Cornell University’s PhD Degree Program in Communication

Our program trains and mentors the next generation of Communication scholars and leaders. We embody diverse and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding how communication shapes and is shaped by our society. Our students work closely with top faculty on cutting-edge research, take courses with leading scholars across campus, and engage in a diverse community of innovators and publicly engaged researchers.

Recent PhD placements

  • University of Michigan
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Penn State University
  • Wilson Center Serious Games Initiative
  • Bayer HealthCare
  • Microsoft
  • Airbnb

Why Cornell?

  • Top-5 rated Communication PhD program
  • Interdisciplinary faculty on the cutting-edge of communication
  • Multiple campus-wide centers and initiatives for the social sciences
  • Public-oriented mission of a land-grant university

Cornell University was founded as a place where "any person can find instruction in any study."

The Graduate Field of Communication embodies that legacy through persistent and proactive efforts to welcome and respect diverse perspectives and backgrounds so that our entire community can flourish. We strive for a culture that emboldens and empowers all, particularly those whose voices have historically been excluded or marginalized.

We offer all admitted students a competitive financial support package that includes full tuition, health insurance, and a generous stipend for five years. Our median time to degree is five years, though many students complete their PhD in as few as four years. Our program is only offered in residence (no online option).

We are developing the next generation of communication scholars.

Drawing from the resources of outstanding scholars in the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities at Cornell University, our students find new ways to investigate how communication shapes and is shaped by our society and cognition.

Students, all of whom are financially supported, work closely with top faculty on cutting-edge research, take courses with world-class scholars in the field and across campus, and participate in a diverse community of innovators and ideas. Our graduates have gone on to faculty positions at top universities and jobs at the forefront of industry research.

As reflected in our research areas, we approach communication as a broad and fundamentally social phenomenon. Our PhD students have significant flexibility in crafting a graduate experience that suits their needs and interests. Our doctoral program is based on three core tenets of graduate education:


Research, coursework and teaching are hallmarks of graduate education, and we offer exceptional opportunities for students to engage in all three. Courses give a deep understanding of methods and theories that serve as the foundation for launching meaningful research projects and teaching fellow students in the classroom.


Research is a profession, and navigating any profession requires a particular set of skills. We help our students understand how to be professional researchers, whether their interests take them to academia or industry. Students learn how to get work published, seek grant funding, search for (and land) jobs, and more.


Every researcher has an ethical obligation to behave honestly, treat participants fairly and contribute to society. We take this responsibility seriously, and our program produces well-rounded graduates who are well-equipped to be top scholars in their fields.

Director of Graduate Studies & Graduate Program Coordinator

For more information, contact our staff.

Headshot of Brooke Erin Duffy
Brooke Duffy

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Communication

Brooke Duffy
  • bduffy [at]
a woman in a pink sweater with sheep on it
Joanna Alario

Graduate Field Administrator

Department of Communication

Joanna Alario
  • jca36 [at]

Contact Us

450 Mann Library Building
phone: (607) 254-6278
email: communication [at] (communication[at]cornell[dot]edu)
We are located on the 4th floor of Mann Library, accessible only by the stairs/elevators within the library, which are just past the circulation desk.

Department Hours:
Monday - Thursday, 8am to 4:30pm
Friday, 8am to 3:30pm