The primary mission of the Doctor of Philosophy in COMS is to train students in the process of conducting original research in human communication. With few exceptions, our PhD graduates pursue careers doing research and teaching in higher education.
Graduate students are expected to work within one of the department’s two main research areas:
- Relationships & Social Interaction: Faculty in this area study interpersonal, intercultural, and organizational communication using quantitative and qualitative methods. Theories of relationships (e.g., family, romantic, friend, professional) and social identities (e.g., cultural, race, social class, age, gender) guide their research.
- Rhetoric & Political Communication: Faculty in this area focus on rhetorical and argumentation studies, and both quantitative and humanistic approaches to political communication. Their work engages, among other things, issues related to democratic inclusion, digital media, political institutions, and public memory, with particular concern for matters related to gender, race, nationality, and other cultural indices.
While there are many fine graduate programs in the nation, there are several ways in which the KU program excels. KU provides the intellectual room and support for graduate students to build innovative programs that may bridge different areas of the discipline. The culture of openness to ideas led our faculty to be among the first in to develop courses and research focused on organizational rhetoric.
The department is student-friendly and works hard to encourage graduate student teaching and research. Surveys of graduate student satisfaction place the department at the very top of the discipline.
KU is situated in Lawrence, Kansas, and is a vibrant college town. The state's flagship university has many resources for academic and financial support. Lawrence has an active arts community, and there are many opportunities for cultural engagement, health & wellness activities, and professional development. Feel free to check out KU's comprehensive Guide to Graduate School.
Dr. Yan Bing Zhang
Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
The University of Kansas, Department of Communication Studies
Bailey Hall, 1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 101
Lawrence, KS 66045-7574
Graduate Program Coordinator
The Graduate Handbook for the Communication Studies program is the most comprehensive and authoritative document for all matters regarding the program. While we strive to maintain the website as accurately as possible, students and potential students should ultimately rely ONLY on the graduate handbook as the authority on questions regarding the program.