The Strategic Communication doctoral area focuses on persuasion, defined as the principles and practice of all communication designed to create a desired response from a given audience. It includes the theory and practice of public relations and advertising.
Faculty and students in this area focus on extending persuasion theory and on applying rigorous research to real-world problems and opportunities in a dynamic media landscape.
One key area of practice is Strategic Health and Science Communication. This uses evidence-based messaging to help policymakers, health professionals, and others reach target audiences to enhance understanding of science and to encourage better health behaviors and outcomes.
Other areas of study include audience research, social media, strategic conflict management, risk and crisis communication, internal communication, interactive advertising, government communication, globalization of markets, and changing media models.
You can engage with the 21 institutes located at the School, one of which is the Health Communication Research Center. Doctoral students have conducted formative and evaluative research for scores of HCRC clients since 2002.
You will study with strategic communication researchers who are rated among the top scholars in the world. They have published in top-tier journals and attracted over $50 million in grants and contracts over the past 10 years. Research and grants are often interdisciplinary and inter-university with top scholars in public health, medical and nursing schools and life sciences.
In your research you can explore a diversity of approaches and methodologies. Quantitative approaches include surveys, experiments, psychophysiology, and content analyses. Qualitative methods include critical and cultural studies, ethnography, interview, narrative analysis and discourse analysis.
You will have opportunities to build your research skills that can lead to co- and single-authored papers as a doctoral student, as well as gain teaching, research, publication, conference and other professional development experiences.
Let us know if you’d like to discuss how you could become a part of the next generation of thoughtful, innovative and engaged Strategic Communication scholars. You are welcome to explore your research interests with doctoral faculty who specialize in this area.