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:

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."

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