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Drawing from the resources of outstanding scholars in the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities at Cornell University, our students find new ways to investigate how communication shapes and is shaped by our society and cognition. The graduate program in Communication is geared toward training and mentoring the next generation of Communication scholars. Students, all of whom are financially supported, have the opportunity to work closely with top faculty on cutting-edge research, take courses with world-class scholars in the Field and across campus, and actively participate in a diverse community of innovators and ideas. Our graduates have gone on to faculty positions at top universities and jobs at the forefront of industry research.

As reflected in our research areas, we approach communication as a broad and fundamentally social phenomenon. Our Ph.D. degree program reflects this approach by allowing students significant flexibility in crafting a graduate experience that suits their needs and interest. Each doctoral student at Cornell forms a Special Committee of four or more faculty members who share their research interests.  This committee helps the student determine the specific course and research requirements that are individualized for each student.

Cornell's Department of Communication is ranked among the top five in the nation by the National Research Council (NRC). This ranking reflects our strengths in the productivity and quality of our faculty, and the diversity and success of our students. Our doctoral program is based on three core tenets of graduate education:


The first things that often come to mind when thinking about graduate school are research, coursework, and teaching. We offer great opportunities for students to engage in all three. Participating in courses allows for a deep understanding of methods and theories that serves as the foundation for launching great research projects, and for understanding concepts that can be taught to fellow students in the classroom.

ProfessionalizationPoppy McLeod

While scholarship is important, it's not enough on its own. Research is also a profession, and navigating any profession requires a particular set of skills. We help our students understand how to be professional researchers; whether their interests take them to academia or industry. Students learn how to get work published, seek grant funding, search for (and get) jobs, and more.


Every researcher has an ethical obligation to behave honestly, treat participants fairly, and to contribute to society. We take this responsibility seriously and aim to ensure that our students do as well.

By focusing on these key points, our program produces well-rounded graduates who are well-equipped to be top scholars in their fields. Please take the time to learn more about our program, and direct any questions you may have to our Graduate Field Coordinator or Director of Graduate Studies.

Information about the Communication Ph.D. program