Communication, Culture and Media Studies

Communication, Culture and Media Studies

The department provides doctoral-level studies leading to the PhD which focuses on communication problems of importance in an emerging digital and multicultural world. The curriculum in Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS) is designed to train scholars and academic leaders to contribute to interdisciplinary research in communication with a particular emphasis on multicultural and mediated communication.

The program offers core competencies in research strategies (qualitative, quantitative, and critical), theory and methodology. The program also responds to the university’s historical mission to advance African Americans and other underserved communities by emphasizing multiculturalism, global issues and social justice concerns in its curriculum.

Applicants to the CCMS program must possess a master’s degree by the time they enter the program. The CCMS department does not offer a master’s degree.


Students in the Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS) will focus their studies in one of three tracks:

Media & Cultural Studies

The Media and Cultural Studies track seeks to answer increasingly complex questions about connections among individuals, media, and society through quantitative, qualitative and critical approaches and theories drawn from multiple disciplines, including sociology, history, politics, economics, and the humanities. This track is concerned with issues of power in society, including the ways in which media enter into power relations, convey political discourse, shape international relations, hinder or enable protest and dissent, and influence cultural expression and identity formation. Media activism, political campaigns, and community-level and international relations are some of the research areas encouraged in this track.

Technology, Policy & Society

The underlying emphasis of the Technology, Policy and Society (TPS) track is on how information and communication technologies and their impacts shape the communicative power of different actors and social constituents. To this end, the track focuses analysis on the development as well as social, political, and policy implications of varied forms of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The TPS track applies social science theories and empirical research methodologies to the study of issues related to social, economic, political, and cultural implications of ICTs.

Health Communication

The Health Communication track concentrates on communication and health-related issues specifically related to African American and other under-represented groups. The research focuses on the role communication plays in health promotion and disease prevention. Students are encouraged to develop culturally appropriate communication studies designed to help reduce health disparities. Emphasis is also placed on social justice research and research designed to help achieve health equity among minority populations and communities.


A limited number of teaching assistantships are available to cover tuition and provide a stipend. Once students have been admitted to the graduate program in CCMS, they are invited to apply for these department-based assistantships. Applicants are also encouraged to apply for Graduate School funding (


New students are admitted to the program in fall semester only. Application for admission is through the Graduate School ( Deadline for application is January 15.

Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in their master’s program to receive consideration for admission to the CCMS program. In addition, applicants must have:

Completed on-line application and signature page, and submitted the following:

  • The non-refundable $45 application fee (Waivers accepted for FAMU Feeder Program and McNair Scholars),
  • Official transcripts directly from the Registrar’s Office from ALL colleges and universities attended,
  • GRE Scores (Only official score reports are accepted within 5 years of the test date),
  • A statement of Academic and Research Interest
  • An Autobiographical Sketch (Personal biography)
  • Resume (or CV)
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic sources (in Word documents)

For International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above you must submit:

  • Official transcripts, certificates and/or mark/grade sheets. These must be sent directly from the colleges or universities you have attended to the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions (, and must show proof of degree(s) earned, courses taken and marks/grades received. Also, ALL transcripts must be evaluated by World Education Services (WES) ( or AACRAO ( and be forwarded to Graduate Recruitment and Admissions.
  • TOEFL Scores (Minimum computer-based score of 213 is required and only official score reports are accepted within 2 years of the test date). International applicants who completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree at an English-speaking university are exempt from TOEFL exams.


Credits: The Graduate School requires a minimum of 72 credits for the Ph.D. (including the dissertation). Students will take a minimum of 48 credits in the CCMS program, though many take all required 72 hours. The Graduate School allows students to transfer up to 24 credits from the master’s program to help fulfill the total required credits. See below for an explanation of CCMS tracks, course of study and specific course requirements (and credits associated with these).



(18 credits required)

Pro Seminar (CCMS 700)
Theory & Research Foundations (CCMS 750)
Quantitative Research Methods (CCMS 701)
Qualitative Research Methods (CCMS 702)
Critical Research Methods (CCMS 703)
African American Issues in Communication (CCMS 705)


(3-6 credits required, from CCMS or other departments)

Field Research (CCMS 706)
Critical Discourse Analysis (CCMS 713)
Advanced Quantitative Design (CCMS 716)
Advanced Qualitative Design (CCMS 719)
Historical Methods in Communication (CCMS 725)


(Each student selects one track to follow, taking 12-15 credits. Courses listed in more than one track are noted with an asterisk *)


Race, Culture & Social Justice (CCMS 708)
Communication Theory (advanced) (CCMS 710)
Social Media (CCMS 712)
*Communication & the Black Diaspora (CCMS 714)
Media Psychology (CCMS 717)
Political Communication & Public Opinion (CCMS 722)
*Intercultural Communication (CCMS 726)
Mass Communication Effects (CCMS 752)
*Mass Communication Policy & Administration (CCMS 753)
Communication & Popular Culture (CCMS 755)
*International Communication (CCMS 757)
*Topical Seminar (topic varies) (CCMS 787)
*Independent Study (CCMS 790, 791, 792)


Gender Issues in Media Management (CCMS 707)
*Social Media (CCMS 712)
*Political Communication & Public Opinion (CCMS 722)
*Communication Leadership & Diversity (CCMS 724)
Technology in Health Communication (CCMS 727)
Inequality in the Information Society (CCMS 731)
*Mass Communication Policy & Administration (CCMS 753)
Internet & Society (CCMS 759)
*Topical Seminar (topic varies) (CCMS 787)
*Independent Study (CCMS 790, 791, 792)


Community & Public Health (CCMS 709)
*Communication & the Black Diaspora (CCMS 714)
Health Communication & Culture (718)
*Technology in Health Communication (CCMS 727)
*Intercultural Communication (CCMS 726)
Health Communication in the African American Community (CCMS 728)
Health Communication (advanced) (CCMS 730)
*Topical Seminar (topic varies) (CCMS 787)
*Independent Study (CCMS 790, 791, 792)


(12 credits required)

Dissertation (CCMS 796, 797, 798, 799)


(3-27 credits from CCMS or other departments.) Please see note above about transferring credits from the master’s program to help fulfill these.


The PPI measurement is designed to evaluate a prospective student’s potential for graduate study based on six (6) non-cognitive characteristics. The PPI allows applicants the opportunity to provide an enhanced range of attributes often valued as indications of success in graduate school. The applicant may select three (3) faculty recommenders to submit PPI evaluations for review by the prospective program.

If you are currently registered with the ETS for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), you may designate the three (3) PPI evaluations at no additional cost. To submit the PPI reports to the Graduate School at Howard University, visit the ETS website at

The programs that are reviewing ETS/PPI evaluations as part of the Fall 2017 admissions review are listed below:

  • African Studies
  • Communication, Culture and Media Studies
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • English
  • Genetics and Human Genetics
  • History
  • Sociology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Physiology

For more information, please call 202.806.4676.


(Updated Fall 2017)

CCMS 700. Pro Seminar in Communication Theory and Research. 3 crs. Descriptive and critical overview of the field of communication. Orients doctoral students to the nature, resources, challenges, expectations and procedural aspects of graduate study. Opportunity to frame higher education experience to project success.

CCMS 701. Quantitative Research Methodology. 3 crs. Quantitative research methods and design in communication. Includes the use of statistics in experiments, surveys, and content analysis. Relationship between theory and research will be examined. Assumes knowledge of intermediate statistics.

CCMS 702. Qualitative Research Methodology. 3 crs. Qualitative research methods and design in communication. Includes the treatment of historical-critical, interpretive, ethnographic, and textual data. Relationship between theory and research will be examined.

CCMS 703. Critical Studies Research Methodology. 3 crs. Develops skills in conducting inquiry using social critique, political economy and other procedures associated with the critical research tradition, which has the goal of enabling social change.     

CCMS 705. African-American Issues in Communication. 3 crs. Examines historical and contemporary issues, relating to mass communication studies.

CCMS 706. Field Research in Communication. 3 crs. Develops skill in researching, analyzing and solving a current issue/problem in communication research related to the student’s dissertation. May involve fieldwork in the communications industry.

CCMS 707. Seminar in Gender Issues in Media Management and Ownership. 3 crs. Covers gender concerns in media organizations, the ways these emerged in response to social movements, changes in discrimination laws and practices, theories of gender in organizational leadership.

CCMS 708. Race, Culture and Social Justice. 3 crs. This course examines the complex inter-relationships among race, culture and the society within America’s political and social context. Students will build the critical analytical skills to pursue inquiry within the course’s framework.

CCMS 709. Community and Public Health. 3crs. An interdisciplinary course addressing the role of communication in population-based approaches to community health improvement. Features problem-based learning.

CCMS 710. Seminar in Communication Theory. 3 crs. Review and critical analysis of major theories and theoretical perspectives in communication. Metatheoretical issues will be examined.

CCMS 712. Seminar in Social Media, Culture and Communication. 3 crs. Explores the history, practices, tools, legal and ethical issues related to social media. Emphasis on students’ exploration of theories – public relations, communication and business – to help better understand and develop social media.

CCMS 713. Critical Discourse Analysis. 3 crs. Critical review and analysis of language and discourse dynamics as factors in power and the abuse of power.

CCMS 714. Communication and the Black Diaspora. 3 crs. This course takes a historical approach to studying how various communities of the African Diaspora communicate and define identity, culture and social position. Communication will include language, music, the arts, mediated communication, and other cultural forms. Attention will be paid to gender, nationality, sexuality and social class as they construct and are constructed around the world.

CCMS 716. Advanced Quantitative Research Design. 3 crs. The class provides hands-on experience organizing and planning studies that involve statistical methods, particularly those with large data sets. Covers content analysis as well as research involving survey research and other field work.

CCMS 717. Seminar in Media Psychology. 3 crs. Provides an overview of major research on media psychology and explores current debates about the psychological significance of media. Both traditional and new media genres are covered with respect to the ways that media shape cognitive processing, engagement, and behavior. Some attention will also be given to media and the shaping of social reality.

CCMS 718. Seminar in Health Communication and Culture. 3 crs. Focus on the social, economic, and political factors influencing African, Latino, Asian, and Native Americans’ beliefs and attitudes related to health and illness.

CCMS 719. Advanced Qualitative Communication Design and Analysis. 3 crs. Advanced qualitative-interpretive design and analysis for communication research. Prereq.: CCMS 702 or permission of instructor.

 CCMS 722. Seminar in Political Communication and Public Opinion. 3 crs. Emphasis on persuasive and propaganda devices used in political power and office seeking as well as the formulation and management of public policy.

CCMS 724. Seminar in Communication Leadership and Diversity. 3 crs. Examines communication leadership scholarship within a context of diversity that includes culture, gender, race, ethnic, as well as additional diversity indices.

CCMS 725. Historical Research Methods in Communication. 3 crs. This hands-on methods class covers ways of approaching communication studies, beginning with identifying historical problems in communication, locating documents, records and texts through archival and other research; authenticating sources, determining the originality, author(s), and learning the genealogy of a document; interpreting documents’ meanings; and other issues.

 CCMS 726. Seminar in Intercultural Communication. 3 crs. Considers rules, meaning, uncertainty reduction, development communication, and comparative approaches to intercultural communication. Examines methodological issues.

CCMS 727. Technology in Health Communication. 3 crs. The seminar examines the uses of technology in health communication with an emphasis on technology in both patient-provider relationships and health campaigns. This course provides an overview of theory and research related to the role of new media in promoting advances in public health.

CCMS 730. Seminar in Health Communication. 3 crs. Focuses on the social, economic and political factors influencing African, Latino, Asian, and Native Americans’ beliefs and attitudes related to health and illness. Explores how topics such as folk illness, “personalismo”, face maintenance, home remedies and alternative medicine are related to health communication.

CCMS 731. Seminar on Inequality in the Info Society. 3 crs. The seminar examines information inequality in contemporary global societies in relation to advances in technology, and to concerns about race, gender, sexuality, social class, and multiculturalism. The class considers history, theories and practices related to various facets of inequalities, with a critical eye on the roles of media and technologies, and with questions about whether and how governments exacerbate or remediate information inequality.

CCMS 750. Communication Theory and Research Foundations. 3 crs. Explores major scholars whose work defined the field.

CCMS 752. Seminar in Mass Communication Effects. 3 crs. Studies the significance and impact of mass communication in contemporary society; critical review of the models and paradigms of media influence and influence processes.

CCMS 753. Seminar in Mass Communication Policy and Administration. 3 crs. Explores governmental, legal, regulatory and administrative policies, rules and procedures as they pertain to mass communication and public policy-making.

CCMS 755. Seminar in Communication and Popular Culture. 3 crs. Studies mass media as popular cultural institutions. Emphasis on communication as a system of public language or symbols, its relationship to the information society and to changes in folk and elite culture genres.

CCMS 757. Seminar in International Communication. 3 crs. Reviews international interactions, information flows, and perceptions. Emphasis on the role of media and factors affecting that role.

CCMS 758. Seminar in Communication Technology. 3 crs. Review of contemporary developments in the technology of communications and their impact on telecommunication, media and other communication systems.

CCMS 759. Seminar in Internet and Society. 3 crs. Places new communication technology into historical, cultural, and theoretical perspective. Intended primarily to study the “people” side of electronic communication in general and the Internet in particular.

CCMS 787. Topical Seminar in Communication Studies. 3 crs. Comprehensive study of the literature on selected topics of contemporary interest and importance in communication studies.

CCMS 790. 3 crs. Independent Study. Requires faculty sponsor, written plan and a specific project with a work product at the end. Prereq.: Approval of study outline by faculty sponsor and department chair.

CCMS 791. Independent Study. 3 crs. Requires faculty sponsor, written plan and a specific project with a work product at the end. Prereq.: Approval of study outline by faculty sponsor and department chair.

CCMS 792. Independent Study. 1 cr. Requires faculty sponsor, written plan and a specific project with a work product at the end. Prereq.: Approval of study outline by faculty sponsor and department chair.

CCMS 795. Dissertation. 3 crs. Supervised execution of the doctoral dissertation. Prereq.: Successful completion of doctoral qualifying examination and admission to candidacy.

CCMS 796. Dissertation. 3 crs. Supervised execution of the doctoral dissertation. Prereq.: Successful completion of doctoral qualifying examination and admission to candidacy.

CCMS 797. Dissertation. 3 crs. Supervised execution of the doctoral dissertation. Prereq.: Successful completion of doctoral qualifying examination and admission to candidacy.

CCMS 798. Dissertation. 3 crs. Supervised execution of the doctoral dissertation. Prereq.: Successful completion of doctoral qualifying examination and admission to candidacy.

CCMS 799. Dissertation. 1 cr. Supervised execution of the doctoral dissertation, taken only as needed.



Click here for an updated list of our full CCMS graduate faculty and their research specialties.

Contact Information
Dr. Carolyn M. Byerly
  • (202) 806.5121
  • Mrs. Angela Toledo
    Administrative Assistant
    (202) 806-4426
Stay in Touch

Our Faculty

Natalie Hopkinson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS)

Natalie Hopkinson, Ph.D.

Education: PhD, University of Maryland; MA, University of Maryland; BA, Howard...
Yong Jin Park, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS)

Yong Jin Park, Ph.D.

Education: PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; MA, University of Southern California...
Wei Sun, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS)

Wei Sun, Ph.D.

Education: PhD, Howard University; MA, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; MA,...
Carolyn A. Stroman, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies

Carolyn A. Stroman, Ph.D.

Education: PhD., Syracuse University; M.L.S. Syracuse University; M.A. Atlanta University;...
Abbas Malek, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS)

Abbas Malek, Ph.D.

Education: PhD., International Communication, School of International Service, The...
Carolyn M. Byerly, Ph.D.
Graduate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication, Culture & Media Studies (CCMS)

Carolyn M. Byerly, Ph.D.

Education: PhD, Mass Communication, University of Washington, Seattle; M.A., Mass...