Communication, Ph.D.

Doctoral Program

About the Program

Exceptional, Interdisciplinary, Engaged.

The doctoral program in the School of Communication at the University of Miami prepares you for a career in higher education, non-profit and industry. We offer interdisciplinary education and research experiences in the following areas:

  • Communication and technology

  • Health communication

  • Environmental communication

  • Intercultural communication

  • Global communication

  • Communication and social change

  • Organizational communication

  • Strategic Communication

  • Journalism Studies

  • Media Studies

You will develop a thorough understanding of communication theories, methods, and research, while gaining experience teaching in a university setting. This four-year degree provides a broad foundation while giving you the opportunity to customize your studies, supported by close faculty mentoring.

For students motivated to better understand and address today’s most urgent global and social concerns, UM’s School of Communication is ideal. The School combines academic excellence with contemporary relevance and global impact. You will work with a diverse faculty who are advancing scholarship in a wide array of specializations.

The School’s Center for Communication, Culture, and Change is your research hub. The Center’s projects are geared to discovering communication’s contribution to accelerated, but sustainable, participatory change. Interdisciplinary research and collaboration are hallmarks of the Center, which affords many opportunities for faculty and students to work together.

Doctoral students have the opportunity to participate in the Distinguished Fellowship in Global Communication, conducting supported research that showcases a global social justice focus, as well as the Distinguished Fellowship in Communication for Global Health and Sustainable Development, which also affords support.
Students work with faculty on research funded through grants by the American Cancer Society, NOAA, Arthur W. Page Society, Magic Leap, and Knight Foundation.

Within the School, you have access to the ongoing research in and practice of extended reality, artificial intelligence, data visualization, interaction design and user experience. Therefore, you have the ability to work in tandem with leading designers and researchers in emergent media.

With our distinctive Ph.D. program, you will place your studies within an international context while living in the global city of Miami, with connected campuses and programs around the world.

School of Communication doctoral students have recently participated in the following funded projects and initiatives:

  • Climate adaptation strategies in low-resource communities

  • Cancer prevention and cancer screening

  • Social impact game design and evaluation

  • Evaluation of the impact that parks and green spaces have on health in under-resourced communities

  • Clinical trial communication with African American and Black Caribbean patients

  • Sexual and reproductive health among indigenous women in Guatemala

  • Development of XR, VR, and mobile applications for health and social change

  • User experience evaluation of apps and web-based health interventions

Student Testimonials:

“I love the University of Miami because of the strong mentorship provided by faculty, the opportunity to engage in extensive health communication research and, of course, the ability to gain meaningful practical experiences in the multicultural city of Miami.”  — Kinza Shah

“I choose this program because the University of Miami is diverse. Here I can choose the direction I am interested in for in-depth research on public relations, social media, and strategy consulting. The professors are friendly and willing to help me with my research.”  — Millie Liu

“I came into the doctoral program with an M.F.A., with a desire to take my foundation in filmmaking in a scholarly direction. This Ph.D. program allowed me to connect all of my interests, including environmental communication, theories of virtual reality, and media studies. I am grateful that I had very supportive professors from the very beginning all the way through to the dissertation phase.” — Katlyn Aviles


Christina Lane

Graduate Advisor
(305) 284-5236



Aurora Occa

Class of 2018 | Ph.D. Program

Assistant Professor

Originally from Ceriano Laghetto, a small town just outside of Milan, Italy, Aurora Occa has certainly traveled and accomplished plenty throughout her collegiate career. Aside from the School of Communication’s top-notch Ph.D. program and varied resources, Occa fell in love with the school’s culture…


Zifei “Fay” Chen

Class of 2017 | Ph.D. Program

Assistant Professor

Graduating from the University of Miami School of Communication in 2017, Zifei “Fay” Chen earned her Ph.D. in Communication with a focus on public relations. Originally from Hangzhou, China, Fay is working as an assistant professor of public relations and strategic communication…


Marcus Messner

Class of 2009 | Ph.D. Program

Associate Professor

Marcus Messner received his Ph.D. in Communication (2009) and M.A. in Print Journalism (1999) from the University of Miami. Before earning his degrees, Messner worked as a journalist covering politics in both the U.S. and his native Germany. While working on his doctorate,…


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