NCA's Doctoral Program Guide

Pennsylvania State University, College of Communications

Graduate study in the College of Communications at The Pennsylvania State University is based in the research and teaching expertise of the College’s distinguished graduate faculty. They believe that graduate communications scholarship is most effective and rewarding when graduate students are given the opportunity to work with a cadre of prominent scholars whom students have identified as having the particular expertise that best suits their scholarly objectives. 

Association of American Universities Member


Carnegie "Doctoral University: Very High Research Activity"


Communication doctorates conferred between 2010-19: 145


Areas of Study 

  • Critical & Cultural Studies
  • International Communications
  • Law, Government, & Politics
  • Media Effects
  • Strategic Communications
  • Telecommunications, Technology & Information Policy


QS World University Rankings—Communication & Media Studies 

  • #32 of 200 World Universities (tied for #32)

URAP University Rankings—Language, Communication & Culture 

  • #4 of 300 World Universities

Admission Requirements 

  • Statement of purpose (two to three pages explaining your academic interest and background in communications and how graduate study at Penn State fits into your career plans).
  • Writing sample (any academic or professional work that demonstrates your analytical and writing abilities).
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation (preferably from those who can assess your past academic performance and potential for graduate studies).
  • Two (2) official copies of transcripts from each university attended (international transcripts must be accompanied by a certified English copy).
  • Official GRE Scores (analytical writing, verbal general and quantitative general). Official TOEFL Scores (for international students only).

Graduate Faculty 

  • Associate Professor Lee Ahern, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
  • Associate Professor Denise Bortree, Ph.D., University of Florida
  • Associate Professor Colleen Connolly-Ahern, Ph.D., University of Florida
  • Associate Professor Frank Dardis, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
  • Assistant Professor Alex Fattal, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • Associate Professor Russell Frank, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • Professor Rob Frieden, J.D., University of Virginia
  • Assistant Professor Pearl Gluck, M.F.A., City College of New York
  • Professor Marie Hardin, Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • Associate Professor Anne Hoag, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Associate Professor Matthew Jackson, Ph.D., Indiana University
  • Professor Krishna Jayakar, Ph.D., Indiana University
  • Associate Professor Matthew Jordan, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
  • Associate Professor Ann Marie Major, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University
  • Professor Matthew McAllister, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Associate Professor Jessica Myrick, Ph.D., University of North Carolina
  • Professor Mary Beth Oliver, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
  • Professor Anthony Olorunnisola, Ph.D., Howard University
  • Professor Patrick Parsons, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • Professor Patrick Plaisance, Ph.D., Syracuse University
  • Professor Robert D. Richards, Ph.D., J.D., American University
  • Professor Ford Risley, Ph.D., University of Florida
  • Associate Professor Michelle Rodino-Colocino, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
  • Associate Professor Michael Schmierbach, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
  • Professor Fuyuan Shen, Ph.D., University of North Carolina
  • Associate Professor Richard Sherman, M.F.A., Ohio University
  • Professor S. Shyam Sundar, Ph.D., Stanford University
  • Assistant Professor Yael Warshel, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
  • Associate Professor Bu Zhong, Ph.D., University of Maryland