)

5 Emphasis Area Courses (1 must be COMM; determined by track—see options below)

Substitutions to required courses may be possible for students who have already completed the required course(s) elsewhere with a grade of B or higher. In such cases, students may substitute a different course within the requirement area (e.g., methods, content, theory, etc.) with approval of the advising committee.

Note on Emphasis Area Courses : Students may add a secondary sub-track as their emphasis area by taking any of the required courses for the secondary track to complete the requirements for the emphasis area.

Ph.D. Program Tracks

Interpersonal Communication Track

Required Communication Theory Course Options (choose at least 3):

COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication (required) COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research COMM 5220 Group Communication Research COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication

Emphasis Area Course Recommendations (choose 5 from theory course options above, course list below, or similar with approval of committee—1 must be COMM):

COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion HDFS 5240 Aging: Personality and Social Interaction HDFS 5250 Close Relationships HDFS 5310 Patterns and Dynamics of Family Interaction HDFS 5311 Theories of Family Development PSYC 5101 Motivation PSYC 5460 Social and Personality Development PSYC 5500 Research Seminar in Language and Psychology PSYC 5568 Psychology of Language PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology PSYC 5770 Current Topics in Social Psychology PSYC 5612 Leadership in the Workplace PSYC 6731 Person Perception PSYC 6752 Interpersonal Relations SOCI 5651 Seminar in the Family

Marketing Communication Track

COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Communication Research COMM 6850 Seminar in Marketing Communication (required) MKTG 5115 Market-Driven Management MKTG 6202 Advanced Seminar in Buyer Behavior

COMM 5120 Communication Campaigns COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion COMM 6895 Topics in Applied Communication Research MKTG 5250 Marketing Research and Information Systems MKTG 5640 Integrated Marketing Communications MKTG 5625 Marketing for Global Competitiveness MKTG 6210 Seminar in Theory and Practice in Marketing

Mass Communication Track

COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory (required) COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research COMM 5120 Communication Campaigns COMM 5150 Crisis and Risk Communication COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Communication Research COMM 6895 Topics in Applied Communication Research

ANTH 5352 Medical Anthropology COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research COMM 5330 Children and Mass Media GPAH 5319 Allied Health Education POLS 5341 Public Opinion and American Democracy POLS 5342 American Political Parties POLS 5336 Comparative Political Communication POLS 5386 Public Opinion and Public Policy PSYC 5120 Health Psychology PSYC 6733 Social Cognition PSYC 5616 Human Judgment and Decision Process PUBH 5400 Intro to Public Health PUBH 5401 Principles of Epidemiology PUBH 5404 Environmental Health PUBH 5405 Social Foundations of Public Health PUBH 5419 Public Health Agencies PUBH 5430 Public Health Informatics PUBH 5451 Maternal and Child Health Services PUBH 5452 Injury and Violence Prevention PUBH 5453 Chronic Disease Control PUBH 5455 Health Education PUBH 5462 International Health PUBH 5473 Women, Public Health and Reproduction PUBH 5474 Minority Health PUBH 5475 Gerontological Health SOCI 5453 Medical Sociology SOCI 5801 Political Sociology SOCI 5821 Social Movements SOCI 5829 Social Change

New Communication Technology Track

COMM 5660 Computer-Mediated Communication (required) COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory COMM 5640 Social Media Use and Effects COMM 5650 Communication Technology and Society: Theory and Research

COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication COMM 5220 Group Communication Research COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion EPSY 5220 Introduction to Educational Technology EPSY 5520 Instructional Design EPSY 5530 Learning Theory MKTG 5250 Marketing Research & Information System MGMT5260 Management of Technology and Innovation MKTG 5640 Integrated Marketing Communication MKTG 5665 Digital Marketing OPIM 5165 Management Information Systems OPIM 5270 Systems Development OPIM 5620 Managing and Controlling Information Systems PSYC 5615 Human Factors PSYC 5101 Motivation PSYC 5620 Design and Analysis of Human-Machine Systems PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology PSYC 6731 Person Perception PSYC 6752 Interpersonal Relations

Nonverbal Communication Track

COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication (required) COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion

COMM 5220 Group Communication Research COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Communication COMM 6850 Seminar in Marketing Communication Research MKTG 410 Seminar in Theory and Practice in Marketing MKTG 402 Advanced Seminar in Buyer Behavior PSYC 5101 Motivation PSYC 5701 Experimental Social Psychology PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology PSYC 5770 Current Topics in Social Psychology PSYC 6732 Attitude Organization and Change PSYC 6752 Interpersonal Relations

Persuasion Track

COMM 5100 Persuasion Theory and Research (required) COMM 5120 Communication Campaigns COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication COMM 5300 Mass Communication Theory COMM 5310 Seminar in Mass Communication Research COMM 5501 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication and Persuasion

COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research COMM 5500 Nonverbal Communication PHIL 5316 Seminar in the Philosophy of Social Science PHIL 5317 Seminar in the Philosophy of Psychology PSYC 5567 Memory and Cognition PSYC 5613 Organizational Psychology PSYC 5703 Advanced Social Psychology PSYC 6732 Attitude Organization and Change

Ph.D. Program Optional Specialty Areas

Additional recommendations for Emphasis Area Courses for students choosing to specialize in the following areas (can be applied to any track emphasis area requirements):

Health Communication

ANTH 5352 Medical Anthropology COMM 5200 Interpersonal Communication COMM 5230 Organizational Communication: Theory and Research COMM 5770 Health Communication GPAH 5319 Allied Health Education PSYC 5120 Health Psychology PSYC 6733 Social Cognition PSYC 5616 Human Judgment and Decision Process PUBH 5400 Intro to Public Health PUBH 5401 Principles of Epidemiology PUBH 5404 Environmental Health PUBH 5405 Social Foundations of Public Health PUBH 5419 Public Health Agencies PUBH 5430 Public Health Informatics PUBH 5451 Maternal and Child Health Services PUBH 5452 Injury and Violence Prevention PUBH 5453 Chronic Disease Control PUBH 5455 Health Education PUBH 5462 International Health PUBH 5473 Women, Public Health and Reproduction PUBH 5474 Minority Health PUBH 5475 Gerontological Health SOCI 5453 Medical Sociology

Political Communication

POLS 5341 Public Opinion and American Democracy POLS 5342 American Political Parties POLS 5386 Public Opinion and Public Policy POLS 5336 Comparative Political Communication SOCI 5801 Political Sociology SOCI 5821 Social Movements SOCI 5829 Social Change

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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

Media and Communications

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Research topics and degrees

  • Media and communications
  • Become an expert in a particular area whilst studying in a rich, multidisciplinary environment.
  • Benefit from excellent facilities, including access to UoE’s Digital Humanities Lab, the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, computer labs and podcast studios.
  • Take part in research seminar series, and lectures by visiting speakers.
  • Explore issues and develop skills that are central to everyday life in the 21st century including how to communicate clearly and effectively to specific audiences using specific technologies.
  • Our experts can offer supervision in a wide variety of topics (see research overview below)

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Top 15 in the UK for Communication and Media Studies

14th in the times and the sunday times good university guide 2024.

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Unique on site resources: Exeter’s Special Collections archive and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

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Develop transferable skills, specialist knowledge and research skills through interdisciplinary teaching

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Varied graduate careers

Research overview.

Digital communications technologies and social media platforms are central to our everyday reality in the 21st century, and we live in a world saturated by media content. Studying for a Media and Communications PhD at Exeter will allow you to develop deep specialist knowledge in an area of your choice. You will develop skills in key research methodologies and gain theoretical knowledge in your quest to be a productive scholar and critical citizen. 

The research expertise of the academic staff not only spans a wide variety of subjects and methodological traditions across the broad field of Media and Communications but are based within the vibrant interdisciplinary environment of the Department of Communications, Drama and Film which shares expertise, research events, and resources across disciplines.

Our experts can offer supervision in a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Advertising and branding
  • Algorithmic cultures
  • Celebrity studies
  • Communications and the climate crisis
  • Communications and the environment
  • Communications infrastructure
  • Community and grassroots media
  • Digital activism
  • Gender and the media
  • Global communications
  • Media and creative industries
  • Media and cultural theory
  • Media and democracy
  • Media and migration
  • Media and nations
  • Media and politics
  • Media and social class
  • Media and social movements
  • Media and sport
  • Media archeology
  • Media audiences
  • Media ethics
  • Media history
  • Media industries
  • Media policy
  • Nostalgia and cultural memory
  • Popular culture
  • Slow computing
  • Social media
  • The internet
  • Video games

Students applying to enter directly into the MPhil/PhD programme would normally be expected to have a Masters degree with Merit or equivalent in a related subject, or other relevant qualifications such as a doctorate in another subject.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our  international equivalency pages  to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile E : view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country .

PhD and Research Programme application process

The information below applies to self-funded PhD, MPhil and Masters by Research applicants, but if you are applying for a funded PhD studentship, please follow the specific instructions related to that application.

  • Pinpoint your PhD research area
  • Investigate whether this area is available at Exeter
  • Ensure that you meet our English language entry requirements (international students only)
  • Construct and refine your PhD research proposal
  • Approach your potential supervisor(s)

PhD studentships pages can be accessed in our Funding lists on Finance tabs under each research topic page, and are also available from the Postgraduate Research search results pages on this site, on the PhD projects tab.

Full details of the application process can be found on our  Apply now webpage .

Fees and funding

Fees 2024/25

Tuition fees per year 2024/25

  • Home : £4,786 full-time;   £pro-rata part-time
  • International : £22,600 full-time

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our   Student Finance webpages .

Fees 2023/24

Tuition fees per year 2023/24

  • Home : £4,712 full-time;   £pro-rata part-time
  • International : £20,500 full-time

Current funding opportunities

Our Postgraduate Funding webpage  provides links to further information. If you are considering a PhD in the future, in addition to University of Exeter funding, we have been successful at securing postgraduate funding for PhD research through our  Funded centres.

Current available funding

Supervision.

Supervisors - all research students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high-quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. They will work closely with their supervisors to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of Media and Communications research. 

Mentor  - each student will also be assigned a mentor who will take on a pastoral role and mediate on any problems that arise during the period of study. Your mentor will keep in regular contact and will provide background stability and support.

Find a supervisor

phd topics in digital communication

The College of Humanities has undergone a £3.2 million HEFCE-funded refurbishment in recent years, providing new state-of-the-art facilities for all subjects.

The   Digital Humanities Lab   is a state of the art facility offering unique spaces, equipment and training for staff and students in Media and Communications studies. A specialist team conducts and supports innovative Digital Humanities research and offers training and teaching. The Lab undertakes the digital preservation and display of historic material and artefacts using advanced technologies.

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture holds a wide-ranging collection of more than 70,000 film related artefacts. The collection is accessible for all postgraduates to use as a research and study resource. Housed in the University’s state-of-the-art study facility, the Research Commons, the diverse collection includes objects relating to the history of the moving image. These include optical toys, magic lantern slides, a Lumière cinematograph; film publicity such as posters from the Hollywood era to contemporary film; material on film stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn; and material on animation, particularly Disney films.

The university library also has significant holdings in the area of Media and Communications including books, journals and more than 10,000 hard copies of films and television programmes.

All postgraduates enjoy access to excellent computing facilities and common spaces where postgraduate students can meet and work together in reading and discussion groups.

Graduates from Media and Communications PhD programmes enter myriad careers, including but not limited to: 

  • University teaching and research
  • University administration
  • Communications management,
  • Advertising and branding,
  • Social media management
  • Culture industries
  • Third sector
  • Public relations
  • Reputation management
  • International relations

phd topics in digital communication

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The majority of students are based at our Streatham Campus in Exeter. The campus is one of the most beautiful in the country and offers a unique environment in which to study, with lakes, parkland, woodland and gardens as well as modern and historical buildings.

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Located on the eastern edge of the city centre, St Luke's is home to Sport and Health Sciences, the Medical School, the Academy of Nursing, the Department of Allied Health Professions, and PGCE students.

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Our Penryn Campus is located near Falmouth in Cornwall. It is consistently ranked highly for satisfaction: students report having a highly personal experience that is intellectually stretching but great fun, providing plenty of opportunities to quickly get to know everyone.

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NCA's Doctoral Program Guide

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About the Doctoral Program Guide

The  Doctoral Program Guide  is designed to provide timely and useful information about doctoral programs in Communication for students, prospective students, and other interested parties.

Which Programs Are Listed? Many doctoral programs are included in this guide, all of which offer a Ph.D. degree in some area or field of the Communication discipline. We began with the programs that have traditionally been ranked or evaluated as doctoral programs in Communication by other sources and added a number of new programs.   

For doctoral programs in related areas of study, visit the following:

  • American Library Association's Accredited Programs page  
  • American Society for Theater Research's Doctoral Program Directory  
  • American Speech & Hearing Association's EdFind  
  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Graduate Student Info page  
  • Modern Language Association's Guide to Doctoral Programs in English and Other Modern Languages  
  • Public Relations Society of America's Higher Education Programs Online Directory  

What Information Can Be Found in the Guide?

All information presented in this guide is publicly available on the individual department or program website and/or in other published sources. Each university is identified by its  Carnegie Classification , its membership in the  Association of American Universities , and by the number of doctorates it has conferred from 2010 to 2019, according to the  National Science Foundation's  Survey of Earned Doctorates . The guide provides the areas of study of each program, the admissions requirements for each program, a listing of each program's graduate faculty, and contact information. In addition, we also recognize a program's recipients of NCA Awards from 2000 to the present and synthesize and report on the programs' standing in a series of different rankings/ratings, including:

  • The university's 2019 ranking in the Communication & Media Studies category of the QS World University Rankings . (Note: this ranking includes 200 universities; the first 50 are individually ranked, followed by category rankings for the remainder.)
  • The university's 2019-2020 ranking in the "Language, Communication, and Culture" category of the University Ranking by Academic Performance measure.  

Explanation of Areas of Study

Most doctoral programs in Communication indicate research areas or special research concentrations. Such areas are usually based on the types of research conducted by the faculty members in the program, as well as by the courses offered toward the graduate degree. 

A program is listed within a specific research area based entirely upon its self-identification of research focus. Because the identification and labeling of research foci vary so greatly across programs, this list groups and categorizes research areas according to commonly understood labels. Thus, a given doctoral program may identify its research specialty as "media economics" or "media studies" or "media effects." That program would be included in the broader category below of "Mass Communication/Media Studies."

University of Michigan

University of Michigan, Department of Communication Studies

University at Albany-SUNY

University at Albany-SUNY, Department of Communication

University of Texas

University of Texas, Department of Communication Studies

Northwestern University

Northwestern University, Department of Communication Studies

Temple University

Temple University, College of Media & Communication

Colorado State University logo

Colorado State University, Department of Communication...

Regent University Logo

Regent University, School of Communication & the Arts

University of Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma, Department of Communication

Stanford University

Stanford University, Department of Communication

University of Georgia

University of Georgia, Department of Communication

IUPUI

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis,...

University of Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts, Department of Communication

University of New Mexico

University of New Mexico, Department of Communication &...

Ohio University

Ohio University, School of Communication Studies

Purdue University

Purdue University, Brian Lamb School of Communication

University of Miami

University of Miami, School of Communication

2024 Best Online PhD in Communications Programs

If you’re interested in the relay of information, including through digital media and mass communication, then pursuing a PhD in Communications online program may be the right path for you.

PhD in Communications Programs

Earning your doctoral degree in communications can provide you with the opportunity to work in a variety of fields.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Communications experts play an important role in managing the communication of information from one person, group, or organization to another.

Universities Offering Online PhD in Communications Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American University

American University offers an online Doctor of Philosophy in Communications program. The program is designed to be completed in 3 years by providing courses for 11 months a year. A total of 54 credits are needed to graduate. Applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation, a resume, GRE scores, and a master’s thesis.

American University  is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

Clemson University

Clemson University offers a PhD program in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design.

Students need to complete 30 credits hours and 6 credit hours of research to defend a dissertation. Exams and the defense of the dissertation must be completed on campus. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and a portfolio of past graduate work.

Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University offers a PhD in Communications. Students may choose courses in the following fields: Rhetoric and Civic Engagement, Relational and Organizational Communication, or Film and Media Studies. Applicants must complete 81 credits to graduate. Applicants need 3 letters of reference and a resume to apply.

Colorado State  is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a PhD in Media and Communication Studies. A total of 60 credits are needed to graduate, with 12 hours used for a dissertation. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher to graduate. Applicants must submit official transcripts and 2 letters of recommendation when applying.

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Liberty University

Liberty University offers an online PhD in Communications program. Students must complete 60 credit hours and may apply to transfer in up to half of the credits required. Courses are 8 weeks long. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 and need to submit official transcripts to be eligible for the program.

Liberty University  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Regent University

Regent University offers a PhD in Communications. The program can be completed online, though a week-long residency in Virginia Beach during the summer is required. Students must complete a minimum of 56 credit hours to graduate.

Applicants must submit official transcripts and a past graduate program academic paper and need to complete an academic background questionnaire. Regent University  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University offers an online PhD in Information Systems and Communications program. Students must complete 60 credit hours, with 12 dedicated to writing a dissertation. At the end of each school year, students must finish a milestone.

Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 and submit 3 letters of recommendation. An interview with the program director and admissions committee is also required.

Robert Morris University  is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Technical Communication and Rhetoric. Applicants must submit 3 letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and transcripts from previous college work.

Students must complete at least 72 hours to graduate from the program. They also have the option to add one of five areas of emphasis to their degree, including Technical Communication and Rhetoric of Science and Healthcare. Texas Tech University  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Alabama

The University of Alabama offers a Doctorate in Communications and Information Sciences. Students may choose to add a concentration in one of seven different areas, including Media Processes and Effects and Books and Publishing Studies.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit 3 academic references and their transcripts.

The  University of Alabama  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers a PhD in Communication. The program can typically be completed in 5 years and requires 90 credit hours.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must either have a master’s degree in communications or a GPA of 3.0 or higher from their undergraduate studies. GRE scores and 3 letters of recommendation must be submitted when applying.

The  University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Online PhD in Communications Programs

Online PhD in Communications Programs

Online PhD in Communications programs can help you develop your expertise in areas of public relations, mass communication, digital and social media, and journalism.

Common careers in this field include:

  • Teacher or professor
  • Chief communications officer
  • Director of public relations
  • Public relations manager
  • News media correspondent
  • Technical writer

Becoming a teacher within a postsecondary school is a common career path for graduates of a communications PhD program. As a postsecondary teacher, you may develop course curriculum, instruct students on various communication topics, and evaluate student performance through assessments, tests, and other measures.

There are a number of other career options outside of academia that you may also qualify for. Some graduates advance their careers as public relations specialists or managers.

Working in the area of public relations may require drafting press releases and communicating with the media on a regular basis. PR professionals help businesses manage public relations crises and maintain their reputation or public image.

Specific course curriculum can vary depending on the school and program that you choose to attend. Here are some topics, though, that are commonly covered in a communications program:

  • History of communication
  • Communication theories
  • Digital media and mass communication
  • Communication in politics
  • Media and the environment
  • Research methods
  • Professional writing

In most cases, PhD communication programs require you to complete coursework as well as a research project in the form of a dissertation.

Communications Careers & Salaries

Communications Careers & Salaries

Earning an online PhD in Communications can help you qualify for a variety of advanced positions. Leadership and management positions can include chief communications officer or director of public relations.

PhD graduates tend to teach at postsecondary schools, pursue academic research, or embark on rewarding careers in finance, law, policy development, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , positions in the field of communications are far-reaching and can span across various areas and industries. One of these professional areas includes media, such as journalism, news correspondence, or broadcasting.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that a number of positions in the communication field will experience positive job growth in the next ten years. These positions include top executives (4% job growth), marketing managers (7%), public relations specialists (7%), and postsecondary teachers (9%).

Communications Doctorate Curriculum

Communications Doctorate

Courses in doctoral communications programs can provide you with advanced knowledge in areas related to public relations, digital media, mass communication, media studies, and research. Courses may include:

  • Communication Research Methodologies : This course is an in-depth look at standard methodologies used in research in the field of communications and the arts and social sciences more generally.
  • Quantitative Research in Communication : You’ll review quantitative research practices in social science, including the use of statistics.
  • Qualitative Research in Communication : This course is an overview of qualitative research methods in communication, including interviewing techniques, observation, and the use of focus groups.
  • Advanced Communication Theory : You’ll take a look at key theories in the field of communication, including scholars, existing research, and emerging trends and theories.
  • History of Communication : This course is an analysis of communication throughout history, including a look at recent changes in technology and the impact that those changes have had on communication.
  • Writing for Publication : You’ll examine the approaches used in writing for publication, including conference papers, chapter books, academic papers, and more.
  • Social, Mobile, and Online Media Analytics : You’ll look at various social, mobile, and media tools available, along with the metrics, analytics, and big data related to each that help explain the experience of end-users.
  • Social Media Strategy : This course is an overview of various digital channels that exist in the realm of communications studies and media, and you’ll learn about leveraging those channels to persuade and interact with an audience.
  • Content Communication : This course is a review of content communication strategies used in the pursuit of delivering a message to a target audience and capturing the intended result.
  • Analytics in Digital and Strategic Communication : You’ll look at how research in communication has evolved over time, including the increased use of digital analytics.

In addition to regular coursework, you may be required to complete a dissertation, thesis, or research project option as part of your degree program.

Admissions Requirements

PhD in Communications Admissions

In order to enroll in one of the available communication doctoral programs, you may be required to meet a number of admissions requirements. Criteria can vary from one school to the next, but here are a few common requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree . It’s necessary to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and to submit your official transcripts.
  • GRE or GMAT scores . Although this requirement is becoming less common, some schools still require the submission GRE or GMAT scores.
  • Letters of reference . Delivery of one or more letters of reference from academic or professional supervisors and colleagues is often requested.
  • Resume . You may need to submit a copy of your resume, detailing your academic and workplace experience.

Additional admissions criteria can include completing a written essay, submitting an online application, and completing a writing test.

Accreditation

PhD in Communications Accreditation

Regional accreditation is a status that verifies that a postsecondary school and its programming meet a specific set of academic quality standards.

Attending a regionally accredited school can impact your ability to transfer credits to another program or join various professional associations. The accreditation status of the school you choose to attend can also influence the hiring decisions of potential employers.

You can visit the US Department of Education ’s website to find out the accreditation status of a particular school or program.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

PhD in Communications Financial Aid

There are a number of financial aid and scholarship opportunities that may help you fund your doctorate in communication. Financial aid is available to qualifying students in the form of grants and loans from federal and state governments.

Another option is employer training programs. If you’re currently employed, you can check to see if you’re eligible to receive educational funding from your employer through professional development or employee training programs.

In many cases, postsecondary schools also offer funding to PhD students. While funding amounts and options can vary from one school to the next, some examples include tuition rebates or cost of living stipends. For more information regarding financial aid, you can visit the US Department of Education ’s website.

Communications Professional Organizations

Communications Professionals

Joining a professional association or organization for communications professionals can provide you with the opportunity to network with others in your field. Professional organizations may also highlight new employment opportunities.

Some communications professional organizations include:

  • American Advertising Federation (AAF)
  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

Professional organizations can also be a great resource for learning and networking if you’re interested in starting your own business.

Is Communications a Good Career?

career in communications

A career in communications may allow you to explore positions in education, finance, law, policy development, nonprofit, or government.

While it is common for graduates of a PhD in Communications program to pursue positions in teaching, a number of other career options are available. These include positions in public relations, management, research, and media.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that a number of positions in the field of communications will experience growth over the next several years. These positions include top executives (4% job growth), marketing managers (7%), public relations specialists (7%), and postsecondary teachers (9%).

What Can You Do with a PhD in Communications?

PhD in Communications

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning your PhD in Communications online may allow you the opportunity to work in a variety of positions. Public relations, media, and education are just some of the industries where your communications skills are applicable.

Common careers in this field include chief communications officer, marketing manager, advertising and promotions manager, public relations manager, postsecondary school teacher, and public relations specialist. Other career options include writer, author, reporter, correspondent, and broadcast news analyst.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Communications Online?

Completing a PhD in Communications online may take 3 to 5 years when attending on a full-time basis.

Depending on the school you choose to attend, you may be able to enroll on a part-time basis, which could lengthen the amount of time it takes for you to obtain your degree. Some online communications programs offer shorter 8 week terms that may allow you to finish your coursework sooner.

Similar to most masters in communications programs , it is common for communications PhD programs to be theory- and research-intensive. A large portion of academic time can be absorbed by work on a dissertation, which is generally required in order to graduate.

What’s the Difference Between Marketing vs. Communications?

While there are some overlapping areas of study between communications and marketing, there are also a few key differences.

Careers in marketing and communications can have some overlapping options, such as advertising, promotions, and marketing managers.

Is a PhD in Communications Worth It?

PhD in Communications

Yes, a PhD in Communications is worth it for many students. Pursing a terminal degree in communications can allow you to explore topics related to history, writing, research, and social media.

Common careers in this field include marketing manager, advertising and promotions manager, public relations manager, public relations specialist, writer, author, reporter, and broadcast news analyst. PhD graduates often pursue research or postsecondary teacher positions.

Getting Your PhD in Communications Online

PhD in Communications Online

A Ph.D. in Communications can help equip you to pursue career paths in education, research, leadership, public relations, or media communications.

A doctoral degree may allow you to benefit from a flexible career path. There may be a variety of opportunities available to you in many different industries, such as government, nonprofit, finance, law, academia, or news media.

If you’re wanting to advance in this highly versatile and lucrative field, you can start today by exploring online communications doctoral programs from accredited universities.

phd topics in digital communication

  • Department of Sociological Studies

Digital media and society

Digital media are integral to society and to everyday life, as platforms shaping public processes and values, and as intimate devices for living, connecting and networking.

image plot of Instagram

The Digital Media and Society research area in the Department for Sociological Studies is concerned with a broad range of digital media/society issues, including: 

  • Self-representation and online identities in relation to gender, age, race & ethnicity, globalisation;
  • Digital infrastructures;
  • Digital media and activism;
  • Digital media and marginalised groups (eg relating to gender, race, sexuality);
  • Mobile digital media and digital marketing;
  • Digital media and health, mental health and well-being;
  • Visual digital cultures;
  • Digital research methods and ethics;
  • Digital media theory (eg relating to politics, expertise and time).

Our research has been funded by ESRC (e.g. Making Climate Social ), AHRC (e.g. Drones in Visual Culture ), EPSRC (e.g. Trust In Data ), the European Commission (e.g. Queer Migrant Identities Online ), Australian Research Council (e.g. Tracking Infrastructure for Social Media Analysis ), the Norwegian Research Council (e.g. Data Visualization In Society ), Leverhulme (e.g. Tracking Ourselves? Caring for ourselves through everyday monitoring  and  Previvorship in the platform society. Cancer genetic risk in the digital age ),  Wellcome (e.g. Mix and Match: constituting racialised communities in UK stem cell donation and projects on tweeting rare diseases), the Nuffield Foundation (e.g. Living With Data ), and the British Academy (e.g.   Vaccine voices  and on secret-telling apps). 

Our research is regularly featured in national and international media, for example BBC TV and radio, the Guardian and Independent newspapers, and Wired magazine.

Helen Kennedy presenting at the Festival of Social Science.

Digital Media and Society researchers play leadership roles in the main international associations in our field, including: 

  • The Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR);
  • The International Communications Association (ICA);
  • The European Communications Research and Education Association (ECREA);
  • The UK’s Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MECCSA);
  • The British Sociological Association (BSA).  

Digital Media and Society PhD students are currently researching topics such as:

  • The role of data visualisation in society;
  • Digital health, from self-tracking and digital fitness companies to digital health activism;
  • Self-representation, connectivity and intimacy – on WeChat, dating apps, gaming communities;
  • Social media and environmentalism, including climate change communication and social norm messaging;
  • Data, AI, algorithms and inequality;
  • Digital and data-driven research methods;
  • Gender and digital media;
  • Covid-19 in the media. 
  • Health, science and expertise on social media

Digital Media and Society PhD students and researchers are actively involved in the Sociological Studies' research themes (especially  Everyday Life & Critical Diversities  and  STeMiS ) and in Faculty of Social Sciences’ interdisciplinary research groups ( Digital Society Network , Migration Research Network , iHuman ).

People in the digital media and society research area include:

Dr hannah ditchfield.

Digital identity (and the presentation of self) Online interaction Social media/platform affordances Everyday perceptions of digital media Digital methods and ethics Qualitative research methods

Hannah Ditchfield

Dr Ysabel Gerrard

Young people’s experiences of social media  Digital identities (particularly gender) Digital research methods and ethics

Dr Ysabel Gerrard

Dr Eva Haifa Giraud

Alternative & activist media Food politics ‘Lifestyle’ ethics Online dis/misinformation & hate speech Mediated activism Science & technology studies Social & cultural theory

Eva Haifa Giraud

Dr Matthew Hanchard

Critical data studies  Digital sociology/Digital geography  Media and communications Medial sociology Research methods Urban studies/Smart cities research Science and technology studies

Matthew S. Hanchard

Dr Briony Hannell

Youth, gender, race & sexuality Participatory culture & fandom Popular media cultures Belonging & (cultural) citizenship Feminist methodologies Feminist pedagogies & informal learning cultures

Dr Briony Hannell

Dr Tim Highfield

Digital methods Visual social media Politics &/of digital media Time & digital media Everyday digital cultures Digital media platforms & their cultural & political interventions

Tim Highfield

Dr Eva Hilberg

The biopolitics of patient activism Intellectual property & Global Health Digital technologies & health The politics of molecular conceptions of life Foucauldian methods & Critical Theory

Dr Eva Hilberg

Dr Lianrui Jia

Political economy of media Platform studies App studies Media and financialization Media industries Media policy and regulation

Dr Lianrui Jia

Professor Helen Kennedy

New media theory, practice & creativity Social media data mining, big data analytics and data visualisation The myths of new media Media industries & cultural labour

A photo of Helen Kennedy

Dr Ozge Ozduzen

Media activism Digital politics Contentious digital publics Visual cultures Online conspiracy theories Online racism

Ozge Ozduzen

Dr Warren Pearce

Digital methodologies Expertise on digital platforms Social life of climate change Environmental imagery Computer vision Governance of climate knowledge Science communication Science and technology studies (STS)

A photo of Warren Pearce

Dr Preeti Raghunath

Global Media Policy Global Data Economy

A photo of Preeti

Dr Harrison Smith

Surveillance Data analytics industries The geoweb Mobile digital culture Digital marketing

A photo of Harrison Smith

Dr Stefania Vicari

Digital methods Digital publics Health and illness Platform studies Networks

A photo of Stefania Vicari

Dr Kate Weiner

Everyday health practices Mundane health technologies Lay/professional knowledge Genetics Prevention Qualitative methods Science & technology studies Sociology of health & illness

Dr Kate Weiner

Dr Ros Williams

Health & social media Digital health Sociology of health & illness Genetics Race & ancestry Science & technology in society/STS Digital methods Tissue donation & biobanking

Dr Ros Williams

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The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.

phd topics in digital communication

Communication Studies

Doctoral dissertation topics.

CMS Graduates

Doctoral Graduates Photo Credit: Rene Dailey

2023 Graduates

Doctoral Student: Dr. Qinyan Dickerson  

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Rene Dailey  

TOWARD A COMMUNICATION FRAMEWORK OF RELATIONAL STIGMA MANAGEMENT IN NONTRADITIONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Mian Jia 

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Matt McGlone 

AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO METADISCOURSE IN TEXT-BASED MASSPERSONAL ADVICE

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Colton Krawietz 

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Anita Vangelisti 

TOPIC AVOIDANCE AS A MULTIPLEX PHENOMENON AMONG INDIVIDUALS TRANSITIONING FROM DATING TO COHABITATION

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Inbal Leibovits 

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Roderick Hart 

THE HOMELESS CIVIC SOCIETY: A STUDY OF LIMINAL CITIZENSHIP

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Mary Lever  

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Michael Butterworth  

YES, COACH: THE RHETORIC OF PATERNALISM IN COLLEGE SPORTS

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Ashley McDonald   

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Johanna Hartelius   

A PLACE IN THE HOUSE FIRE

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Courtney Powers    

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Keri Stephens    

ORGANIZATIONAL RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF CRISIS: COMMUNAL COPING IN FAMILY BUSINESSES

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Shelbey Rollison     

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Joshua Barbour     

ADVANCING COLLECTIVE COMMUNICATION DESIGN FOR FERTILITY TRACKING

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Oshyn Sky      

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Rene Dailey      

THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION AND SELF-ADVOCACY IN SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS: EXPLORING SEXUAL COMMUNICATION AMONG CIS AND TRANS WOMEN, TRANS MEN AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Kendall Tich       

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Keri Stephens       

UNPRECEDENTED OR UNPREPARED? EXPLORING THE ROLE OF ORGANIZATIONS IN MOTIVATING EMPLOYEE PROTECTIVE BEHAVIORS DURING A HEALTH CRISIS

Doctoral Student:  Dr. Joy Woods        

Dissertation Supervisor:  Dr. Erin Donovan        

AT THE MOUTH OF MY GRAVE WHILE TENDING MY GARDEN: FEAR OF DEATH AND HOPE FOR LIFE IN BLACK WOMEN'S CONVERSTATIONS ABOUT REPRODUCTIVE AND MATERNAL HEALTH

Explore More

  • Master's Thesis Topics
  • Doctoral Student Placement Data

Ph.D. Topics

Mirjam-sarah (mia) lepp.

Mia’s proposed topic is to research about the creation of a fashion literacy eLearning platform. Her supervisors are Professor Lorenzo Cantoni and Dr. Nadzeya Sabatini.

Joanna’s research area focuses on the challenges in the field of digital communication in fashion, identifying models of cross-cultural digital fashion communication, and sustainable digital fashion communication to support companies in using digital channels to communicate with specific markets, especially exploring the differences in digital communication in China and Europe, such as how does social media work in China and Europe? How can online strategies and digital channels be used to reach local customers? How to benefit from the fast-growing digital market in China?

Charlotte Stachel

Charlotte’s Ph.D. research focuses on fashion heritage and the digitalization of a company’s archive. In particular, it explores how digital media can be orchestrated to present a company’s legacy through digital exhibitions or through the enrichment of the experience of visiting a physical collection. The research is conducted on the case of the Swiss Fashion Brand Bally and its related digital and phygital communication practices. It will cover the preservation and communication of Bally’s 171-year-old heritage at the crossroads of intangible and tangible heritage and its connection to an emerging trend within museums and academia. The Ph.D. position is funded through the Lifestyle Tech Competence Center, of which USI and Bally are founding partners. Further project partners are Hyphen, Microsoft and Moresi.

PHD PRIME

Research PhD Topics in Electronics and Communication Engineering

Electronics and communication is the branch of engineering science that is intended to control electron streams in an electrical circuit by rectification and amplification functionalities whereas classical electrical engineering uses the inductance & capacitance to control electron streams (current flow). In short, it is one of the thriving technologies in the recent technical eras. “We are presenting you the most expected pioneering article which is all about PhD topics in electronics and communication engineering”

Electronics and communication engineering is comprised of so many irreplaceable components.  The main objective of this article is to make your thoughts provoke a different perception of curlicue electronics technology. We are dedicating our indispensable efforts to this article to electronics enthusiasts. You can also become a master in these areas by paying your kind attention throughout the article. Now let us begin to focus on the core areas.

Overview of Electronics and Communication

Electronic components are the entities which are interpreting electron flows in every electronic mechanism.  These components are interconnected with the printed circuit boards to generate oscillator, receiver & amplifier-based electronic circuits. Electronic components such as,

  • Transistors

These components are usually integrated with complex digital circuits.  Advancements in digital electronics are cannot be fingered in numbers. For example, digital watches, traffic signals, and supercomputers are the best instances of digital electronic circuits. In this regard, let us look into the modern evolution of digital electronics.

Evolution of Digital Electronics

  • Transparent Latch & Truth Tables
  • State Machines & Sequential Logic
  • Logic Synthesis & Simulation
  • Karnaugh Maps & Formal Verification
  • Digital Circuits & Counters
  • De Morgan’s Laws & Boolean Algebra
  • Combinational Logic & Binary Decision Diagrams
  • Schmitt Triggers & Multiplexers
  • Registers & Counters
  • Flip-Flops, Logic Gates & Adders
  • Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor
  • Field-Programmable Gate Array
  • Digital Signal Processor & Memory Chip
  • Application-Specific Integrated Circuit
  • Microcontrollers & Microprocessors

The above listed are the various branches in which electronic engineering is contributed their vital functionalities to enhance them. As this article is titled with the PhD topics in electronics and communication engineering, we would like the mention the research areas of the same at the beginning itself for the ease of your understanding.

Research Areas in Electronics and Communication Engineering

  • Instrumentation & Control Engineering
  • Telecommunications Engineering
  • Automation & Robotics
  • Data Science & IoT
  • Embedded Systems & Engineering
  • Signal Processing & Communication Systems
  • Wireless Communication Technology
  • Optoelectronics, Microelectronics & Bioelectronics
  • Electronic & Microwave Engineering
  • Electrical & Computer Science Engineering
  • Information & Communications Processing
  • Computer Technology & Digital Circuits

These are the diverse research areas heading their paves and offering so many opportunities to explore more. These technologies are making other models stronger by the application of their significant features in every technique comprised it.

You can make use of our technical team’s assistance here for brainstorming about how electronics and communication engineering is going to help your selected areas of research. In this sense, we could gear up our directions into the next section.

Research PhD Topics in Electronics and Communication engineering

What are the Different Models that benefitted from Electronics and Communication Engineering?

  • Heart Beat Monitor
  • Plasma Antenna Technology
  • Pass-Transistor Dual Value Logic for Low-Power CMOS
  • Markov and Hidden Markov Models

Itemized above are the 4 major models which are benefited from electronics and communication engineering in general. We know that it would be really helpful to beginners by explaining these systems. Hence, we are going to make the next section with their corresponding explanations.

  • Heartbeat monitors are using IR Receiver (Rx) & IR Transmitter (Tx) by taking biometric inputs from index fingers in the medical field
  • A metal element in an electronic system is substituted by plasma antenna which engages ionized gas into the tubes
  • Further, it allows radio frequency to transmit signals over the medium when ionized gas charged
  • The antenna element will have flopped if ionized gas is not charged as well as voltage application is enabling electrons to flow in a circuit
  • Portable devices are in needing very high throughput & low power consumption in every process
  • It is highly resulted in designing high-density VLSI chips to ensure several requirements of portable devices
  • Markov models are tackling pattern recognition complexities by the application of electronics engineering
  • These models are widely used to examine genes, promoter entities, CpG, RNA & as well as DNA patterns

This is how these mentioned models are getting benefited by electronics and communication engineering in real-time. Our researchers in the institute are smart and intellectual individuals who are spontaneously skilled.

They are interacting and encourage the students utilizing directing them to technical areas which are going to help them to grab their dream career opportunities. Right now, we would like to add up some peppers here about how electronics and communication engineering work in general with clear handy notes.

How Does Electronics and Communication Engineering Work?

  • Polarization Module & Lightweight Broadband Antenna
  • Synthetic aperture radar sensors are powered by the transversal electromagnetic & logarithmic-periodic dipole broadband antennas
  • Unmanned aircraft vehicles are placed with broadband antennas and estimated according to the weight, radiation pattern pulse response & matching
  • Wideband Microwave Power Module
  • It is the integrated module of vacuum tube & solid-state electronics that is aimed to increase (amplify) radio frequency signal levels
  • As well as they are enfolding EPC, TWTA & SSPA within the solitary unit and they are widely used in,
  • Military & Defense Satellite Communications
  • Dynamic Phased Array of Antennas
  • Synthetic Aperture Radars & Transmitters

These are 2 modules mainly involved in the working process of electronics and communication engineering. In fact, without wideband and lightweight broadband modules, the electronic system cannot execute its processes in a better manner.

At this time of the technical era, so many trends are injected into electronics and communication engineering technology. Yes, we are going to let you know some interesting current trends presented in the same technology for making your perceptions wise.

Current Trends in Electronics and Communication Engineering

  • This technology is vigorously involving with communication antennas research
  • It is transmitting data over the infrared lights in a bidirectional way
  • Enlarges the bandwidth and network speed by multiplying 4G, 3G & Wi-Fi
  • It allows the digital users to connect with the internet and smart devices
  • It can connect with longer cables and allows to access other electromagnetic generators
  • This technology is making supercomputers with human analytical skills
  • For interacting with humans (as human interaction with other individuals)
  • Used in the airlines for communicating with broadband & wireless narrowband
  • Microchips in Gi-Fi offer multi-gigabit data transmission with short-range

The foregoing passage has revealed to you some of the current trends in electronics and communication engineering. Researching is an art and not everyone is Picasso of it. However, you can become a master in research by continuously putting in your hard work.

In the following passage, we have wrapped several exciting PhD research ideas in electronics and communication engineering for your valuable consideration. Shall we get into that section? Come on!!! Let’s grab them.

Research Ideas for Electronics and Communication Engineering

  • Urban Area based 5G Communication Networks
  • MEMS Sensors & Systems
  • Nano Devices with Microchips
  • Software-Defined Wireless System Evaluation

These are the innovative research ideas that can be further explored with the help of skilled developers and researchers. When doing PhD studies, you need to choose the exact research topic in which you are strong.

Many scholars are failing to select the correct research topic. For this, you can avail our mentors’ assistance freely to know about trending electronics and communication engineering journals list . Students are given various options such as they can choose one of the given topics or they can even choose topics as per our technical crew’s instructions.

To be honest, we are suggesting every student handpick the latest topics in emerging technologies with phd thesis writing services .  Here is a tip for you! Try to make questions on the issues that arise in your research topic and make the interesting issues to frame your PhD topics. In this regard, we wanted to mention the latest topics in electronics and communication.

What are the Latest Topics in Electronics and Communication?

  • Infrared Communications
  • VLSI Implementation by OFDM
  • WLAN in Automated Vehicles
  • corDECT Wireless in Local Loop System
  • Wearable & IoT Computing
  • Linux Clusters with Parallel File System
  • Digital Image Processing
  • Speech Recognition
  • Visible Light Communication
  • Smart Sensors
  • Communication Channel Testing
  • IR & RF Waveforms Experimentations
  • Integrated Back Haul & Front Haul Systems
  • Testing Samples on Signals
  • Simulating Interfaces in Hardware
  • Application of CRO in Active Frequency of Output
  • Testing using Antenna, Radar & Sonar

Here CRO stands for Cathode Ray Oscilloscope.  These are some of the possible topics in electronics and communication engineering. As our technical team is concerned with the student’s understanding, they are always lending their helping hands to them by means revealing every aspect of research. Hence, they would also like to highlight some simulation tools used in electronics and communication engineering technology.

Simulation Tools for Electronics and Communication

  • Matlab or Simulink
  • NS 2 or NS 3

The aforementioned are some of the simulation tools used in electronics and communication engineering. As our researchers concentrated on the student’s welfare, we wanted to explain at least one of the listed simulation tools for paving your understanding better. That is none other than, that we are going to illustrate how to simulate IoT devices using the COOJA simulator .

How to Simulate IoT Devices using COOJA Simulator?

  • IoT is the intellectual and embedded system in which sensors, interfaces, hardware, and software are interconnected to exchange data
  • Contiki system of wireless sensor networks are simulated by the COOJA’s Contiki Mote and they are controlling the whole architecture
  • Contiki Mote compilers are performed as a load and sharing library in Java programming languages

This is how the IoT devices are simulated by the COOJA simulator. Apart from this, signals in IoT devices are significantly stimulated by Matlab tools. Do you know, How to simulate signal processing using Matlab? If you don’t know! Don’t cringe. We are going to illuminate you the same in the immediate section.

How to Simulate Signal Processing using Matlab?

  • Primarily, Matlab is acquiring raw signals and then they are analyzing, preprocessing and extracting features in it
  • Matlab tools are dynamically performing power spectrum evaluation, smoothing, & resamples filtered signals
  • Particularly, they are very competent in extracting signal patterns and their similarities
  • Even they are capable in measuring SNR oriented signal misrepresentations
  • Matlab is using signal analyzer application to analyze and preprocess the various signals instantaneously without scripting any codes
  • In addition, they are facilitating the users to customize the digital filters with the help of filter design application

This is how the signal processing in IoT devices is simulated under the Matlab tool. We are concerned with dynamic researchers who are showcasing their indispensable contributions to make the research paper’s quality with high standard levels.

Our experts have engaged them in various activities. One among them is reading habit. Yes, we habitually read and examine top journals published with every phase of technology (for example robotics journals list ). In addition, we are also suggesting you, people, read journals at least periodically. Finally, we would like to highlight some of the latest and emerging technologies in electronics and communication engineering.

What are the Latest Technologies in Electronics and Communication?

  • Smart & Intellectual Energy Systems
  • Computerized Industries
  • Robotics & Automation
  • Self-directed Drone Mechanisms
  • Man-less Driving Systems

So far, we have come up with the essential areas of PhD topics in electronics and communication engineering and other concepts. Are you wondering about this technology? There are so many interesting fields that are yet too said. If you are interested in knowing about them, then you can feel free to approach our academics at any time.

“Let’s sow your interesting ideas today and yield incredible results tomorrow”

phd topics in digital communication

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