NCA's Doctoral Program Guide

Michigan State University, Department of Communication

Since the doctoral program began in the late 1950s, over 350 men and women have completed their Ph.D. in Communication at Michigan State University. The alumni hold faculty positions in many leading universities, and as well as research and consultative positions in government and industry. Graduates provide leadership in academic and professional fields in many countries throughout the world. The Communication doctoral program features outstanding faculty who are prolific researchers and effective advisors.

Association of American Universities Member


Carnegie "Doctoral University: Highest Research Activity"


Communication doctorates conferred between 2010-15: 94


Concentrations/Research Emphases 

  • Communication & Technology
  • Health Communication
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Mass Communication
  • Organizational Communication
  • Persuasion
  • Research Methods


Neuendorf, et al., 2007

  • #4 of 28 Communication Doctoral Degree Programs

NRC Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs  

  • #2 of 83 programs in Research Output
  • #19 of 83 programs in Diversity

Allen, et al., 2012 

  • #3 of 60 programs by Number of Citations


  • Top Ten Research Program in 42 of 99 Research Areas

QS World University Rankings--Communication & Media Studies (2016) 

  • #9 of 200 World Universities

URAP University Rankings--Language, Communication, & Culture 

  • #37 of 250 World Universities 

Admission Requirements 

  • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic or professional work and are willing to assess your aptitude for graduate work.
  • Academic Statement - The University Graduate Application Academic Statement will automatically populate in GIMS but you can edit this statement in GIMS if desired.
  • Personal Statement - The University Graduate Application Personal Statement will automatically populate in GIMS but you can edit this statement in GIMS if desired.
  • Please complete the research interests section.
  • Please complete the essay (approximately 400 words) answering the following question, "Discuss an experience in your life where you had to overcome a significant challenge or adversity."
  • Resume or vita including listings of conference presentations and/or publications.
  • GRE Scores.
  • TOEFL Scores (for international applicants).

Graduate Faculty 

  • Associate Professor Daniel Bergan, Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • Professor Frank Boster, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Professor Mary Bresnahan, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  • Assistant Professor Dustin Carnahan, Ph.D., Ohio State University
  • Professor James Dearing, Ph.D., University of Southern California
  • Professor William Donohue, Ph.D., Ohio State University
  • Assistant Professor Allison Eden, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Associate Professor Amanda Holmstrom, Ph.D., Purdue University
  • Professor Maria Lapinski, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Assistant Professor Jingbo Meng, Ph.D., University of Southern California 
  • Associate Professor Vernon Miller, Ph.D., University of Texas
  • Associate Professor Taiquan Peng, Ph.D., City University of Hong Kong
  • Assistant Professor Ralf Schmaelzle, Ph.D., University of Konstantz (Germany)
  • Associate Professor John Sherry, Ph.D., Michigan State University 
  • Professor Kami Silk, Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • Professor Sandi Smith, Ph.D., University of Southern California
  • Assistant Professor Bruno Takahashi, Ph.D., State University of New York
  • Professor Ron Tamborini, Ph.D., Indiana University
  • Assistant Professor Brandon Van Der Heide, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Associate Professor Gwen Wittenbaum, Ph.D., Miami University

NCA Awards to Faculty and Students, 2000-present  

  • Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education, 2013
Research Specialties : 
Communication & Technology, Health Communication, Intercultural-International Communication, Interpersonal-Small Group Communication, Mass Communication-Media Studies, Organizational Communication, Persuasion-Social Influence