Communication, Culture, & Media Studies (Ph.D.) Program Details

Degree Requirements   

    ❱   Required coursework
    ❱   Qualifying or comprehensive examination
    ❱   Graduate School writing proficiency requirement
    ❱   Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement
    ❱   Dissertation 
    ❱   Final oral examination/Dissertation defense

Research Specializations

    ❱   Health communication
    ❱   Media and cultural studies
    ❱   Technology, policy, and society

CCMS Course Descriptions

Research Areas & Interests

Faculty Research Interests

A sampling of research interests

  • Investigations of how social, commercial, and political institutions interface with new technology and shape properties of technological affordance
  • How technology end users, at individual, social and cultural levels, help to shape communication media
  • Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) policy related to social problems
  • Black resistance and resilience in the D.C. Native movement and its politics of representation
  • Critical examination of how Black people engage in media practices, including community media, social media, television, and Black press
  • Intersections of structures of race, spatiality, and media practices
  • Organization-level health and crisis communication practice
  • Traditional health communication practice that centers cultural perspectives and environmental context
  • Transnational and transcultural communications
  • Black popular music and culture and intersections between art and social change

Research Subfields

Health Communication

The Health Communication research track centers on examinations of mediated and interpersonal communication concerning health issues, particularly in communities of color.

Media and Cultural Studies

The Media and Cultural Studies research track is interdisciplinary, and research draws on quantitative, qualitative, and critical approaches and theories across disciplines, including sociology, history, politics, economics, and the humanities. In addition, this research track is concerned with issues of power in society, including how media enter power relations, convey political discourse, and shape international information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Technology, Policy, and Society

The Technology, Policy, and Society research track focuses on how information and communication technologies and their impacts shape the communicative power of different actors and social constituents. This area also applies social science theories and empirical research methodologies to analyze the social, political, and policy implications of varied forms of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Program of Study* 


CCMS 700 Pro Seminar

CCMS 701 Quantitative Methods

CCMS 702 Qualitative Methods

CCMS 703 Critical Methods

CCMS 705 African American Issues in Communication

CCMS 750 Communication Theory & Research Foundation


Health Communications Track

Sampling of courses

CCMS 709 Community & Public Health

CCMS 718 Health Communication & Culture

CCMS 726 Intercultural Communication

CCMS 727 Technology in Health Communication

Media and Cultural Studies Track

Sampling of courses

CCMS 708 Race, Culture, & Social Justice

CCMS 714 Communication & the Black Diaspora

CCMS 752 Mass Communication Effects

CCMS 755 Communication & Popular Culture

Technology, Policy, and Society Track

Sampling of courses

CCMS 759 Internet & Society

CCMS 731 Inequality in the Information Society

CCMS 722 Political Communication & Public Opinion

CCMS 753 Mass Communication Policy & Administration




*Courses included in the sample program of study are subject to change. Students should consult with their programs regarding their required program of study. 

Admission to Candidacy 

Students are admitted to formal candidacy by the Graduate School when they have completed the required coursework, passed the qualifying or comprehensive examination, submitted an approved topic for research, and been recommended by the Department. Candidates must also have satisfied the Graduate School writing proficiency requirement and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement.

Graduate Funding 

Admitted students may be eligible to compete for Graduate School competitive awards, which provide tuition remission and a stipend during the academic year. Additionally, graduate research or teaching assistantships may be available at the department level. Research assistants and teaching assistants work no more than 20 hours a week under the program's direction, usually in support of faculty research (research assistants) or in support of assigned courses (teaching assistants). Please see the Funding website for more detailed information.