Doctor of Philosophy in Communication

Total Graduate Faculty in Program:
Graduate Students in Program:
Students Receiving Assistantships:
Priority Deadlines:

  • Fall November 1 Priority
  • Fall January 10 Final


  • Pullman

International Student English Proficiency Exams

International students may need to surpass the Graduate School’s minimum English language proficiency exam scores for this program. If the graduate program has unique score requirements, they will be detailed below. Otherwise, please refer to the Graduate School’s minimum score guidelines.

  • 600 TOEFL Paper-based score
  • 250 TOEFL Computer-based score
  • 93 TOEFL Internet-based score

Degree Description:

The doctoral program in Communication provides world class curriculum, faculty, and facilities to prepare students as scholars and educators. In our doctoral program, you will work with diverse faculty who study health communication, intercultural and international communication, media processes and effects, media and society, and organizational communication.

Our program centers on:

*Media, Society and Politics focuses on the role that communication plays in political institutions and in creating robust civic engagement. We examine political communication from multiple perspectives and examine the interplay of emerging technology, media, and communication with information seeking, processing, and decision making. Our research focuses on both individual-and societal-level outcomes. Faculty and graduate students work in teams to test and develop theory related to political communication.

*Media & Health Promotion focuses on media messages and health behavior. This includes social level analysis of mainstream and alternative media as products of and influences on the health of individuals and society; individual level analysis of psychological processes through which health related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors are shaped; and the creation of messages related to health and social well being, as well as how strategic message campaigns can influence decision making and social development.

*Science Communication focuses on enhancing the relevance and accessibility of scientific information and local context needed for collaborative and sustainable resource management, especially among local populations most at-risk. The program focuses on environmental communication, natural or technological hazards and the use or communication of public policy. Faculty and students specialize in science education, communication campaigns, communicating risks, risk perception analysis, spatial modeling of vulnerability and adaptive capacity of human populations, audience segmentation, media analysis and public engagement.

Admission Requirements:

In addition to the Graduate School application, you should send, or have sent on your behalf, the following:

  1. Personal Statement. A Personal Statement of no more than 1,000 words explaining your academic area of interest and why you feel The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University is a good fit for you. In your statement, please discuss the personal, professional and academic factors that have prepared you to pursue a doctoral degree.
  2. Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  3. Reference Letters. Three reference letters from people who know you well, and who can comment on your academic ability. Please have these individuals complete the WSU reference form accessed through the Graduate School Application web page.
  4. Transcripts. One set of unofficial transcripts for each college or university you have attended. If admitted, the Graduate School will require official transcripts. Official transcripts must be sent directly from those institutions to the Graduate School. If you are currently attending Washington State University, you do not need to have your transcripts sent.
  5. Supplemental material. Submit any additional material that you feel might enhance your application. Writing samples, published works, abstracts, etc. are particularly encouraged and can be emailed to

Although criteria for admission are stringent, they are not rigid. The College of Communication considers all available information before making a decision. In some cases, exceptional credentials in one area may override sub-par credentials in another.

Career Opportunities:

Graduates of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication graduate program are prepared for careers in teaching, research, and public service. Potential employers of program graduates include colleges and universities, private industry, and governmental agencies.

Career Placements:

Graduates have held tenure-track positions at such U.S. institutions as Kent State University, Oregon State University, Rutgers University, Texas Tech University, the University of Arizona, the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri, and Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as positions at international institutions including HEC Montréal, Jinan University, Peking University, and Qingdao University. In addition, graduates have held positions in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including for the Carnegie Foundation, Orange County Probation Department, and the U.S. Army.

Contact Information: