Communication and Rhetoric, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric is distinguished by its commitment to the integrated, interdisciplinary study of media, communication, and society. 

Program Overview

Situated within the country’s oldest technological university that brings together science with the humanities, the CMRT Ph.D. is an exciting and flexible program for students wishing to bring cutting edge theory and practice to their chosen research agendas.

Building on our historic reputation in media and communication studies within technological environments, the CMRT Ph.D. prepares students to study contemporary interactions with multimedia, multicultural and multisensory texts.  Our internationally recognized research faculty work in a variety of media-centered disciplines and methods, including Media Studies (Film/Video, TV, Photography, and Social Media), Communication, Data Visualization, Human-Centered Design, Visual Culture, Mixed-reality Pedagogy, Creative and Strategic Writing, Sensory Studies and Anthropology.  The CMRT Ph.D. consists of an interdisciplinary core with flexible tracks that students can tailor to their research interests under the direction of their advisors in the Department. 

The current migration of theory, method, and research across disciplines is exhilarating as well as profound.  The doctoral program offers a centralized curriculum of foundational seminars in theory, method, and practice that complements offerings within the Department of Communication and Media. Students have the opportunity to work with cognitive and computer scientists, artists, critical game theorists as well as scholars in STS.   Additionally, doctoral students are encouraged to utilize labs and other experimental spaces throughout the campus.

Program Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • Conduct advanced scholarly research by developing competence in the following three categories: a) theoretically informed analysis of historical and contemporary communication practices; b) analysis and critique of historical, legacy, and new media technologies; and c) mastery of a set of methodologies necessary to carry out projects in the field of communication and rhetoric.
  • Design and articulate research problems and conduct independent, original, and significant research.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the historical, social, cultural, and rhetorical contexts that shape, and are shaped by, diverse communication practices and media environments.
  • Communicate effectively to specialized and general audiences.


Our graduate students come from numerous academic backgrounds and bring with them unique perspectives on media and communication studies. Read about our current student's multifaceted research interests and involvement here!

After Graduation

Graduates of the Ph.D. program in Communication and Rhetoric leave equipped with critical, creative, and methodological abilities, as well as self-awareness, empathic cognizance, and ethical principles for using language, in all its varied forms, in multicultural, multimedia, and multimodal environments.

The program's freshly minted scholars are ready to contribute expertise in cultural, communication, and media studies; design thinking and making; visualization; and humanistic literature to virtual communities and immersive and mixed-reality environments, as well as to traditional textual environments involving word, image, and sound.


These graduates possess an analytical, applied, empirical, and theoretical knowledge set that enables them to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams working to address global challenges in the world. Thus, they are competitive in the job market, readily finding careers in business, government, and academia.


The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Russell Sage Laboratory (SAGE) 5304, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-6575

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