Joint Degree with Political Science

The University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication and Political Science Department of the School of Arts and sciences now offer a joint doctoral degree in Communication and Political Science. This combines the academic resources of Penn’s two well-respected schools, and provides an opportunity for advanced study by students who are interested in both fields. The degree can be satisfied with a single dissertation by the student.

Students can tailor their area of study within political communication based on their interests. For example, some students might want to combine the study of American politics and public opinion with the study of media effects. Others might want to combine an emphasis on new media and information technologies with the study of comparative politics or international relations. The joint doctoral degree program is designed to accommodate the interests of students who approach the study of political communication from broad, interdisciplinary perspectives.

The Annenberg School for Communication offers students a firm grounding in a wide range of approaches to the study of communication and its methods, drawn from both the humanities and the social sciences. Its mission is to produce and disseminate cutting-edge scholarly research designed to advance the field’s theoretical and empirical understanding of the role of communication (from face-to-face conversations to mass media), in public and private life. Students pursue coursework and research at individual, institutional, and cultural levels. 

The Annenberg Public Policy Center houses the National Annenberg Election Survey as well as the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics, thus providing many graduate students with opportunities for observational and experimental studies of communication and politics.

The Department of Political Science is currently experiencing a renaissance. Over the past decade, the faculty has grown by 50 percent, an increase in quantity that has been matched by gains in quality. The department maintains strengths in all four major subfields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory) and is being built with an eye to excellence embracing a variety of approaches and methodologies. 

Graduate students in political science are actively involved in its many programs, centers and workshops, including the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics and the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism.

Students receive a tuition waiver and stipend the same as other doctoral degree students in these programs. Summer support also may be available depending upon available resources. Students split their research and teaching fellowship assignments equally between both programs.

Penn boasts many faculty members whose primary research focus is in the study of political communication. Still more faculty have research interests in specific aspects of political communication. Learn more about the top-rated faculty in both programs by visiting the Annenberg School for Communication website and the Political Science website.

A joint degree in communication and political science…

  • has the capacity to expand your career options.
  • will provide you with unique interdisciplinary expertise on political communication.
  • allows you to draw on the resources of two internationally respected graduate programs at a world-renowned university.

Apply and be accepted into both programs  Political Science Application   Annenberg Application.  For more information please contact Joanne Murray at or 215-573-6349.

  • Some coursework counts toward both degrees
  • Perform well on comprehensive exams for both degrees
  • Single dissertation for the requirements of both doctoral degree programs
  • Current doctoral degree students in either program may apply to the other program for admission

Bruce Williams and Michael X. Delli Carpini, After Broadcast News: Media Regimes, Democracy, and the New Information Environment (with Bruce Williams), Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Lawrence R. Jacobs, Fay Lomax Cook, and Michael X. Delli Carpini, Talking Together: Political Deliberation and Political Participation in America (with Lawrence R. Jacobs and Fay Lomax Cook), University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Jeffrey Green, The Eyes of the People: Democracy in an Age of Spectatorship, Oxford University Press, 2010. 

Kate Kenski, Bruce W. Hardy, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Election, Oxford University Press, 2010.

John Lapinski and Gregory Huber, “The ‘Race Card’ Revisited: Assisting Racial Priming in Policy Contests,” American Journal of Political Science, 2006.

Matthew Levendusky, The Partisan Sort, University of Chicago Press, 2009. 

Matthew Levendusky, How Partisan Media Polarize America, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Diana C. Mutz, Seth K. Goldman, The Obama Effect: How the 2008 Campaign Changed White Racial Attitudes, Russell Sage Foundation, 2014.

Michelle Margolis, Adam Berinsky, Michael Sances, “Separating the Shirkers from the Workers: Making Sure Respondents Pay Attention on Internet Surveys,” American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming.

Marc Meredith, Alan S. Gerber, Daniel P. Kessler, “The Persuasive Effects of Direct Mail: A Regression Discontinuity Based Approach,” Journal of Politics, 201​1.