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Graduate Degree Programs

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Interpersonal and Health Communication

The graduate program in Interpersonal & Health Communication provides students with a theoretical and methodological foundation in the study of verbal and nonverbal communication in contexts related to interpersonal interaction (including socio-cognitive, relational, influence, interracial, and mediated contexts) and health settings (including doctor-patient, campaign, intervention, and mediated contexts). Our faculty are committed to maintaining high standards in both undergraduate and graduate instruction and our alliances with the Institute of Behavioral Research and the Center for Health and Risk Communication allow for a focused study of interpersonal communication and health communication processes that are directly relevant to a variety of real world contexts.

Rhetorical Studies

The aim of the graduate program in Rhetorical Studies is to prepare students to conduct significant scholarly inquiry into the relation of rhetorical processes of popular, public, and political life. Students therefore are exposed to a variety of rhetorical and critical research methods and invited to explore the insights into rhetorical processes and practices - oral, written, visual, and mass-mediated - that have been advanced by a wide array of intellectual traditions and theoretical conversations. The program has particular strengths in 20th and 21st century rhetorical theory,  criticism, and public address, including but not limited to feminist, racial, and Marxist criticisms, continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, ancient rhetoric, and rhetorics of war and science.

The Faculty

The Department's faculty members are nationally recognized authorities in rhetorical studies, interpersonal communication, persuasion, and health communication. No matter the interest area, the faculty are active scholars and committed teachers who embrace a philosophy of accessibility and supportiveness to graduate students.

Faculty Awards and Recognition

Faculty Research and Teaching Interests:

Interpersonal and Health Communication:

Analisa Arroyo, Ph.D., University of Arizona. Interpersonal communication, family communication, communication about weight and appearance

Jiaying Liu, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. Health communication, social influence, message effects, media campaigns, computerized content analysis, neuroimaging method and eye-tracking research

Soroya J. McFarlane, Ph.D., University of Miami. Health communication, health disparities and reproductive health

Mackensie Minniear, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Health communication and racial identity

Chelsea L. Ratcliff, Ph.D., University of Utah. Health communication, persuasion, media and message effects

Jennifer A. Samp, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison. Interpersonal communication, conflict, and close relationships

Rhetorical Studies: 

Barbara A. Biesecker, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh. Modern and contemporary rhetorical theory and criticism, cultural studies, visual studies, feminist studies

Kelly Happe, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh. Rhetoric of science, women's studies, rhetorical theory and criticism

Thomas M. Lessl, Ph.D., University of Texas. Rhetoric of science, the theory and criticism of religion, myth and narrative, public speaking pedagogy

Peter O'Connell, Ph.D., Harvard University. Ancient rhetoric and poetics, Greek literature of all periods, and Classical Athens

Roger Stahl, Ph.D., Penn State University. Rhetorical theory, critical and post-structural theory, war and media

Belinda Stillion Southard, Ph.D., University of Maryland. Rhetorical criticism, public address, gender studies, nationalism, and citizenship

Bjørn Stillion Southard, Ph.D., University of Maryland. Early U.S. Public Address, particularly discourses concerning race and law

Support our Department

We greatly appreciate your generosity. Your gift enables us to offer our students and faculty opportunities for research, travel, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Support the efforts of the Department of Communication Studies by visiting our giving section.

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EVERY DOLLAR CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEPARTMENT HAS A DIRECT IMPACT ON OUR STUDENTS AND FACULTY.