Areas of Study

The graduate program in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin is divided into three primary areas of study. 

Interpersonal Communication involves the study of both the processes and effects of social interaction, usually in face-to-face situations. Both verbal and nonverbal behaviors are studied in laboratory and naturalistic contexts. Cognitions, emotions, and discourse patterns occurring during conflict, lying, and persuasion are some of the factors commonly studied. Communication in health-related contexts as well as personal and family relationships are two important contexts in which theories are applied.

Interpersonal Faculty

Interpersonal Graduate Coursework

Interpersonal Communication Theory
Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication
Nonverbal Communication
Stress and Coping
Managing Health Information
Conflict and Communication
Discourse Analysis
Communication and Ethnography
Language, Communication & Cultural/Social Conflict
Language, Persuasion/Social Influence
Communication, Cognition & Emotion
Family Communication
Communication in Relationships
Quantitative Research Methods
Qualitative Research Methods

Organizational Communication is the study of human interaction within complex organizations, and the management of organizational behavior. Course work in organizational communication offers both qualitative approaches to data analysis (category development and descriptive observation techniques) and quantitative approaches (measurement, psychological categories, and behavioral science research designs). The faculty views these approaches as complementary; many students attempt to achieve mastery in both modes.

Organizational Comm and Technology Faculty


Graduate Courses

Foundations of Organizational Communication Theory
Time Matters
Groups, Teams and Communities
Careers:  Theory and Practice
Social Network Analysis
Communication Technology in Organizations
Organizational Health, Technology and Safety
Survey of Organizational Communication
Communicating Knowledge
Qualitative Research Methods

The Rhetoric, Language and Political Communication (RLP) area focuses on how human symbols affect social and political change. Although rhetoric has been a popular area of study since antiquity, the Department focuses on such contemporary matters as political campaigning, culture and communication, social movement rhetoric, ethics and persuasion, the nature of public argument, discourse and knowledge, the formation of language communities, cognitive linguistics, etc. These matters are treated in three distinct sub-areas: (1) Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, focusing on how public discourse is conceived and executed, with special attention to the analysis of persuasive and cultural texts; (2) Political Communication, examination of how political leaders and the mass media change public opinion and fashion legislative policy; and (3) Semiotic Studies offers training in the naturalistic study of human symbol systems and consideration of how linguistic and gestural behaviors affect everyday social interaction.

Rhetoric, Language and Poilitical Communication Studies embraces a variety of research methodologies, including historiography, archival studies, textual criticism, conversation analysis, content analysis, etc. Interdisciplinary opportunities to study Rhetoric and Language also abound at U.T., including work with internationally famous scholars in the Departments of English, Linguistics, Anthropology, etc.



Graduate Courses

Foundations of Rhetorical Theory
Rhetoric and Popular Culture
Rhetoric and Social Style
Burke and the Symbolic Form
Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
Basic Rhetorical Criticism
Rhetoric of Film
Pragmatism and Rhetoric
Major Figures:  Derrida & Lacan
Rhetoric and Psychoanalysis
The Subject
The Body in Communication
The Object
Media, Politics and Society
Politics, Media and the Indvidual
Campaign Communication
Language, Mind and Culture
Intercultural Communication
Communication and Identity
Conversation Analysis