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Graduate Program in Communication, Culture and Media Studies

Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies

Focusing on areas of importance in an emerging digital and multicultural world, the doctoral program in Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS) is designed to train scholars and academic leaders to contribute to the interdisciplinary scholarship of communication with a particular emphasis in multicultural and mediated communication.

Offering core competencies in research strategies (qualitative, quantitative, and critical), theory and methodology, the doctor of philosophy program seeks to prepare students in the scholarly fields of communications. This interdisciplinary field incorporates concerns about culture, technology, policy, ownership, gender and racial equality, national development, persuasion, marketing, journalism, health and related issues. In an effort to fulfill the university’s mission, the graduate curriculum emphasizes multiculturalism, global issues and social justice concerns.


Communication, Culture and Media Studies at Howard University

The program has three areas of emphasis:  Strategic Communication, Communication Technology and Policy, and Media Studies.

Students are admitted to the program in fall semesters only.  Application for admission is through the Graduate School (www.gs.howard.edu).
Deadline for application is January 15.


A limited number of teaching assistantships are available to cover tuition and provide a stipend. Once students have been admitted to the graduate program in CCMS, they are invited to apply for these department-based assistantships. Applicants are also encouraged to apply for Graduate School funding (www.gs.howard.edu).


Contacts:  Dr. Carolyn M. Byerly, chair: (202) 806.5121; cbyerly@howard.edu; Kyieda Rogers Gamble, administrative assistant: (202) 806-4426; krogers@howard.edu                       



Admission Requirements

A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is preferred, and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in major course work is required. Each graduate department may have additional “special admission requirements” which are noted on this page.

  • Completed on-line application and signature page
  • The non-refundable $45 application fee (Waivers accepted for FAMU Feeder Program and McNair Scholars)
  • Official transcripts must be submitted directly from the Registrar’s Office from ALL colleges and universities attended
  • GRE Scores (Only official score reports are accepted within 5 years of the test date) www.gre.org
  • Statement of Academic and Research Interest
  • Autobiographical Sketch (Personal biography)
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation Word

For International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above you must meet the following:

  • Official transcripts, certificates and/or mark/grade sheets must be sent directly from the college or university to the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions, and must show proof of degree(s) earned, courses taken and marks/grades received. Also, ALL transcripts must be evaluated by World Education Services (www.wes.org) or AACRAO (www.aacrao.org) and be forwarded to Graduate Recruitment and Admissions.
  • TOEFL Scores (Minimum computer-based score of 213 is required and only official score reports are accepted within 2 years of the test date) www.t




Program Requirements

Doctoral Curriculum – effective Fall 2013

Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS)

Required Core (all courses 3 credits)                                          Credit: 18 cr.
CCMS 611   African-American Issues in Communication
CCMS 700   Professional Seminar in Communication Studies
CCMS 701   Quantitative Research Methodology
CCMS 702   Qualitative Research Methodology
CCMS 703   Critical Studies Research Methodology (new)
CCMS 750   Communication Theory & Research Foundations


Research or Language Tool                                                         Credit:  6 cr.
Language courses in the student’s non-native language that have demonstrated applicability to his or her research program may be credited if at the advanced level
or at the level of literature as certified by the graduate language studies department.

Or – student may choose two additional methods courses that have demonstrable impact on the student’s proposed area of research (i.e. Oral History, Historiography, Qualitative-Interpretative Analysis)


Seminars/Electives                                                                        Credit: 15 cr.
Students will develop a Program of Study that represents a particular focus selected from graduate courses across the University that are designed to complement and enhance the student’s research agenda.


Cognate                                                                                             Credit:  6-9 cr.
Two or three courses in another field of the student’s interest (6-9 credits); may also come from graduate level courses offered at Consortium universities.

Required Dissertation Hours                                                      Credit: 12 cr.


The Graduate School requires a minimum of 72 credits for the Ph.D. (including the dissertation).


Courses will continue to be developed to address the ever-changing needs of the professoriate. The current master’s level courses will remain in the University catalog. While some courses remain, other courses have been added that feature a more media-centric, and culturally focused curriculum that changes as technological advances affect communications research and careers. 





Personal Potential Index (PPI)

The PPI measurement is designed to evaluate a prospective student’s potential for graduate study based on six (6) non-cognitive characteristics. The PPI allows applicants the opportunity to provide an enhanced range of attributes often valued as indications of success in graduate school. The applicant may select three (3) faculty recommenders to submit PPI evaluations for review by the prospective program.

If you are currently registered with the ETS for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), you may designate the three (3) PPI evaluations at no additional cost. To submit the PPI reports to the Graduate School at Howard University, visit the ETS website at


The programs that are reviewing ETS/PPI evaluations as part of the admissions review are listed below:

African Studies
Communication, Culture and Media Studies
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Genetics and Human Genetics
Mechanical Engineering
Pharmaceutical Science

For more information, please call 202.806.4676.


Course Descriptions

Communication, Culture & Media Studies (CCMS)

700.  ProSeminar in Communication Theory and Research. 3 crs. Descriptive and critical overview of the field of communication and its major theoretical and methodological research approaches. Emphasis on the relation between communication theory and communication methodology, including the philosophical foundations, concepts and analytical perspectives that define these relations. Prereq.: CCMS 591 or equivalent/departmental permission.


CCMS 701.  Quantitative Research Methodology. 3 crs. Quantitative research methods and design in communication. Includes the use of statistics in experiments, surveys, and content analysis.  Relationship between theory and research will be examined.  Assumes knowledge of intermediate statistics.


CCMS 702.  Qualitative Research Methodology. 3 crs. Qualitative research methods and design in communication.  Includes the treatment of historical-critical, interpretive, ethnographic, and textual data.  Relationship between theory and research will be examined.


CCMS 703. Critical Studies Research Methodology.  3 crs. Develops skills in conducting inquiry using social critique, political economy and other procedures associated with the critical research tradition, which has the goal of enabling social change. 


CCMS 706.  Field Research in Communication. 3 crs. Develops skill in researching, analyzing and solving a current issue/problem in communication research related to the student’s dissertation.  May involve fieldwork in the communications industry.


CCMS 707. Seminar in Gender Issues in Media Management and Ownership. 3 crs.

CCMS 710.  Seminar in Communication Theory. 3 crs. Review and critical analysis of major theories and theoretical perspectives in communication.  Metatheoretical issues will be examined. Prereq.: CCMS 510 or equivalent.


CCMS 712. Seminar in Social Media, Culture and Communication. 3 crs. Seminar explores the history, practices, tools, legal and ethical issues related to social media. Emphasis on students’ exploration of theories - public relations, communication and business - to help better understand and develop social media.


CCMS 713. Critical Discourse Analysis. 3 crs. Critical review and analysis of language and discourse dynamics as factors in power and the abuse of power. 3 crs.


CCMS 715. Seminar in Sport, Media and Culture. 3 crs. CCMS 715: Seminar in Sport, Media, and Culture (3 crs). This course focuses on sociology, human kinetics, and communication aspects of sport. It reviews theory and research pertaining to sport and media across the world.


CCMS 717.  Seminar in Media Psychology. 3 crs. This course may be cross listed with the Department of Psychology.


CCMS 718.  Seminar in Health Communication and Culture. 3 crs. Focus on the social, economic, and political factors influencing African, Latino, Asian, and Native Americans’ beliefs and attitudes related to health and illness.


CCMS 719.  Advanced Qualitative Communication Design and Analysis. 3 crs. Advanced qualitative-interpretive design and analysis for communication research. Prereq.: CCMS 702 or permission of instructor.


CCMS 720. Seminar in Media Entrepreneurship. 3 crs.


CCMS 721.  Seminar in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. 3 crs. Survey of theoretical and research literature in negotiation and conflict resolution. (Entrepreneurship)


CCMS 722.  Seminar in Political Communication and Public Opinion. 3 crs. Communication in the political process.  Emphasis on persuasive and propaganda devices used in political power and office seeking as well as the formulation and management of public policy.


CCMS 723.  Seminar in Strategic Communication Management. 3 crs. Introduces public relations and other public communication theories that aid in managing communication and responding to and counseling organizational management and marketing challenges. Explores the relationship between public relations, advertising, marketing communications and management of organizations.


CCMS 724.  Seminar in Communication Leadership and Diversity. 3 crs. This course examines communication leadership scholarship within a context of diversity that includes culture, gender, race, ethnic, as well as additional diversity indices.


CCMS 726.  Seminar in Intercultural Communication.  3 crs. Considers rules, meaning, uncertainty reduction, development communication, and comparative approaches to intercultural communication.  Examines methodological issues. Prereq.: COMC 727.


CCMS 728.  Seminar in Teaching Communication: Theory and Practice. 3 crs.


CCMS 729.  Seminar in Postmodernism and Critical Theory. 3 crs. This seminar will consider the philosophical underpinnings of critical theory and postmodernism.  Specifically, this course will examine the major assumptions, choices, tensions, issues, and concerns that characterize critical theory and postmodernism.  Students will be exposed to the ideas of philosophers such as Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Jurgen Habermas, jean Baudrillard, Frederic Jameson, and Jean-Francois Lyotard, among others.


CCMS 730.  Seminar in Health Communication. 3 crs. Focus on the social, economic and political factors influencing African, Latino, Asian, and Native Americans’ beliefs and attitudes related to health and illness.  Explores how topics such as folk illness, “personalismo”, face maintenance, home remedies and alternative medicine are related to health communication.


CCMS 750. Communication Theory and Research Foundations. 3 crs. Exploration of major scholars whose work defined the field.


CCMS 752.  Seminar in Mass Communication Effects. 3 crs. The significance and impact of mass communication in contemporary society; critical review of the models and paradigms of media influence and influence processes. 


CCMS 753.  Seminar in Mass Communication Policy and Administration. 3 crs. Governmental, legal, regulatory and administrative policies, rules and procedures as they pertain to mass communication and public policy-making. Prereq.: CCMS 553 or permission of instructor.


CCMS 754.  Seminar in Design and Analysis of Communication Research. 3 crs. Design and analysis applications in mass communication research. Emphasis on multivariate design and analysis. Prereq.: CCMS 701 and CCMS 702 or permission of instructor.


CCMS 755.  Seminar in Communication and Popular Culture.  3 crs.  Mass media as popular cultural institutions.  Emphasis on mass communication as a system of public language or symbols, its relationship to the information society and to changes in folk and elite culture genres.


CCMS 756.  Seminar in Mass Communication and Development.  3 crs.  Examination of the theories and applications of mass communications as a resource for social development.  Critical review of the communication and development literature.


CCMS 757.  Seminar in International Communication.  3 crs.  International interactions, information flows, and perceptions.  Emphasis on the role of the mass media and the factors affecting that role.


CCMS 758.  Seminar in Communication Technology.  3 crs.  Review of contemporary developments in the technology of communications and their impact on telecommunication, media and other communication systems.


CCMS 759.  Seminar in Internet and Society.  3 crs.  Places new communication technology into historical, cultural, and theoretical perspective.  Intended primarily to study the “people” side of electronic communication in general and the Internet in particular


CCMS 787.  Topical Seminar in Communication Studies.  3 crs.  Comprehensive study of the literature on selected topics of contemporary interest and importance in communication studies.  Prereq.: Consent of instructor.


CCMS 790, 791.  Independent Study (Doctoral).  3 crs. Each.  Independent program of study with readings of particular interest to the student.  Prereq.: Approval of study outline by selected instructor and department chair.


CCMS 792.  Independent Study (Doctoral). 1 cr. Independent program of study with readings of particular interest to the student. Prereq.: Approval of study outline by selected instructor and department chair.


CCMS 793. Readings in MCMS. 3 crs. Focus on preparing for comprehensive exam and/or for tailoring an in-depth reading/research agenda in conjunction with dissertation topic.


CCMS 794. Readings in MCMS. 1cr. Focus on preparing for comprehensive exam and/or for tailoring an in-depth reading/research agenda in conjunction with dissertation topic.


CCMS 795 through CCMS 798. Dissertation. 3 crs. Each. Supervised execution of the doctoral dissertation. Prereq.: Successful completion of doctoral qualifying examination and admission to candidacy.


CCMS 799.  Dissertation. 1 cr. Supervised execution of the doctoral dissertation, taken only as needed. Prereqs.: CCMS 795-798.



Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."

All credentials must be sent to:

Howard University Graduate School
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
4th and College Streets, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20059





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