Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Dual-Title Degree Programs

Dual-Title Degree Programs

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS) offers three dual-title degree programs for graduate students interested in pursuing interdisciplinary studies. Students enrolled in these programs will complete work in both Communication Arts and Science and another academic unit to earn the full degree.

Dual-title Ph.D. in CAS and Bioethics

Issues of ethical concern arise frequently regarding communication about scientific, technological, and medical pursuits. The Dual-Title Ph.D. in Communication Arts and Sciences and Bioethics—the only one of its kind in the United States—provides communication arts and sciences graduate students with the theoretical and applied knowledge necessary to address ethical issues within the field of health communication as well as to conduct original bioethics research and to produce bioethics-related scholarship.

Students earning the dual degree would have access to growing employment opportunities that require expertise in bioethics (e.g., in addition to the same job markets available to other communication arts and sciences graduates).

Admission Requirements

Students who have been admitted to the CAS Ph.D. program prepare a statement of purpose for why they wish to pursue the Dual-Title degree as part of their program planning process. The student’s doctoral committee will then consult with the student regarding the plan.

Doctoral Committee Composition

Students in the program are required to have an adviser from the Bioethics faculty. If the primary adviser in Communication Arts and Sciences is not a member of the Bioethics faculty, a second adviser from the Bioethics faculty will be required.

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Dual-title Ph.D. in CAS and African American and Diaspora Studies

The goal of the dual title partnership between CAS and AFAMD is to create a new pathway for graduate students to develop scholarly and professional expertise in the study of the communicative aspects of African American life and the African diaspora. This dual title will be important for graduate students who investigate how communication influences attitudes and behavior, relationship development and family dynamics, public life and public memory, democratic decision-making, social transformation and political/economic justice as these various areas intersect not only with communities of color but also the broader array of institutions, organizations, and policies that comprise distinct systems of human identity, racism, and the struggle for racial justice.

Students earning the dual degree would have access to growing employment opportunities that require expertise in African American studies (e.g., in addition to the same job markets available to other communication arts and sciences graduates).

Admission Requirements

Students who have been admitted to the CAS Ph.D. program prepare a statement of purpose for why they wish to pursue the Dual-Title degree as part of their program planning process. The student’s doctoral committee will then consult with the student regarding the plan. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in AFAMD prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Doctoral Committee Composition

Students in the program are required to have an adviser from the AFAMD faculty. If the primary adviser in Communication Arts and Sciences is not a member of the AFAMD faculty, a second adviser from the AFAMD faculty will be required.

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Dual-title Ph.D. in CAS and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The dual-title Ph.D. in CAS and WGSS will address all aspects of communication pertaining to gender, sexuality, and identity. Emphasizing the rich history of such communication, placing that history within appropriate theoretical frames, and focusing on its contemporary manifestations in politics and culture, this program will add to on-going conversations about citizenship, inclusion, and national identity.

Students earning the dual degree would have access to growing employment opportunities that require expertise in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies (e.g., in addition to the same job markets available to other communication arts and sciences graduates).

Admission Requirements

Students who have been admitted to the CAS Ph.D. program prepare a statement of purpose for why they wish to pursue the Dual-Title degree as part of their program planning process. The student’s doctoral committee will then consult with the student regarding the plan. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in WGSS prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Doctoral Committee Composition

Students in the program are required to have an adviser from the WGSS faculty. If the primary adviser in Communication Arts and Sciences is not a member of the WGSS faculty, a second adviser from the WGSS faculty will be required.

Learn More