Communication, Culture and Media

Major: Communication, Culture and Media
Degrees Awarded: Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0 (Master's); 90.0 (PhD Post-Bachelor's) or 45.0 (PhD Post-Master's)
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 09.0102
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:
25-1122

About the Program

MS in Communication, Culture & Media

The master’s program (MS) in Communication, Culture & Media is a great choice for academically oriented students who wish to learn the basics of research and theory in communication and media studies, possibly to test the waters for further study, or to explore a personal fascination with mass media, mediated communication, cultural studies, social change, and media. The program also encourages interdisciplinary approaches to the study of communication and media through faculty strengths in anthropology, communication, linguistics, and sociology.

The MS degree requires 45.0 credits of graduate-level coursework and the review by two faculty members of a major research or critical paper that has come out of the student’s work while in the program.

The program can be completed part time in approximately three years, or full time in five terms (just under a year and a half).

PhD in Communication, Culture & Media

The PhD program in Communication, Culture & Media develops innovative scholar-teachers who know how to impart theories and studies on the interaction of social forces and communication. Our graduates are trained as committed researchers in quantitative and qualitative approaches to communication study. The program also encourages interdisciplinary approaches to the study of communication and media through faculty strengths in anthropology, communication, linguistics, and sociology.

For more information, please visit the graduate programs in Communication, Culture and Media page.

Admission Requirements

MS program admission requirements

Applicants to the MS program will be evaluated based on:

  • A 1,000 word statement of purpose
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts of all college-level coursework
  • GRE scores are recommended (especially for students whose GPAs are below 3.2)
  • For international students where English is not the official language, a TOEFL score of 100 (iBT) or equivalent score in IELTS, or Cambridge CPE

PhD program admission requirements

Applicants to the PhD program will be evaluated by the Department's Graduate Committee for admission to the program. Prospective students must submit with their application:

  • A 1,500 word statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts of all college-level coursework
  • GRE scores
  • For international students where English is not the official language, TOEFL or other English language proficiency scores are also required. For more information regarding international applicant requirements, view the International Students Admissions Information page.

Minimum criteria include:

  • Completion of a BA or BS degree in an appropriate field
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher (preferred GPA 3.5 for courses in the major)
  • For international students, a TOEFL score of 100 (iBT) or equivalent score in IELTS, or Cambridge CPE

Students entering the program with a master’s degree or with some graduate credit will be evaluated by the Graduate Committee as to how many of their courses could possibly be counted toward the PhD. Students entering with an MS in an appropriate field are required by the university to take a minimum of 15 credit hours in the PhD program before being eligible to take qualifying exams.

For additional information on how to apply, visit the Drexel University Requirements for Admissions page.

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
COM 610Theories of Communication and Persuasion3.0
CCM 704Research Methods in Communication, Culture and Media3.0
Required Electives. Choose three of the following:9.0
Mass Communication and American Social Thought
Media, Advocacy and Public Spaces
Political Communication
Consumer Culture
Digital Subjectivities
Political Economy of Media
Additional Electives *
Three courses from the CCM rubric at 500 level or above9.0
Free Electives **
Seven Additional Graduate Level Electives21.0
Total Credits45.0

Degree Requirements

The PhD requires a minimum of 90.0 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree, including 45.0 credit hours of coursework prior to taking qualifying exams, 15.0 credit hours of coursework after exams, and 30.0 hours of research credits.

The PhD coursework is structured around a set of required core courses, a set of required seminars with rotating topics, and electives in graduate communication lecture courses, independent study work, and dissertation credit.

All students in the program take five common core courses. They then take no less than five courses chosen from CCM 800 level seminar offerings. Students are encouraged to take additional seminars after meeting that requirement since seminar courses enable collaborative relationships with professors and introduce students to the scholarly community. In addition to coursework, students will be assigned required teaching and research duties in the fall, winter, and spring terms.

After completing the core requirements and a sequence of seminars, students are expected to take a minimum of 10 additional courses from existing graduate-level lecture courses (depending on their interests and research needs). Students may take up to two graduate courses (six credits) outside the department. Additional credits to meet the 90.0 credit requirements will come from independent study and dissertation credits.

Student advising will include appointments with both the graduate director and an assigned mentor during the first two weeks of fall courses where an individualized plan of study (University form D1) will be completed and approved by the program director. 

Core Courses
CCM 701Contemporary Social Theory3.0
CCM 702Communication Theory I: Persuasion and Media Effects3.0
CCM 703Communication Theory II: Discourse and Semiotics3.0
CCM 704Research Methods in Communication, Culture and Media3.0
CCM 705Data Analysis in Communication3.0
Seminars
Students select 15 credits from the five categories of seminars *15.0
Seminar in Contemporary Theory
Seminar in Discourse and Semiotics
Seminar in Structural and Cultural Dynamics
Seminar in Research Methodology
Seminar in Communication Ethics
Communication, Culture & Media Electives30.0
Ten courses are required, for a total of 30.0 credit hours of electives. These may be chosen from CCM 500 to CCM 800 level courses, including 800 level seminars that are a different topic from earlier courses taken.
Dissertation Credits/Additional Electives **30.0
CCM 998PhD Dissertation Research in Communication, Culture & Media1.0-12.0
For the dissertation, students work with a principal advisor, one of the Communication, Culture and Media Program grad faculty, and no less than two additional faculty from within the department. Students must find one additional outside reader, and students may bring in up to two outside readers.
Total Credits91.0-102.0

Qualifying Examinations

After students have completed 45.0 credits, which will usually be at the end of their sixth term, they will be required to take a qualifying examination. The qualifying exam includes three parts: theory, methods, and a content area. Students will be given the grade of fail, pass, or high pass on the exam. A grade of pass in all three sections of the exam will be required to qualify for the PhD. Students who do not pass one out of three sections of the exam on the first attempt may retake the section that they failed one time to qualify for the PhD. If they do not pass the second time they take the failed section of the exam, they will be dismissed from the program. When a student passes all three sections of the exam, the proper paperwork will be filed with the university graduate office and they will be advanced to candidacy.

Dissertation Defense

Students should defend the dissertation and graduate towards the end of their fourth or fifth year, depending on whether they entered the program with a master's degree.

 Visit the graduate programs in Communication, Culture, and Media website for more information.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
CCM 7043.0COM 6103.0CCM 7403.0VACATION
CCM 7453.0CCM 7503.0Graduate Level Electives6.0 
Graduate Level Elective3.0Graduate Level Elective3.0  
 9 9 9 0
Second Year
FallCreditsWinterCredits  
Graduate Level Electives9.0Graduate Level Electives9.0  
 9 9  
Total Credits 45

Sample Plan of Study

Term 1CreditsTerm 2CreditsTerm 3CreditsTerm 4CreditsTerm 5CreditsTerm 6CreditsTerm 7CreditsTerm 8CreditsTerm 9CreditsTerm 10Credits
CCM 7013.0CCM 7023.0CCM 7033.0CCM 7353.0COM 6253.0COM 6503.0CCM 8013.0CCM 9989.0CCM 9989.0CCM 9989.0
COM 7043.0CCM 7053.0CCM 7153.0CCM 8033.0CCM 7103.0CCM 8043.0CCM I8996.0   
CCM 7773.0CCM 7253.0CCM 8053.0Graduate Level Elective outside CCM3.0CCM 8013.0CCM I8993.0    
 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
Total Credits 90

Communication, Culture and Media Faculty

Mary Ebeling, PhD (University of Surrey) Director, Women's and Gender Studies. Associate Professor. Science and technology studies; emerging technologies and biocapital; media and democratic cultures; radical social movements; sociology of markets; political sociology; and ethnographic methodologies.
Ernest A. Hakanen, PhD (Temple University) Director, Graduate Programs in Communication, Culture & Media. Professor. Telecommunications policy, adolescent media use, communication theory and history, global media, and semiotics.
Barbara Hoekje, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Associate Professor. Sociolinguistic theory, discourse analysis, applied linguistics (language teaching, learning, and testing).
Jordan Hyatt, PhD, JD (University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University School of Law). Associate Professor. Community corrections; drug treatment; homelessness; probation/parole; re-entry; risk assessment; sentencing.
Emmanuel F. Koku, PhD (University of Toronto). Associate Professor. Social network analysis; qualitative/quantitative research; medical sociology; social epidemiology; social demography; sociology of development; communication and information technology; community and urban sociology.
Hyunmin Lee, PhD (University of Missouri) Director, Undergraduate Programs in Communication. Associate Professor. Social media strategies for relationship and reputation management in public relations; media messages of public health issues and its psychological and behavioral effects on the public.
Brent Luvaas, PhD (UCLA). Associate Professor. DIY and independent media production; transnational consumer culture; popular music; new media and mediated subjectivities; youth culture in the US and Indonesia.
Rakhmiel Peltz, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Professor. Judaic studies, Yiddish culture and linguistics, ethnography of communication, immigrant cultural studies.
Douglas V. Porpora, PhD (Temple University). Professor. War, genocide, torture, and human rights; macro-moral reasoning in public sphere debate; contemporary social theory moral and political communication; religion.
Rachel R. Reynolds, PhD (University of Illinois). Associate Professor. Sociolinguistics, ethnography of communication and discourse analysis; violence against women in mass media; political economy of migration; semiotics including the textual, the visual and multimodal.
Mimi Sheller, PhD (New School for Social Research) Director, Center for Mobilities Research and Policy. Professor. Sustainable mobility and mobility justice: new cultures and infrastructures of travel, transport, mobile communication, and urbanism; Caribbean Studies: history, culture and political theory of the region, including intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class.
Wesley Shumar, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Professor. Digital media and learning; culture of higher education; entrepreneurship education; craft culture; semiotic of consumer culture.
Asta Zelenkauskaite, PhD (Indiana University). Associate Professor. Social media; user-generated content; computer-mediated communication; interactivity; active audience analysis; mobile communication; gender and online identity; prosumer culture; internet of things; quantitative/qualitative research.
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