Ph.D. in Communication

Since 1961, the Doctorate in Communication at Michigan State University has been one of the most prestigious communication degrees in the world. We produce well-rounded behavioral researchers, teachers and communication consultants by stressing communication theory, empiricism, quantitative methods and teamwork.

Students learn how to generate independent hypotheses and research designs, the critical importance of real-world relevancy in keeping with the land-grant tradition and the art of working together with others in teams for common objectives. Doctoral students have a variety of options that they explore in conjunction with their guidance committees. These options span the full range of specializations at Michigan State University.

Graduates with this degree receive offers from research centers, government agencies, corporations and universities and colleges around the world.

Program Accolades

Melinda Aley, Assistant Professor - Montana State University, Billings
Joshua Baldwin, Postdoctoral Researcher - University of Georgia
Brian Klebig, Associate Professor - Bethany Lutheran College
Sang Uk Lee, Postdoctoral Associate - Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
Sunyoung Park, Assistant Profesor - Cal State Long Beach
Shay Yao, Assistant Professor - Georgia State University

Kevin Kryston, Assistant Professor - Sam Houston State University
Brandon Walling, Health Communication Specialist - The MITRE Corporation
Xiaodi Yan, Assistant Professor - Guangming School, China University

Minwoong Chung, Assitant Professor - University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Clare Grall, Media Psychologist & Behavior Research - StoryFit
Joomi Lee, Postdoctoral Researcher - University of Georgia
Eric Novotny, Research Specialist - Haworth Inc.
Reed Reynolds, Assistant Professor - University of Massachusetts, Boston
Samantha Shebib, Assistant Professor - University of Alabama at Birmingham

David Beyea, Assistant Professor - University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Joshua Nelson-Ichido, Asistant Professor - Central Washington University
Daniel Totzkay, Assistant Professor - West Virginia University
Clint Townson, Principal Researcher - IMS Consulting & Expert Services
Yi Zhu, Assistant Professor - Beijing Normal University

Ying Cheng, Assistant Professor - Cal State University, San Bernadino
Yue "Nancy" Dai, Assistant Professor - City University of Hong Kong
Lindsay Hahn, Assistant Professor - University at Buffalo
Sujay Prabu, Statistician - Dissertation by Design
Abby Rainer, HR Director - Denver Fire Department

Jeff Cox, Assistant Professor - Albion College
Wuyu "Rain" Liu, Assistant Professor - University of Arizona
Soo Yun Shin, Assistant Professor - Seoul National University

Shannon Cruz, Assistant Professor - Penn State University
Jinsuk Kim, Assistant Professor - Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI)

Katelyn Grayson-Sneed - Michigan State University, College of Human. Medicine
Hanna Klautke, Researcher - Usability and Accessibility Research and Consulting
Nicol Kashian, Assistant Professor - Florida International University
Brian Manata, Assistant Professor - Penn State University
Aditi Paul, Research Lead - Boomi, Ltd.

David Clare, Principal Consultant - Sage Analysis Group
Jennifer Cornacchione-Ross, Assistant Professor - Boston University
Ashley Hanna Edwards, Assistant Professor - University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
Jeong-Woo Jang, Assistant Professor - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
David Keating, Assistant Professor - University of New Mexico
Yuhua (Jake) Liang, Assistant Professor - Chapman University (deceased)
Evan Perrault, Assistant Professor - Purdue University
Jie Zhuang, Assistant Professor - Texas Christian University

Matthew Grizzard, Associate Professor - The Ohio State University
Samantha Nazione, Associate Professor - Berry College

Kristin Pace, Performance Manager - Public Health Seattle
Jessica Russell, Associate Professor - Cal State Long Beach

In the 2004 NCA reputational survey ratings of "effectiveness of Ph.D. program", MSU ranked #1 in health communication, #1 in communication and technology, #2 in mass communication, #4 in interpersonal and small group communication, and #4 in international and intercultural communication.

Among the subset of comprehensive doctoral programs (at least five specialties), MSU had the top average rating score.

Many of the faculty from this rating period are still in the Department.

The highest honor awarded to communication faculty by the International Communication Association is to be named a Fellow. The Michigan State Department of Communication has been directly associated with the careers of more ICA Fellows than any other university:

Patrice Buzzanell, Sandi Smith, Everett Rogers, Steve Wilson, Charles Berger, Michael Burgoon, Joe Cappella, Akiba Cohen, Brenda Dervin, Randy Harrison, Judee Burgoon, Peter Monge, Byron Reeves, Joe Walther, Frank Boster, William Donohue, Marshall Scott Poole, Jim McCroskey, Brad Greenberg, GR Miller, James Dillard, Edward L. Fink, Robert Craig and Mike Roloff.

Current and former COM faculty have won one-third of ICA mentor awards for doctoral advising, more than any other university:

GR Miller, Brad Greenberg, Frank Boster, Judee Burgoon, Edward L. Fink and Peter Monge.

COM researchers rank first in latest research productivity study published in the Journal of Communication, which analyzed authorship of articles published between 1999-2004 in eight leading journals sponsored by NCA and ICA. MSU was number one in publications by current faculty and students and #1 in publications by doctoral alumni.

COM placed 11 faculty and doctoral alumni among the top 50 most productive researchers in two dozen communication journals from 1996-2001, according to a study published in Communication Research Reports.

Meet Our Current Students

Some of the sharpest minds in the world have pursued their doctorate in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University.

Learn more about them


Additional information about the Ph.D. program in Communication may be obtained from:

Marge Barkman
Academic Programs

472 ComArtSci Building
404 Wilson Rd.
East Lansing, MI 48824

Graduate Placements since 2013

This list includes either first position or current position, depending on available information.