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Prospective Students

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

Programs of study are developed by individual students in consultation with their graduate faculty committees. Although academic work in most areas of communication is available, there are no prescriptive programs of study in any particular area. Typically, each student chooses an academic adviser from the graduate faculty and, in consultation with that adviser, chooses additional faculty members from inside and outside the department to serve their graduate advisory committee. The student then proposes for acceptance by this committee the course work that will constitute the formal program of study. The program of courses may or may not be confined to one of the areas of emphasis listed below. In sum, each student nominates his or her own graduate faculty and develops his or her own curriculum. Individual programs of study represent one of the special features of graduate study in communication at Penn State. The Graduate Program offers top-ranked educational opportunities emphasizing Rhetorical Studies and Communication Sciences.

The Application Deadline for 2014 Admission is December 22, 2014.

Rhetorical Studies encompasses: rhetorical criticism, classical and contemporary rhetorical theory, history of public address, political rhetoric, campaigns and social movements, rhetoric of culture and media, rhetoric of film, rhetoric of reform, rhetoric of war and peace, rhetoric of literature, citizen rhetorics, rhetoric of technology, and the rhetoric of democratic deliberation.

Communication Sciences encompasses: Interpersonal Communication (e.g., Parent-Child Communication, Lifespan Communication, Family Communication Systems, At-Risk Behavior in Intimate Relationships, Dialectics of Disclosure and Avoidance, and Uncertainty and Information Management); and Health Communication (e.g., Social Influence, Health Campaigns, Doctor-Patient Communication, and Health Message Design).  The Department offers training in Small Group Communication and Decision Making.

Penn State Rankings (from a reputational survey conducted by the National Communication Association in 2004):
Health communication (tied for first)
Intercultural-international communication (ranked seventh)
Interpersonal-small group communication (ranked third – includes family communication)
Political communication (ranked tenth)
Rhetorical communication (ranked third)