Communication, Culture and Media Studies

Communication, Culture and Media Studies

The department provides doctoral-level studies leading to the PhD which focus 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.



Communication, Culture and Media Studies at Howard University

The Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS) offers specialties in three primary areas:

  • Media Studies, including political communication; journalism; representations of gender, race, nationality and culture; political economy of media industries; media employment; national development; and media and social movements.
  • Communication Technology & Policy, including new media, Internet and society, media-government relationship, media regulation, online privacy, and media regulation and governance.
  • Strategic Communication, including public relations, health communication, and risk communication.

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.

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 (

Contact: Dr. Carolyn M. Byerly, chair: (202) 806.5121;



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). A maximum of 24 credits may be transferred from the master’s program to help fulfill the total required credits. See below for specific course requirements in the doctoral program.

Doctoral Curriculum (Adopted Fall 2013)

Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies (CCMS)

Required Core Courses (3 credits each)                                         Credit: 18 cr.

CCMS 700   Professional Seminar in Communication Studies

CCMS 701   Quantitative Research Methodology

CCMS 702   Qualitative Research Methodology

CCMS 703   Critical Studies Research Methodology

CCMS 705   African-American Issues in Communication

CCMS 750   Communication Theory & Research Foundations

Research or Language Tool                                                        Credit: 6 cr.

Language courses in the student’s non-native language that have demonstrated applicability to his or her research program may be credited if at the advanced level or at the level of literature as certified by the graduate language studies department.

Or – student may substitute two additional methods courses that have demonstrable impact on the student’s proposed area of research (i.e. Oral History, Historiography, Qualitative-Interpretative Analysis)

Seminars/Electives                                                                      Credit: 15 cr.

Students will develop a Program of Study that maps the student’s doctoral courses in CCMS. It will include the required (core) courses, electives, and dissertation in a semester-by-semester plan.

Cognate                                                                                             Credit: 6-9 cr.

A cognate is an area of knowledge in which the student wants to gain depth to complement his or her study of communication. A cognate comprises two or three courses in another field of the student’s interest (6-9 credits); some of these courses may be taken at Consortium universities (at the graduate level).

Required Dissertation Hours                                                    Credit: 12 cr.

Note:   The CCMS department continues to adapt and build the curriculum in order to respond to changes in media industries, world events, and shifts within the US society.



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 2013 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.



Communication, Culture & Media Studies (CCMS)

CCMS 700. ProSeminar in Communication Theory and Research. 3 crs. Descriptive and critical overview of the field of communication and its major theoretical and methodological research approaches. Emphasis on the relation between communication theory and communication methodology, including the philosophical foundations, concepts and analytical perspectives that define these relations. Prereq.: CCMS 591 or equivalent/departmental permission.

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. Examines gender concerns in media organizations, the ways these emerged in response to social movements, equality laws, and theories of gender in organizations.

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. Seminar 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 715. Seminar in Sport, Media and Culture. 3 crs. CCMS 715: Seminar in Sport, Media, and Culture (3 crs). This course focuses on sociology, human kinetics, and communication aspects of sport. It reviews theory and research pertaining to sport and media across the world.

CCMS 717. Seminar in Media Psychology. 3 crs. The course 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 will be explored 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 720. Seminar in Media Entrepreneurship. 3 crs. Prepares students to become leading business owners in the field of communications as well as other professions of their choice. Covers developing a marketable business plan, learning strategies of successful entrepreneurship, and establishing personal and professional principles for success.

CCMS 721. Seminar in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. 3 crs. Survey of theoretical and research literature in negotiation and conflict resolution.

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

CCMS 723. Seminar in Strategic Communication Management. 3 crs. Introduces public relations and other public communication theories that aid in managing communication and responding to and counseling organizational management and marketing challenges. Explores the relationship between public relations, advertising, marketing communications and management of organizations.

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

CCMS 726. Seminar in Intercultural Communication. 3 crs. Considers rules, meaning, uncertainty reduction, development communication, and comparative approaches to intercultural communication. Examines methodological issues. Prereq.: COMC 727.

CCMS 728. Seminar in Teaching Communication: Theory and Practice. 3 crs. allows for a review of teaching/pedagogy as both principles and practices historically, cross-culturally, and critically. Examines ways that pedagogy relates to the contemporary challenges of teaching a new generation of learners to address pressing social and political conditions in the world.

CCMS 729. Seminar in Postmodernism and Critical Theory. 3 crs. This seminar will consider the philosophical underpinnings of critical theory and postmodernism. Specifically, this course will examine the major assumptions, choices, tensions, issues, and concerns that characterize critical theory and postmodernism. Students will be exposed to the ideas of philosophers such as Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Habermas, Baudrillard, Jameson, and Lyotard, among others.

CCMS 730. Seminar in Health Communication. 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. Explores how topics such as folk illness, “personalismo”, face maintenance, home remedies and alternative medicine are related to health communication.

CCMS 750. Communication Theory and Research Foundations. 3 crs. Exploration of major scholars whose work defined the field. Examines major debates and issues that have marked the development of communication studies

CCMS 752. Seminar in Mass Communication Effects. 3 crs. 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. Governmental, legal, regulatory and administrative policies, rules and procedures as they pertain to mass communication and public policy-making. Prereq.: CCMS 553 or permission of instructor.

CCMS 754. Seminar in Design and Analysis of Communication Research. 3 crs. Design and analysis applications in mass communication research. Emphasis on multivariate design and analysis. Prereq.: CCMS 701 and CCMS 702 or permission of instructor.

CCMS 755. Seminar in Communication and Popular Culture. 3 crs. Mass media as popular cultural institutions. Emphasis on mass 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 756. Seminar in Mass Communication and Development. 3 crs. Examination of the theories and applications of mass communications as a resource for social development. Critical review of the communication and development literature.

CCMS 757. Seminar in International Communication. 3 crs. International interactions, information flows, and perceptions. Emphasis on the role of the mass media and the 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. Prereq.: Consent of instructor.

CCMS 790, 791. Independent Study (Doctoral). 3 crs. Each. Independent program of study with readings of particular interest to the student. Prereq.: Approval of study outline by selected instructor and department chair.

CCMS 792. Independent Study (Doctoral). 1 cr. Independent program of study with readings of particular interest to the student. Prereq.: Approval of study outline by selected instructor and department chair.

CCMS 793. Readings in MCMS. 3 crs. Focus on preparing for comprehensive exam and/or for tailoring an in-depth reading/research agenda in conjunction with dissertation topic.

CCMS 794. Readings in MCMS. 1cr. Focus on preparing for comprehensive exam and/or for tailoring an in-depth reading/research agenda in conjunction with dissertation topic.

CCMS 795 through CCMS 798. Dissertation. 3 crs. Each. 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. Prereqs.: CCMS 795-798.


Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: “Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification.”
All credentials must be sent to:

Howard University Graduate School
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
4th and College Streets, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20059

Contact Information
Dr. Carolyn M. Byerly
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...
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...
Anju Grover Chaudhary, Ph.D.
Graduate Professor, Department of Communication, Culture & Media Studies (CCMS)

Anju Grover Chaudhary, Ph.D.

Education: PhD., Public Communication, University of Maryland; M.A., Journalism,...
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...