Graduate Curriculum

The Annenberg Ph.D. program represents a five-year commitment. Annenberg’s curriculum is structured around courses designed to help the student become an expert in a chosen research area.
  • 20 course units are required; up to five of these may be transferred from a previous Master’s program with approval from the student’s academic advisor
  • All students are required to take a noncredit proseminar as well as introductory courses in research methods and statistics
  • We do NOT have a language requirement
  • All Ph.D. students must take at least one separate course with each of at least five different ASC standing faculty members. The intent of this is to foster students’ knowledge of a diverse range of approaches to communication
  • With permission from the academic advisor, all students are permitted to supplement their Annenberg courses with classes from across Penn’s twelve graduate and professional schools. Students with a variety of research interests have benefited from coursework in:
    • The Wharton School
    • Graduate School of Education
    • Social Policy and Practice
    • School of Arts and Sciences, for example
      • African-American Studies
      • Cinema Studies
      • Political Science
      • Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Normal Progress Through the Program

At the beginning of the program, students typically take survey courses to learn about different areas of communication (such as Political Communication or Media Industries). As students become interested in specific issues, they choose courses that allow them to focus their efforts accordingly and conduct original research.

By the end of the second year, each student will have completed at least one research project independently and will have formed a preliminary dissertation goal. This is our Qualification Evaluation.

By the end of the fourth year the student will have finished coursework and will be on a trajectory to research and write the dissertation by having passed the Comprehensive Examination and successfully defended a dissertation proposal.

Approximately 15 graduate courses are offered by the Annenberg School each term. Sample Annenberg course offerings for 2010 are listed below.

  • Attitude and Behavioral Prediction
  • Canonic Texts
  • Communication and Cultural Studies
  • Content Analysis
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Experimental Design and Issues of Causality
  • The Filmic
  • Fundamentals of Visual Communication
  • Global and Comparative Media Systems
  • Health Psychology Seminar
  • Historical and Visual Cultural Methods
  • International Power and Flow
  • Politics and the Media
  • PSA Production Seminar
  • Public Health Communication
  • Race, Media and Politics
  • Race, Diaspora and Critique
  • Social Constructions of Reality
  • Sociology of Mass Communication
  • Theory and History of Global Communication