Fall 2019 Application Deadlines

US applicants: Jan. 15
International applicants: Dec. 1

In the online application, select Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design (APRD) as the department, Media Research & Practice as the degree, and Strategic Communication as the subplan/track.

How to Apply


The PhD in Strategic Communication offered by the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design is one of three separate and distinct tracks of the Media Research and Practice doctoral program within the College of Media, Communication and Information.

A PhD in Strategic Communication is a distinct track that is designed to provide students with rigorous training in theory and research. Students gain an understanding through coursework that explores theories and methods that shape strategic communication research. This program emphasizes how theory informs practice, critically analyzing how advertising and public relations operate in ways that can—or could—constructively contribute to the successful, ethical and resilient functioning of society.

The strategic communication and journalism studies tracks for the PhD are administered together by the departments of Advertising, Public Relations and Design and Journalism. Students in both tracks are taught by and have access to the faculties of both departments. The curriculum includes an overview of mass/public communication literature with specific modules and courses dedicated to advertising, journalism and public relations. Classes also focus on areas that straddle each industry such as social media, political communication, ethics, media organizations, health communication and video games. We welcome and appreciate both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. Graduates pursue teaching and research positions at universities as well as work in the private sector.

Why enroll?

  • One of the few doctoral programs offered in an advertising and public relations department
  • Study with award-winning researchers and teachers who are committed to assisting students achieve mastery of their work and chart a successful post-doctoral career
  • Faculty who have conducted research in an array of specialties (see list below)
  • Design a personally-designed plan of study to suit your interests
  • Collaborate with faculty and fellow graduate students on research projects
  • Study within a supportive environment, with the opportunity to teach courses relevant to your area of interest

Research interests of faculty teaching in the program