The Department of Communication offers a highly respected, top-rated graduate program that leads to the master of arts (MA) and doctor of philosophy (PhD) degrees, with areas of emphasis in Community & Social Interaction​Organizational Communication and Rhetoric and Culture. The graduate program is relatively small (approximately 50 students), with students receiving individualized attention that includes crafting personal programs of study within an area or that cut across areas. Teaching assistantships and other forms of financial support are readily available to graduate students.

Man speaking in classGraduate study within and across the department’s three areas focuses on engaged scholarship (research and teaching) that addresses communication-based issues and problems arising from recent social and technological changes, especially those associated with interaction, collaboration and participation, deliberation and decision making. Using both social-scientific and humanistic research methodologies, graduate students study a variety of social phenomena to develop communication-based theories to understand and to offer recommendations for engaging in situated practices to manage, complexities of human interaction. The diverse array of scholarship (research and teaching) conducted in the department is integrated by cross-cutting themes that include design and practice, culture and democracy, and community and justice. Running throughout the program is an exploration of new technologies and emergent forms of communication (e.g., social media), a critical/cultural studies approach and a commitment to educate students to become engaged citizens and social change agents.

The graduate faculty members in the department are among the most prestigious and prolific scholars in the communication discipline, with the National Research Council (NRC) awarding the department a top 20 ranking for research productivity. Faculty members’ research, teaching and service routinely receive the highest awards from communication associations—including the National Communication Association’s Distinguished Scholar Award and Gerald M. Phillips Lifetime Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship—and from the University of Colorado Boulder—including the Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award and the President’s Diversity Award. Faculty members have served as presidents of communication associations (e.g., Central States Communication Association, National Communication Association and Western States Communication Association), and as editors-in-chief, associate editors and editorial board members of leading communication and interdisciplinary journals. For more information about individual faculty members, see each graduate specialization area, as well as the People section of this website.

The department has a vibrant intellectual atmosphere for graduate study, with colloquia, research lunches, data sessions and other activities offered on a regular basis. There also is a very strong Communication graduate student association, with graduate student representatives serving on the department’s standing and ad hoc committees.

See the Graduate Program Handbook for more information.