NCA's Doctoral Program Guide

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Department of Communication

The Department of Communication at the University of Illinois is home to one of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished doctoral programs in communication. Our internationally recognized faculty members are engaged in cutting-edge research dealing with socially pressing problems. They also are creative and committed teachers who bring passion and enthusiasm to the classroom. Our department offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive environment.

Association of American Universities Member


Carnegie "Doctoral University: Very High Research Activity"


Communication doctorates conferred between 2010-19: 126


Areas of Study

  • Communication & Culture
  • Communication & Health
  • Communication & Organizations
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Mediated Communication & Technology
  • Rhetoric & Public Discourse


QS World University Rankings—Communication & Media Studies 

  • #27 of 200 World Universities (tie for #27)

URAP University Rankings—Language, Communication & Culture 

  • #21 of 300 World Universities

Admission Requirements

The Admissions Committee considers the complete record of the candidate in reaching a decision. The required minimum academic grade point average (for the final 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of undergraduate work) is 3.0 on a four-point scale; normally, those admitted have a grade point average above this minimum. GRE scores must be submitted, but there is no required minimum. Ideally, applicants to the M.A. program will have at least sixteen semester hours of undergraduate credit in communication, but this is not a prerequisite to admission; applicants to the Ph.D. program should have strong academic records in their master's programs.

The Admissions Committee considers candidates based on their overall promise for success in graduate study and beyond.

Graduate Faculty

  • Professor Scott Althaus, Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • Assistant Professor William C. Barley, Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • Associate Professor Cabral Bigman-Galimore, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • Assistant Professor Elizabeth Bigsby, Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • Professor John P. Caughlin, Ph.D., University of Texas
  • Associate Professor Josue David Cisneros, Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • Professor Travis L. Dixon, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara 
  • Professor Cara A. Finnegan, Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • Associate Professor Lisa Guntzviller, Ph.D., Purdue University
  • Professor Sally A. Jackson, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Professor C. Scott Jacobs, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Professor Leanne Knobloch, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
  • Professor Michéle E J Koven, Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • Professor John C. Lammers, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
  • Professor Robert W. McChesney, Ph.D., University of Washington 
  • Professor John M. Murphy, Ph.D., University of Kansas
  • Professor Ned O'Gorman, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
  • Professor Marshall Scott Poole, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
  • Professor Brian L. Quick, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
  • Professor Inger Lisbeth Stole, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
  • Professor David Tewksbury, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  • Assistant Professor Charee Thompson, Ph.D., University of Texas
  • Professor Barbara Jan Wilson, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
  • Assistant Professor JungHwan Yang, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

NCA Awards Received by Faculty and Students, 2000-present 

  • Diamond Anniversary Book Award, 2004
  • Golden Anniversary Monograph Award, 2004, 2005, 2012
  • Golden Outstanding Student Essay in Rhetoric Award, 2011, 2014
  • Lucas Debut Publication Award, 2014
  • Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2011
  • Winans-Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, 2016 
  • Woolbert Research Award, 2018