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Doctoral Degree in Communication

About the Program

Typically 70 students are enrolled in the graduate program at any one time (30 Master's and 40 Doctoral). This provides a program large enough to have a variety of communication interests but small enough to have individual attention (with a 1-to-3 ratio of faculty to graduate students and an average seminar size of 10 to 15 students).

The Ph.D. program features culture and communication applied to three areas of concentration: inter/cultural communication, culture and health communication, and culture and media. The doctoral program is designed to prepare individuals for university teaching/research positions or positions in the private/public sector that require the ability to conduct research in applied contexts.

The Ph.D. Program in Communication requires 36 hours of course work beyond a Master's Degree, plus 18 credit hours for the dissertation.  Additionally, 12 credits from M.A. programs/other doctoral programs may be transferred to meet UNM requirements.

Areas of Concentration

You will work closely with faculty advisers to design a program of study suitable to your interests and goals. While completing core courses in communication theory and research methodology, you will concentrate your study in one or two of the following areas:

Intercultural Communication:The role of culture and cultural difference in discourse and interaction
Culture and Mass Communication: The structure, practice, social impact, and criticism of the mass media
Culture and Health Communication: The communication processes associated with improving health outcomes


Dear Prospective Doctoral Student:

Thank you for your interest in the Ph.D. Program in Communication at the University of New Mexico. I'd like to take a moment to describe why you should consider the University of New Mexico's doctoral program in Communication.

First, the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of New Mexico enjoys a national reputation for providing a high quality program leading to the doctoral degree.

Second, the doctoral program has a distinctive mission and focus unlike any other program in the U.S. Our mission is to promote the study of communication, culture, and change. The curriculum and research programs of our faculty address culture broadly as pertaining not only to social/psychological orientations held by particular groups, but also emergent identities, as well as transforming discursive practices and norms, locations of speaking/acting/producing, environmental perceptions and practices, organizational systems, institutional structures, and artistic and mediated forms. Within the department, the Institute of Communication, Culture, and Change aims to engage faculty and student research with communities to address local and international social and environmental justice issues.

Third, the Ph.D. Program offers three areas of emphasis: inter/cultural communication, culture and health communication, and culture and media. The program is designed to prepare individuals for university teaching and research positions, though some of our graduates desire to go into the public sector and find excellent positions in their fields. We encourage and engage a breadth of theoretical and methodological orientations to the study of communication. We offer ample courses each term in the department and encourage students to take courses and get engaged beyond the department, as well. Various campus research centers and programs provide opportunities for collaboration, such as the Latin American & Iberian Institute, the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute, the Institute for American Indian Research, Women Studies, Africana Studies, and Sustainability Studies.

Fourth, we have outstanding faculty whose work is internationally recognized. The faculty ranks among the top schools in communication in research and creative publications and has contacts with research institutions in many countries, including South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, England, Ireland, Palestine, Israel, Japan, India, China, and Taiwan.

Fifth, our faculty is not only collegial but also collaborative. Doctoral students have ample opportunities to work with the faculty on research projects to gain valuable experience. Additionally, the faculty is oriented toward working with you to design a program of studies to meet your needs. We are committed to excellence in teaching and mentoring of graduate students, and to fostering a sense of social community. Likewise, our graduate students from around the country and world are known for building a sense of intercultural community that is evident in their collaborative relationships, their abilities to engage difference, their creation of structures of support, and their production of excellent work.

Sixth, we provide different forms of financial assistance. Most doctoral students admitted to the program are offered an assistantship that includes a stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance. We have teaching assistantships and some research assistantships available each year. Our teaching assistantship includes the opportunity to individually teach two classes per semester, which include a variety of classes and an undergraduate student body who bring a diversity of cultural experiences to the classroom. The department is consistently rated as a student favorite across campus.

Seventh,  our graduates get jobs. Over the past several years, Ph.D. graduates have accepted positions at institutions of higher education, ranging from small colleges to research one universities, including California State Universities, Dartmouth College, Clemson, Montana State, Florida State, and the Universities of Arkansas, Denver, Hawaii, San Francisco, Portland, North Carolina, Illinois, and Texas, to name a few. Our graduates obtain employment in their chosen areas, including those who choose to do important work in the public sector and not in academia.

Eighth,  the length of the program allows for efficient completion. For a full-time student with a background in communication, the program may be completed in three to four years. Course work may be completed in two years plus a summer, with a year or more for dissertation research and writing.

Ninth, the University of New Mexico lies in the heart of Albuquerque, a high desert city with a multicultural population of 700,000. The city is bordered by the Sandia Mountains and dormant volcanos, spans the Rio Grande, and enjoys more than 340 days of sunshine per year. Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, a multicultural state (one of only two states in the U.S. with ethnic pluralities – Hawaii is the other) that offers a grounded opportunity to study culture, communication, and change. The locale also is an environment of unique beauty with mild winters that support snow sports in the mountains, miles of recreational trails in the city, wild nature within minutes, breathtaking open spaces and vistas, and beautiful sunsets, not to mention excellent local and international cuisine. The Communication & Journalism Department sits on historic Route 66.

To answer questions you may have, please look through our Graduate Student Handbook and Graduate Program Brochure located to the left of this greeting and explore our web site. If you have further questions, please send an e-mail to Dr. Myra Washington.

Please be aware that our deadline is January 15 for fall admission.

Thank you again for your interest in our program.

Dr. Myra Washington, Director of the PhD program

P.S. If you are in the area, please come for a visit. We'd love to show you around and have you meet the faculty and graduate students.

Advisement and Program Information

Ph.D. Program Contacts:

Dr. Myra Washington, Ph.D. Program Director

Application Procedures Page.