Joint Degree with Political Science (Paused for Fall 2021)

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. Please note that the joint degree is paused for Fall 2021 because Political Science is not admitting new students.

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 provides 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.

Typically you need to apply and be accepted into both programs. However for Fall 2021 only the Annenberg Application is active since Political Science is not accepting new students. You could apply to the Annenberg School this year and hopefully apply to Political Science for Fall 2022.

  • 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


  • Edited by Michael X. Delli Carpini. Digital Media and Democratic Futures. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019. 
  • Michael X. Delli Carpini. “Alternative Facts: Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New U.S. Media Regime.” In Trump and the Media, Ed. Zizi Papacharissi and Pablo Boczkowski. MIT Press, 2018.
  • Michael Hennessy, Michael B. Blank, Michael X. Delli Carpini, Ken Winneg, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson. "Using Psychological Theory to Predict Voting Intentions." Journal of Community Psychology, 2015.
  • Emily Falk, R.P. Spunt, and M.D. Lieberman. "Ascribing beliefs to ingroup and outgroup political candidates: neural correlates of perspective taking, issue importance, and days until the election." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 2012.
  • Sandra González-Bailón and Ning Wang. “Networked Discontent. The Anatomy of Protest Campaigns in Social Media.” Social Networks, 2016.
  • Sandra González-Bailón, Rafael E. Banchs, and Andreas Kaltenbrunner. “Emotions, Public Opinion, and U.S. Presidential Approval Rates: A 5 Year Analysis of Online Political Discussions.” Human Communication Research, 2012.
  • Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President. Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph N. Cappella. Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles. #HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice. MIT Press, 2020.
  • Yphtach Lelkes. "Winners, Losers, and the Press: The Relationship Between Political Parallelism and the Legitimacy Gap." Political Communication, 2016.
  • Yphtach Lelkes, Gaurav Sood, and Shanto Iyangar. "The Hostile Audience: Selective Exposure to Partisan Sources and Affective Polarization." American Journal of Political Science, 2017.
  • Diana C. Mutz. In-Your-Face Politics: The Consequences of Uncivil Media. Princeton University Press, 2015.
  • Diana C. Mutz and Seth K. Goldman. The Obama Effect: How the 2008 Campaign Changed White Racial Attitudes. Russell Sage Foundation, 2014.
  • Editors: Victor Pickard and Guobin Yang. Media Activism in the Digital Age. Routledge, 2017.
  • Victor Pickard, Pawel Popiel. "The Media Democracy Agenda: The Strategy and Legacy of FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps." Benton Foundation, 2018.
  • Monroe E. Price. Media and Sovereignty: The Global Information Revolution and Its Challenge to State Power. MIT Press, 2012.