Office: McClatchy Hall, Building 120, Room 110
Mail Code: 94305-2050
Phone: (650) 723-1941
Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of Communication are listed under the subject code COMM on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

Stanford's Department of Communication focuses on media in all its forms. The department studies the processes and effects of mass communication: the nature and social role of the various media; their structure, function, and ethics; and their impact on the political system, culture, and society. In this context, it considers not only traditional mass media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and film, but also information technology, online media, virtual reality, and the Internet. Students are trained as social scientists who can study the media and as potential practitioners in the use of the media in journalism, mass communications, and digital media. The department combines theory and practice and fosters individual research opportunities for its students, employing both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

The Department of Communication engages in research in communication and offers curricula leading to the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. The M.A. degree prepares students for a career in journalism. The department also offers current Stanford University undergraduates a coterminal program with an M.A. emphasis in Media Studies. The Ph.D. degree leads to careers in university teaching and research-related specialties.

The John S. Knight Journalism (JSK) Fellowships champions innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world as they reinvent journalism. Each year, the program gives up to 20 fellows the resources to test their ideas for improving the quality of news and information reaching the public, while challenging misinformation and disinformation; holding the powerful accountable; strengthening local news; and fighting bias, intolerance and injustice.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Communication

The mission of the undergraduate program in Communication is to expose students to a broad-based understanding of communication theory and research. Students in this major are expected to become familiar with the fundamental concerns, theoretical approaches, and methods of the field, and to acquire advanced knowledge in one or more sub-areas of the discipline. This is accomplished by several levels of study: a core curriculum; intermediate-level electives; and optional internships. Majors also have the opportunity to do advanced research projects. The department is committed to providing students with analytical and critical skills needed for success in graduate programs, professional schools, or immediate career entry.

Learning Outcomes (Undergraduate)

The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program. Students are expected to demonstrate:

  1. an understanding of core knowledge within the discipline of communication.

  2. the ability to communicate ideas clearly and persuasively in writing.

  3. the ability to analyze a problem and draw correct inferences using qualitative and/or quantitative analysis.

  4. the ability to evaluate theory and critique research within the discipline of communication.

Learning Outcomes (Graduate)

The purpose of the master's program is to further develop knowledge and skills in communication and to prepare students for professional careers or doctoral studies. This is achieved through completion of courses in the primary field, as well as related areas, and experience with independent work and specialization.

The Ph.D. is conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated substantial scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in communication. Through completion of advanced coursework and rigorous training in research, the doctoral program prepares students to make original contributions to the knowledge of communication and to interpret and present the results of such research.


Prospective Undergraduates: Applications are available at Undergraduate Admissions

Prospective Coterminal Students: See the University Registrar's web site for information on how to apply.

Prospective Graduate Students: Applications are available online at Graduate Admissions

Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores is optional for applicants to the Ph.D. Program in Communication, and not required for applicants to the master’s program. Admission to each graduate degree program is competitive and based on the pool of applicants each year rather than on standard criteria that can be stated in advance. See Communication Department admission procedures and requirements for detailed information about admission to the department.

Stanford students who are completing an M.A. degree and who desire entry into the Ph.D. program must file a Graduate Program Authorization Petition in Axess. Such students are considered alongside all other doctoral applicants.


Emeriti: (Professor) Theodore L. Glasser, Donald F. Roberts; (Professor, Teaching)

Chair: James T. Hamilton

Director, Doctoral Program in Communication: Jeremy Bailenson

Director, John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships: Dawn E. Garcia

Director, Graduate Program in Journalism: James T. Hamilton

Director, Graduate Program in Coterminal Media Studies: Byron Reeves

Director, Undergraduate Studies: Fred Turner

Professors: Jeremy Bailenson, James S. Fishkin, James T. Hamilton, Jeffrey T. Hancock, Shanto Iyengar, Jon Krosnick, Jennifer Pan, Nilam Ram, Byron B. Reeves, Fred Turner

Assistant Professors: Angèle Christin, Gabriella Harari, Xiaochang Li

Courtesy Professors:  Nathaniel Persily, Walter Powell

Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Professional Journalism: Cheryl Phillips, Serdar Tumgoren

Hearst Professionals in Residence: Geralyn Migielicz

Carlos Kelly McClatchy Visiting Lecturer: Janine Zacharia

Lecturers: R.B. Brenner, Gary Pomerantz, James Wheaton

Graduate Advising Expectations

The Department of Communication is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate student scholarly and professional development. When most effective, this advising relationship entails collaborative and sustained engagement by both the advisor and the advisee. As a best practice, advising expectations should be periodically discussed and reviewed to ensure mutual understanding. Both the advisor and the advisee are expected to maintain professionalism and integrity.

Faculty advisors guide students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, developing of teaching pedagogy, navigating policies and degree requirements, and exploring academic opportunities and professional pathways.

Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for their graduate program.

For a statement of University policy on graduate advising, see the "Graduate Advising" section of this bulletin.

Ph.D. in Communication

Students are assigned a temporary advisor upon admission to the department. By the end of the third quarter of the first year, students confirm in writing that they will remain with or change their advisor. The faculty advisor must be an Academic Council member and a member of the Communication department.

Faculty advisors guide students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, developing teaching pedagogy, navigating policies and degree requirements, and exploring academic opportunities and professional pathways.

It is the responsibility of the student to meet with their advisor at least once per quarter during the academic year to discuss academic standing and graduate degree progress.

In addition, the Director of Graduate Studies is always available to Ph.D. students for consultation.

Requirements and milestones, as well as more detailed descriptions of the program's expectations of advisors and students, are listed in the "Degree Requirements and Department Procedures for Ph.D. Students and Ph.D. Advisors" available on the department website

Master's Program in Communication—Journalism Track

Before the start of graduate study, normally during Summer Quarter, each student is assigned an academic advisor: a member of our journalism faculty who provides guidance in course selection, course planning, and exploring short- and long-term career opportunities and professional pathways. The advisor serves as the first resource for consultation and advice about a student's academic program.

The Director of the Graduate Program in Journalism initially serves as the advisor for all coterminal journalism master's students until a final academic advisor is assigned.

In addition, the Director of the Graduate Program in Journalism is always available to journalism master's students for consultation.

Master's Program in Communication—Media Studies Track

To be accepted to the coterminal master's program in Communication, Media Studies track, students must find a professor in the Department of Communication to serve as coterminal advisor.

The coterminal advisor provides extensive guidance on a research project proposed in the student's statement of purpose, helping students go through the process of conceptualization, study planning, data collection, analysis, and writing. The coterminal advisor also assists the student with course selection and course planning and serves as the first resource for consultation and advice about a student's academic program.

In addition, the Director of the Graduate Program in Coterminal Media Studies is always available for consultation.