virtual communications tree diagram

What does it cost?

Check out our cost calculator or visit student financial services for information on estimated costs.

How long will it take?

Students attending the doctoral program full-time can expect to finish in 4 to 5 years.

Where will I take classes?
Atlanta Campus

Application Deadlines View Admissions Requirements

Fall Admission only

  • December 1 (Priority Deadline)
  • February 10 (Regular Deadline)

Communication Studies, Ph.D.

Graduate Program Director
Timothy Barouch
[email protected]

The Georgia State University doctoral program in communication encourages students to engage in theoretically rigorous, methodologically sophisticated and ethically informed research. Our students are encouraged to undertake research that makes a difference and contributes substantively to the human understanding of how communication and media fundamentally shape and are shaped by an increasingly complex social world.

The curriculum draws upon social scientific and humanities-based theories and methods to prepare a diverse group of students for a job market that expects them to be literate across multiple sub-disciplinary domains of communication, in particular, media studies, rhetoric and speech communication.

Doctoral students work with graduate faculty who have gained national and international prominence across a diverse range of research areas, including:

  • International media and politics
  • Health communication
  • Strategic communication
  • Media effects and psychology
  • Media representation and stereotypes
  • Rhetorical studies
  • Legal communication
  • Journalism studies
  • Media ethics
  • Visual communication
  • Environmental and critical animal studies
  • Terrorism studies
  • Public argument and deliberation
  • Persuasion, public relations
  • Interpersonal and intergroup communication
  • Networks
  • Ideological formations of power and resistance

The intellectual and creative energies activated by this rich and interdisciplinary activity within Atlanta’s dynamic urban location make the department an ideal place for students from around the world to prepare for a career in communication.

Program Highlights

Doctoral students are highly active in professional organizations in our field. They present conference papers at the annual meetings of the International Communication Association, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the National Communication Association and the Southern States Communication Association.

Program Details
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts (one from each institution attended)
  • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores (international applicants only)*
  • Statement of purpose: Submit a statement which summarizes your research, academic and potential professional interest, and details your intellectual interests as they relate to communication. If you wish, use the statement to bring information to the attention of faculty reviewers you think is of importance. For example, if your application contains some evidence of special strength or weakness, you might choose to address that in your statement. If your undergraduate or graduate transcripts would benefit from additional explanation (for example, if you wish to call to our attention your higher grades in communication-related courses or your record of improvement), it would be appropriate to add that language to this statement as well.  Overall, why do you wish to pursue doctoral studies with the Department of Communication? If you are undecided about the direction you wish to pursue, do your best to specify the direction you are heading.
  • Writing sample: Submit a 15-20 page writing sample of your scholarly work. Ideally, this essay, article or chapter will indicate your interests and your abilities.
  • Resume (for those seeking to be considered for a Graduate Research Assistant position).

*Institutional code 5251 should be used for reporting TOEFL scores

Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Studies (Minimum of 68 hours beyond the master’s degree)

  • Five hours of core courses:
    • COMM 8111 Introduction to Graduate Studies (2)
    • COMM 8035 Doctoral Colloquium in Communication Pedagogy (3)
  • Twenty-four hours in area of concentration (Media and Society, Public Communication or Rhetoric and Politics)
  • Nine hours of required coursework for Rhetoric and Politics and twelve hours of required coursework for Media and Society
  • Nine hours of research tools for Rhetoric and Politics and six hours of research tools for Media and Society (approved courses that fall within the general categories of research design, observational methods, ethnography, content analysis, computer programming, statistics and digital media methods)
  • Minimum of twenty-one hours of COMM 9999 Dissertation Research
  • A written comprehensive examination
  • A successful oral defense
  • A successful dissertation prospectus
  • A successful dissertation defense

Visit the catalog for curriculum details.

Applicants for a graduate assistantship must submit a resume.Graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of 18 credit hours each semester. These credit hours will consist of courses required for the prescribed program of study, as well additional hours of COMM 6990, COMM 8780, COMM 9999.

The communication doctoral program at Georgia State is designed to give students a solid foundation in both well-established and more cutting-edge communication theories and models exploring the pivotal role communication and media play in influencing personal and public life. Students gain facility with innovative and often interdisciplinary methodological approaches to the study of communication, both qualitative and quantitative – approaches that may incorporate computational, rhetorical, critical and cultural, legal, historical or mixed methodologies.

The overall goal of the doctoral program is to develop excellent research scholars and instructors who will function as exemplary members of academic departments, or as leaders in public advocacy organizations, corporate environments, media professions and governmental agencies.

The program is designed to train students in innovative and often interdisciplinary methodological approaches to the study of media, approaches that may incorporate qualitative, quantitative, computational and mixed methodologies.



Our Ph.D. graduates go on to leadership positions in academic settings, public advocacy organizations, corporate environments and governmental institutions.

Atlanta is a business mecca — home to more than a dozen headquarters of Fortune 500 companies — providing students with unparalleled access to internships, research opportunities and jobs, as well as a wide variety of networking opportunities. The metro area is home to major media employers, including CNN, WebMD and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It also hosts one of the country’s largest PR sectors, with regional offices here for many of the world’s firms with the greatest global reach.


Mailing Address and Office Location

Department of Communication
25 Park Place
Suite 800
Atlanta, GA  30303

Graduate Program Director
Timothy Barouch
[email protected]

College of Arts & Sciences Lockup25 Park Pl NE #2500
Atlanta, GA 30303

The information shared provides an overview of Georgia State’s offerings. For details on admissions requirements, tuition, courses and more, refer to the university catalogs.