Communication (PhD)

You will acquire the leading-edge theory and research methodologies you need to shape a more ethical and just world. 

Whether you seek a career in academia, the industry, or governmental and non-governmental organizations, you will become a critical educator and researcher of communication through rigorous coursework, independent and collaborative research projects, and teaching opportunities.

You will work side by side with your peers and our distinguished faculty to advance knowledge in the field while creating interdisciplinary solutions to complex societal and organizational problems. At the same time, you will build a professional network of worldwide and lifelong connections with fellow scholars and practitioners.

USC Annenberg’s location at the heart of a top-tier research university and in the dynamic city of Los Angeles provides you with the ideal setting to explore ways to inventively fuse your scholarship and expertise in communication studies with disciplines such as political science, international relations, sociology and information sciences as well as gender, media and popular culture studies.

By the numbers

#1
school for studying communication and media in the U.S.In 2021, QS World University Rankings named USC Annenberg among the foremost schools for studying communication and media in the world.
In 2021, QS World University Rankings named USC Annenberg among the foremost schools for studying communication and media in the world.
15
doctoral candidates in our 2021 cohortOur small cohorts create an intimate group of contemporary researchers with whom to study.
Our small cohorts create an intimate group of contemporary researchers with whom to study.
40% %
of students are internationalAbout half of our 2021 PhD cohort is comprised of international students.
About half of our 2021 PhD cohort is comprised of international students.
1
completely graduate-run conference per yearOur graduate student conference allows PhD students to present research and get feedback from other cultural studies-minded students and faculty from across research areas.
Our graduate student conference allows PhD students to present research and get feedback from other cultural studies-minded students and faculty from across research areas.

Student and faculty work

Media and culture in Black social movements

Director of Doctoral Studies Taj Frazier explores the arts, political and expressive cultures of the people of the African Diaspora in the United States and elsewhere.

Understanding narcoculture in Mexico and the U.S.

Professor of Communication Hector Amaya explores how drug violence in Mexico has captured our maginations and led to new forms of participation in public culture.

Using narratives to convey health information

Sheila Murphy, professor of communication, created a study to test ways to motivate women to get screening for cervical cancer.

Popular music as path to study equality and equity

Communication (PhD) student Perry Johnson studies the intersection of popular music with issues of diversity, representation and equity.

Connecting Skid Row

PhD professors François Bar and Gabriel Kahn seek to build a better Los Angeles by bringing digital inclusion to the Skid Row population.

Identity and representation in women’s sports

Courtney Cox, a PhD candidate, researches how global frameworks offer us new ways to think about how the exchange of culture, economy and politics operates within this sphere.

Work on groundbreaking research with expert faculty

As innovations in information and communication technologies continue at a rapid pace, USC Annenberg remains at the forefront of efforts to explore these social, cultural, rhetorical and organizational processes. You will work and collaborate with fellow doctoral students, our world-class faculty, and industry and public/private sector professionals to advance research and insights across a wide range of interdisciplinary areas of study. You will also have the opportunity to lead research endeavors that impact scholarship and practice across the contemporary communications landscape.

Explore our research centers. View the areas of study available to our PhD students.

Get to know your fellow students

The communication doctorate program enrolls students from diverse backgrounds, nationalities and educational experiences. Connect with fellow students by viewing their profiles and get to know USC Annenberg through their eyes.