In the Department of Communication, we study the ways that communication techniques and technologies shape who we are, how we govern ourselves, and what kinds of cultures we inhabit.
We strive to embrace diversity of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives in all their forms; we strive to create a supportive learning and research environment that is welcoming to all and where all can thrive; and we strive to develop and celebrate the richness of an interconnected community where all can speak, can listen, and can inspire new angles of inquiry, new modes of analysis, new discoveries and new solutions.
We embrace both media theory and media practice. Over the years, we’ve trained scholars who’ve reshaped their fields, some of the world’s most high-impact journalists, and leading members of dozens of other fields.
Journalism has been part of Stanford’s curriculum since 1893. In the early 1950s, Chilton Bush and Wilbur Schramm brought together a pioneering community of communication researchers, linked them to the university’s ongoing efforts in journalism, and founded the Department of Communication. Then, as now, the department emphasized cutting edge research that could produce not only new ways of looking at things but practical changes in human life.
Today the department remains strongly interdisciplinary. Its research faculty come from the fields of political science, psychology, sociology and economics, as well as communication. Its professional journalism faculty includes prize-winning innovators in digital storytelling and computational journalism, as well as former bureau chiefs for the New York Times and the Washington Post. And for ten months every year, the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships program brings up to 20 journalists and journalism innovators from the U.S. and around the world to the Department to focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership.
All of our faculty retain strong ties to other departments on campus, to Silicon Valley, and to worlds beyond northern California. Taken together, these ties give our students a wide variety of unique opportunities to explore the ways in which new modes of communication are changing the world.
Why Study Communication at Stanford?
Silicon Valley is the center of innovation in contemporary communication. And Stanford sits at the heart of the Valley. Whether you’re an undergraduate, a journalist in training, or a Ph.D. student, the Department of Communication at Stanford will give you a one-of-a-kind perspective on the changes underway.
For undergraduate majors and coterminal master’s students
The Department offers a broad and rigorous introduction to the social and psychological power of communication. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty in every area, often on research that will see publication. Have you ever wanted to build a world in virtual reality? To engage your fellow citizens in more productive deliberations? To understand the Chinese blogosphere? If so, you’re in the right place.
With their communication degree in hand, recent graduates have gone on to careers in the media, the law, teaching and technology, among others.
You can learn more here: Why major in Communication?
For master’s students in journalism
The Department offers an intensive year-long program that emphasizes multimedia storytelling, data-driven reporting, and experimentation in immersive journalism about public affairs issues. Our graduates are currently reporting and editing the news everywhere from Politico to The Washington Post to Google News.
You can learn more here: Journalism M.A.
For Ph.D. students
The Department offers a chance to work closely with individual professors inside and outside the Department, and to develop their own unique research programs. In the first two years, students take courses in each of the Department’s core areas and develop strong qualitative and quantitative research skills. By the third year, all have embarked on their own research, apart from classes.
Because of the field’s interdisciplinary nature, we encourage students to build Ph.D. committees that reflect the questions driving their research. Students routinely take courses and work with professors in sociology, art history, psychology, political science, and computer science, among other fields. Students are even required to have at least one professor from another department serve as a member of their dissertation committees.
Our highly individualized Ph.D. program has been very successful in placing graduates in academic positions. In recent years, our students have received tenure track positions at the London School of Economics, Princeton University, New York University, the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, the Ohio State University, the University of Amsterdam, the University of North Carolina, Boston University, the University of Georgia, and Cornell University, to name a few.
You can find full information on the Ph.D. Program here: Theory and Research Ph.D.