The Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara offers advanced study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. The department prides itself on a faculty of leading scholars all actively involved in communication research, teaching, and service. The graduate program at UCSB is designed to provide students with a theoretical understanding of the process of human communication. The department embraces a social science orientation to the field of communication. Faculty members use empirical methods to study important societal issues concerning human communication. The graduate curriculum provides students with essential preparation in theory construction, analysis, and research methodologies for conducting original scholarship in communication. 


Our graduate program is relatively small by design. We maintain approximately 35 graduate students. Thus, we are able to offer our students the luxury of small seminars, individualized programs, and extensive student-faculty contact. At the same time, the scope of the program is broad, encompassing an array of subspecialties in interpersonal communication, media communication, and organizational communication. Students in our graduate program are drawn from various parts of the U.S. as well as from other countries. Most have backgrounds in communication although we also admit students with degrees in other disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and linguistics.

Time Frame

The Ph.D. program is structured to be completed in approximately five years by students entering with no previous graduate work. The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is earned in the process, typically after two years in the program. Students with an M.A. from another university should be able to complete the Ph.D. degree in approximately four years (see Program Guidelines & Handbooks).


Those completing the Ph.D. at UCSB typically pursue teaching and research careers in academic settings, though some find employment in private or public research environments. Graduates of the doctoral program have obtained faculty positions at such distinguished institutions as Cornell University; University of Wisconsin, Madison; The Ohio State University; University of Arizona; Indiana University; University of Texas, Austin; San Diego State University; Samford University; University of San Diego; and University of Southern California. Please look through our Graduate Alumni Profiles.