NCA's Doctoral Program Guide

University of Central Florida, Nicholson School of Communication and Media

The Ph.D. Program in Strategic Communuication at the University of Central Florida offers advanced instruction in health communication, instructional emergency risk communication, and crisis communication; it prepares students with the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue a successful, advanced career in communication and related fields in both academic and applied settings.

Carnegie "Doctoral University: Very High Research Activity"



Areas of Study

  • Crisis and Risk Communication
  • Health Communication
  • Instructional Communication
  • Public Relations


URAP University Rankings—Language, Communication & Culture 

  • #260 of 300 World Universities

Admission Requirements 

  • Applicants must have an earned master’s degree or its equivalent in Communication or a related field (e.g., public relations, emergency management). Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for all graduate work and must also have a cumulative 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate degree.
  • A competitive score, with the range to be reviewed on regular basis, on each of the quantitative and verbal sections of the Graduate Record Examination (taken within five years prior to application to the program).
  • Three letters of reference that evaluate the applicant’s academic performance, suitability, and potential for undertaking doctoral study, at least one of which must be written by a faculty member at the institution where the master’s degree was earned, preferably the thesis advisor or program director.
  • A personal statement outlining the applicant’s academic and professional experience, the applicant’s professional and research goals, and a statement indicating a preference for working with a particular faculty member(s).
  • A writing sample of the applicant’s work (at least 2500 words in length) demonstrating the ability to complete graduate-level research, preferably a portion of the student’s M.A. thesis.
  • A CV or Resume.
  • International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they hold a degree from a U.S. accredited institution. The TOEFL is strongly preferred. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 90 on the Internet-based test (IBT) and must take the speaking portion of the TOEFL and score a 26 or higher, 232 on the computer based test, or 575 on the paper-based test. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0.

Graduate Faculty 

  • Associate Professor Rufus Barfield, Ph.D., Howard University
  • Associate Professor Tim Brown, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
  • Associate Professor Steve Collins, Ph.D., Syracuse University
  • Associate Professor Melissa Dodd, Ph.D., University of Miami
  • Lecturer Regina Francies, Ph.D., University of Kentucky
  • Associate Lecturer Christine Hanlon, Ph.D., University of Florida
  • Associate Professor Sally Hastings, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts
  • Professor Daniel Holsenbeck, Ph.D., Florida State University
  • Assistant Professor Jihyun Kim, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
  • Lecturer Renata Kolodziej-Smith, Ph.D., Wayne State University
  • Professor Robert Littlefield, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • Associate Professor Jonathan Matusitz, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
  • Lecturer Jim McCafferty, Ph.D., University of Texas
  • Professor Ann Miller, Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • Associate Professor George Musambira, Ph.D., University of Buffalo
  • Associate Professor Lindsay Neuberger, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Lecturer Adam Parrish, Ph.D., University of Kentucky
  • Associate Professor Jennifer Sandoval, Ph.D., University of New Mexico
  • Lecturer Andrea Scott, Ph.D., Louisiana State University
  • Professor Deanna Sellnow, Ph.D., University of North Dakota
  • Professor Timothy Sellnow, Ph.D., Wayne State University
  • Associate Professor Patric Spence, Ph.D., Wayne State University
  • Professor Kimberly Voss, Ph.D., University of Maryland
  • Professor Harry Weger, Ph.D., University of Arizona
  • Associate Professor Nan Yu, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University