NCA's Doctoral Program Guide

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Communication & Media

The study of human communication deals with the processes by which humans create and share meaning. It is an interdisciplinary field embracing literary study, speech communication, composition and rhetoric, media studies, visual design, and technical communication. The Department of Communication and Media (C&M) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute emphasizes those communication processes involved in the creation of meaning in all media, including the new electronic media. The M.S. degrees can lead to careers in technical communication, or provide a foundation for doctoral study. Graduates of the Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric find careers in business, government, and academia.

Rensselaer Polytechnic University is a Carnegie "Doctoral University: Higher Research Activity." From 2010-2014, Rensselaer Polytechnic University conferred 6 doctorates in Communication.

Carnegie "Doctoral University: Highest Research Activity"


Communication doctorates conferred between 2010-16: 10


Concentrations/Research Emphases 

  • Cross-Cultural Communication, Ethnography, & Fieldwork
  • Interaction Design
  • Multimodal and Embodied Reading and Viewing
  • Rhetoric
  • Social & Cross-Platform Media
  • Television & Film Studies


NRC Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs  

  • #50 of 83 programs in Research Output
  • #36 of 83 programs in Diversity

Allen, et al., 2012 

  • #40 of 60 programs by Number of Citations

Admission Requirements 

  • None Identified

Graduate Faculty 

  • Professor Audrey Bennett, M.F.A., Yale University School of Art
  • Professor June Deery, Ph.D., Oxford University
  • Associate Professor Ellen Esrock, Ph.D., New York University
  • Associate Professor Tamar Gordon, Ph.D., University of California
  • Professor Ekaterina Haskins, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Professor Miles Kimball, Ph.D., University of Kentucky
  • Professor Patricia Search, M.A., Goddard College
  • Professor Merrill Whitburn, Ph.D., University of Iowa 
  • Professor James P. Zappen, Ph.D., University of Missouri
  • Assistant Professor Yalun (Helen) Zhou, Ph.D., University of Missouri--Kansas City

NCA Awards Received by Faculty and Students, 2000-present 

  • Wallace Memorial Award, 2007
Research Specialties : 
Communication & Technology, Intercultural-International Communication, Mass Communication-Media Studies, New Media-Social Media, Rhetorical Studies