Jul 14, 2024  
2021-2022 University Catalog 
2021-2022 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Brian Lamb School of Communication (Graduate)

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Website URL:


Department/School Head:

Marifran Mattson

Academic Programs:

Communication studies at Purdue University celebrate a long and distinguished history, having offered graduate degrees since 1947. Our campus-based M.A. and Ph.D. programs focus on five areas: organizational communication; interpersonal communication; public relations; health communication; and media, technology and society. Our fully online M.S. program focuses on strategic communication for industry professionals.


Master’s and Ph.D. Programs (Campus-based)


Masters of Communication. Students can earn either an MA or an MS in Communication from the Brian Lamb School of Communication. Students have an option to choose a thesis track or a non-thesis track. The program is designed to be flexible and students can tailor the program to meet their individual interests. Our graduate program is organized along five instructional units:

  • Health Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Organizational Communication
  • Media Technology & Society
  • Public Relations

Students take courses both within and outside of the school and within and outside their areas of specialty. All admitted students in the campus-based program receive funding.

Ph.D. in Communication. The Brian Lamb School of Communication offers a Ph.D. in Communication. The program is designed around these five instructional units:

One of the defining features of the program is its flexibility. Students design their own course work to create a program that is tailored and unique to each individual student. All admitted students in the campus-based program receive funding.

Concentrations (Areas of Study):

Health Communication: Issues of health have become increasingly critical and complex, generating the need for individuals who can communicate effectively about health. The health communication program at Purdue seeks to fulfill this growing need for trained health communicators by exposing students to the theory, research, and practice.

Interpersonal Communication: Scholarship in interpersonal communication focuses on the study of fundamental processes that occur in all social interactions (interpretation, message production), the codes (verbal and nonverbal) through which everyday interactions are accomplished, and the functions that people pursue in these interactions (persuading, informing, providing support, etc.) We also investigate how communication shapes, and is shaped by, human relationships, including friendships, romances, families, and work relationships.

Media, Technology & Society: Graduate work in Media, Technology, and Society covers research on media and technological processes, their consequences, and the role that mass communication plays in both public and private life. Courses focus on local, national, and global media systems and audiences, as well as emerging information and communication technologies and environments.

Organizational Communication: Organizational communication examines the relationships between communication and organizing through the study of discourse, meanings, symbols, and information flow.

Public Relations: Purdue’s public relations program emphasizes negotiation and maintenance of relationships among organizations and their social, political, and economic environments. The program emphasizes the integration of public relations theory and research into practice to develop an understanding of the interactions between organizations and their publics. The Public Relations unit at Purdue prepares students to cultivate and sustain mutually-beneficial relationships between organizations of all types and their strategic publics both as practitioners and researchers.

Master’s Program (Online/Distance): 

Online MS in Communication: The online MS program in communication, along with the graduate certificate in strategic communication management, is specifically designed for full-time professionals working in the industry. The program focuses on strategic communication concepts, such as public relations, integrated communication, and organizational communication, and helps students develop communication leadership skills necessary for professional success. Students in this program get an education in strategic communication planning, crisis communication, global communication, social media, communication research methods, and related areas. The program is entirely asynchronous, and students typically take courses one at a time in 8-week blocks. This online program is not designed for students desiring to prepare for full-time research/teaching positions or Ph.D. programs.

  • Strategic Communication/Public Relations
  • Health Communication
  • Integrated Communication and Leadership
  • Communication Leadership

Online MS in Corporate Training and Communication: The online MS in Corporate Training and Communication is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the College of Education’s MS in Learning Design and Technology and Brian Lamb School of Communication’s MS in Communication. The program is designed to better prepare professionals to design, implement, assess, and evaluate training and communication effectiveness in the corporate environment. Students will graduate ready to create optimal learning materials integrating technology, and with strong communication skills that are needed and valued in every industry. Students will gain vital knowledge through courses covering current best practices in communication across cross functional teams, with an emphasis on the latest tools, techniques, strategies, and processes for educational training. The program is entirely asynchronous, and students typically take courses one at a time in 8-week blocks.


Combined Degree Programs: (Undergraduate Degree / Master’s Degree)

Not applicable

Graduate Certificates (Degree or Non-Degree Students):

Strategic Communication Management: The certificate program is a fast-paced way for you to broaden your skillset with a greater understanding of impactful communication. The courses within the certificate program quickly instill within you the skills and confidence to meet your organization’s communication needs across a variety of platforms.


Communication and Leadership: Through courses focused on the application of communication and leadership across various industries and professional settings, this communication and leadership certificate delivers valuable skills in cross-cultural teams, techniques for collaboration, and appropriate communication for superiors and subordinates.


Regular Graduate Faculty by Rank:


Josh Boyd, Robert X. Browning, Robin Clair, Bart Collins, John O. Greene, Sorin Matei, Marifran Mattson, Melanie Morgan, Felicia Roberts, Glenn Sparks, Howard Sypher, Ralph Webb 

Associate Professor

Stacey Connaughton, Seungyoon Lee, Jane Natt, Doug Osman, Torsten Reimer,

Assistant Professor

Emily Buehler, Charles Catalano, Tonantzin DeAztlan-Smith, Jeremy Foote, Jennifer Hoewe, Ilwoo Ju, Evan Perrault, Brett Sherrick, Hwanseok Song, Diana Zulli


    DoctoralMaster’sGraduate Certificate



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