The Ph.D. program in Communication at Texas A&M aims to produce well-educated graduates who are intellectually prepared to be academic professionals, as well as communication research specialists in other contexts. Because each student’s goals are unique, the graduate curriculum in Communication is intentionally flexible to accommodate individual student’s interests and promote intra/interdisciplinary inquiry. We offer small classes from nationally and internationally renowned faculty, allowing for a great deal of student-faculty interaction among the premier scholars in the field. And because our graduate faculty exemplify intellectual curiosity and excellence in scholarship, our A&M doctoral students are themselves very active, productive scholars, participating frequently in professional meetings, publishing their own work, and being acknowledged for excellence in research and teaching.
The Department of Communication offers two paths toward a doctoral degree—a traditional 4 year (64 Hour) track for students entering with a Masters degree, and a 5 year (96 Hour) direct admit track for exceptional students entering with a Bachelors degree. In each of these tracks, students select coursework from the department’s five areas of specialization. Although each student is asked to specialize in a primary area (or two), all of our students are strongly encouraged to build a program of study that takes advantage of multiple areas. In fact, many of our students graduate with research and teaching profiles that reflect this intra/interdisciplinary orientation, evidencing their abilities to adapt to a variety of positions outside of A&M. Not surprisingly then our program boasts a strong placement record, with students receiving the doctorate having been placed at colleges, universities, research centers, and/or corporations.
- HEALTH COMMUNICATION: Health communication researchers employ a diverse set of theoretical and methodological approaches to examine the role of communication and media in relation to the health and well being of individuals, families, and communities. Our contexts of study include public health, clinical settings, families, health care organizations, and community organizations. Topics of research include clinician-patient communication and health outcomes, health-related decision making in families, culture and health, social media and well-being, persuasive public health campaigns, and the impact of social and professional changes on communication within health care organizations.
- ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION: Organizational communication faculty study the role of communication in organizing processes and practices within and between organizations, stakeholder groups, and institutions and how these processes and practices enable organizations and publics to manage relationships, conflicts, and power. Faculty research focuses on how communication processes such as structuring, sense-making, advocacy, and collaboration shape the ways organizations and publics are organized in corporate, non-profit, and community contexts. Organizational communication scholars employ a variety of quantitative, critical/interpretive, and rhetorical methods to generate useful knowledge for organizations, publics, and institutions. Engaged communication scholarship represents an important mode of inquiry by providing one avenue for integrating theory and practice to address ethical, social, and civic problems within and between these organizations and publics and to create the potential for social change.
- RHETORIC AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Scholars in this area are rooted in humanistic traditions and focus on how public discourse shapes and is shaped by choices confronting the public, ways in which texts and cultural practices of communication constitute identities and sustain democratic forms of citizen participation, and the interwoven fabric of power, politics, and speech-making in American society. Research in the program includes classical, contemporary, and critical rhetorical theory; rhetorical history and the criticism of American public address; feminism and the intersectional analysis of race, class, and gender; the presidency; social movements; contemporary political campaigns; policy and media; visual rhetoric, materialism, and monuments; and freedom of expression.
- MEDIA, CULTURE, AND IDENTITY: Scholars in media, culture, and identity explore the role of traditional and emerging media within and across historical, cultural, global, and international contexts. They use diverse approaches to study how media and technology influence culture and identity at the individual and societal levels. They examine how culture, communication, and identity (such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, religion, place, and social class) influence and are shaped by media and technology content, uses, practices, and effects. Faculty research topics such as media technologies, popular communication, media representations, digital cultures, intercultural communication, global media, mobile communication, media processes and effects, journalistic practices, entertainment media, media activism, and media literacy as these are constitutive of the power relations and processes of social change. Scholars studying and teaching in this area employ a variety of theoretical (such as feminist, critical, cultural, behavioral, and social psychological) and methodological (such as ethnographic, content analytical, interpretive, textual analytical, case study, survey, and experimental) approaches.
- COMMUNICATION, POLITICS, AND POLICY: Scholars in communication, politics, and policy explore the interactions among media organizations, technology, production, content, distribution, uses, systems, and ecologies within and across political, legal, cultural, social, economic, and geographic contexts and as they affect individuals, organizations, communities, and governments. Faculty research examines the ways in which law and policy shape the environments within which all communication takes place; the co-construction of law, society, and technology; interactions between political actors and journalists; media effects on political attitudes and behaviors; interactions between technological innovations and use; and the role of communication technologies in politics. Using a variety of theoretical, conceptual, and methodological approaches, they study historical and contemporary political communication as well as the politics, political economy, and law- and policy-making for and of all communication.
Doctoral students in the program have the opportunity to take advantage of a number of co-curricular graduate certificates that can be completed concurrent with doctoral degree requirements. These certificates include:
- Africana Studies
- Digital Humanities
- International Communication & Public Diplomacy
- Women’s & Gender Studies
The department currently has approximately 40 full-time graduate students in residence and 25 graduate faculty members. Most admitted graduate students are offered a funding package, which (at the very least) covers tuition expenses for 4-5 years, and a $16,000 stipend/academic year. Students may also apply for a $500 travel grant each year to help recover costs associated with academic conference travel. For more information on assistantships, fellowships, graduate student travel and research grants, please go to the Funding page.