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Multi-Sector Communication, Doctor of Philosophy

Mass Communication


The Ph.D. in Multi-Sector Communication prepares you to explore new pathways to information sharing and communication, chart the agenda of this tech-driven evolution, and explore the new theoretical framework inherent in our digital native society.

The ever-increasing globalization challenges of communication in private, public, and nonprofit sectors, and the emergence of new communication tools such as digital and social media technologies, disrupt traditional communication channels and sources, affecting news reliability and validity. There is an urgent need to understand how mass communication, both digital and traditional, evolve globally, and how this empowering “democratization” of information access and diffusion impacts policies; corporate strategies; and social, political, and academic interaction.

In the era of digital globalization, economic sustainability, security sophistication, and “virtual” communication, we need to develop a new way of thinking and sharing information. New strategic communication specialists and high-level decision-makers across sectors need to be able to embrace emerging technologies and combine the skills of anthropologists, data scientists, designers, economists, political scientists, social psychologists, strategic and persuasive communicators, and others.

Admission and Program Information

  • Evidence of successful completion of a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, and have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA).
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least one of which attests to the applicant’s research ability.
  • A recent sample of written work and a personal statement of professional experience and career goals.  
  • Demonstration of functional proficiency of a foreign language (not part of the program credits).
  • A personal interview is required. 
  • An undergraduate student in their senior year with a minimum grade point average of 3.95 may matriculate in the Ph.D. program.

Master’s Credit Transfer (maximum 24-credit transfer)

Admitted students to the Ph.D. program who have maintained a 3.0 GPA throughout their master’s program are selectively eligible to transfer credits from a completed master’s degree program. Each request is assessed separately.

  1. To educate high-level experts in the field of communication by offering skills and competencies necessary to be able to conduct significant research in the field of International Multisector Communication.
  2. To identify the needs in all areas of communication, and develop research which responds to those needs, including interconnections between the various areas of communication to be thematic (multidisciplinary research).
  3. To make the outcomes of research available to the wider society by enabling you to communicate the results of research in accordance with academic requirements.
  4. To help improve the elements of the professional spheres of communication through innovation.
  5. To strengthen the links between the private, nongovernmental, and governmental sectors’ communication.
  1. Ability to conceive, design, create, implement, and undertake a substantial creation or research process and contribute to the broadening of the frontiers of knowledge, in the field of International Multisector Communication, through original research, especially focused on digital communication and mass communication.
  2. Ability to use new knowledge, tools, and technology from other research branches and areas, and integrate knowledge from other professional areas. 
  3. Ability to communicate with the academic and scientific communities and with society in general about their research area in the ways and language typically used in the relevant international scientific community.
  4. Ability to exchange knowledge, communicate, and collaborate in multisector, multistakeholder projects, teams, or networks, in order to broaden and deepen knowledge applicable to areas of communication, and to communicate research to wider audiences.
  5. Ability to apply scientific knowledge in order to create and foster both scholarly, as well as applied, multisector innovations and problem-solving.

Craig A. Baron, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor, Department of Humanities; an Ethics Society mentor; and a dissertation writing mentor. His research focuses on fundamental theology, philosophical theology, and issues in religion and culture, particularly, postmodern themes.

Elisabeth Fondren, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Mass Communication, is an award-winning scholarly publisher whose research is acclaimed internationally. She specializes in English and German philology, literature, and cultural history. Her research focuses on the history of international journalism, government propaganda, military-media relations, and freedom of speech during wartime.

David P. Hedlund, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Sport Management, specializes in quantitative research methods. His areas of expertise and research in the sports field include marketing, consumer behavior, coaching, and analytics. 

Minna Aslama Horowitz, D.Soc.Sci., is an Adjunct Professor, Division of Mass Communication, and an Information and Communications Technology specialist. Her research focus is in the area of communication rights in the digital era, the mission and sustainability of public interest media, and new forms of multistakeholder collaboration emerging in relation to the media justice and reform movements. She runs a researcher network of more than 200 scholars who work on public media.

Luca Iandoli, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Global and Online Programs, and Associate Professor, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science, is internationally known for his scholarship in interdisciplinary presentations and publications, as well as his robust history of mentoring doctoral dissertations.

Mark D. Juszczak, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Mass Communication, and Director, M.S. in International Communication degree program, is a prolific publisher and highly regarded scholar in the field of computational communication. He regularly guides master’s theses as part of his academic work.

Thomas M. Kitts, Ph.D., Professor, Division of English and Speech, is a well-established scholar with an international reputation who has been the editor of scholarly journals and the author of well-regarded books on popular culture. He is also highly acknowledged for his work in mentoring doctoral and postdoctoral students.

Tiffany L. Mohr, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Mass Communication, focuses her research on strategic communication and examines how the noneconomic value (marginalized) public is deprived of a relationship by public relations agencies.

Basilio G. Monteiro, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Mass Communication, is a well-regarded international inter-disciplinary scholar with numerous publications. He regularly guides master’s theses as part of his academic work and as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Valencia, Spain. He guides doctoral dissertations and frequently serves as an external mentor to doctoral students in their dissertation work at various universities in the New York area.

Tuija M. Parikka, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Mass Communication, is a well-regarded scholar with numerous, high-profile publications in the field of communication. As a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics, she provides guidance to doctoral students in their research work.

Candice D. Roberts, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Mass Communication, is an acclaimed scholar in the field of communication and popular culture. Her journal publications and recent books are highly reviewed by scholars in the field and she frequently mentors students in their graduate and undergraduate research projects. 

Christina L. Schweikert, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science, centers her research interests on informatics, programming languages, knowledge representation, and information fusion. In the area of informatics, she focuses on the combination of multiple features, scoring systems, and algorithms. She is currently working on medical informatics research, specifically, on the design of a web system for enhanced clinical trial search.

Nikhil Yadav, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science, focuses his research on the application of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to build behavioral models for mental health and physiological sensor data to infer human psychological patterns based on external stimuli; student performance prediction from assessment data; and Internet of Things Intrusion Detection Systems. He also researches algorithmic approaches to existing unsupervised and supervised learning for the domains above.

Total = Post-master’s degree, 36 credits

Foundation Courses and Methods (18 credits chosen from the following):

ICM 800

Theories of Communication (required)

ICM 802

Research Methods

SOC 127

Statistics for Social Sciences (required)

SOC 300

Strategies for Social Research

SOC 301

Evaluation Research and Data Analysis


Critique of Power, Knowledge, and Communication (required)

MSC 501

Organizational Communication (required)


Areas of Specialization (12 credits chosen in the areas listed below):

  • Strategic crisis communication for multisector contexts
  • Multisector governance and policy analysis
  • Social innovation and international communication
  • Communication and computation: advanced theories and methods of science and technology studies
  • Data analytics for multisector communication
  • Information and communication technologies and transformation
  • Information sharing, transfer, cross-cultural knowledge
  • Multisector private-public partnerships and communication
  • ICT for development
  • Multisector communication in emerging economies

You may enroll in existing graduate-level courses in any College or School in the University, with permission of the respective Program Directors or Department Chairs.

Dissertation (6 credits) 

Noncredit Requirements

  • Doctoral research colloquia (You must attend in-person or remotely every month.)
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Mentored research (leading to conference presentation and/or publication submission)
  • Proposal defense
  • Dissertation defense

Noncredit Option: Internship in an international/nonprofit/business organization

Career Outcomes

This Ph.D. program prepares you for upper-level, media management positions as it allows you to cultivate and maintain ongoing partnerships/relationships with international organizations, academia, and the government sector. Leaders from various fields will be involved in the degree program, possibly hosting within their organizations doctoral students who are interested in completing case studies, action research or ethnographic work, or data collection.

Graduates of this program may seek employment in academia in the areas of communication, public relations, corporate communication, strategic communication, industry, and information and communications technology for development and related fields.

In industry, the most common titles may include Change Management Communications Director, Communication Account Executive, Communication Manager, Communication Specialist Manager, Director of Executive Communications, Director of Global Planning, Executive Communication Manager, Internal Communication Executive, Manager/Chief Executive Officer/Executive of Employee Communication, Public Sector Director, and Senior Communication Strategist.

Why Should You Choose St. John’s?

Robust structure

This degree is unique in its structure and modeled after similar programs at the London School of Economics and the University of Leicester. It offers a robust program designed not to be financially burdensome (in alignment with our Vincentian mission) or unduly time-consuming. It attracts both domestic and international students.

Like the European models, the program is designed to be completed within three to 3.5 years as a full-time student, or five to 5.5 years as a part-time student. After you earn your master’s degree, you are required to take an additional 36 credits and a comprehensive exam. You begin your work on a dissertation upon completion of 30 credits, of which 12 credits must be in research methods courses that build qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method study foundations.

You have the option to find dissertation mentors outside the division, College, or University as the topic may demand. At least three credits are designated as research mentorship with the goal of presenting research at reputable academic conferences and submitting a publishable paper to peer-reviewed journals.

Research focus 

Tentative focal points for research, among others, include interorganizational information technology networks; the relationship between communication, knowledge, and power; emerging technologies and new media in interorganizational communication, cultures, values, and digital identities; the disjuncture between global and local communication networks; and critical theories and methods of addressing interorganizational communication across institutions and countries.

More Information

Basilio G. Monteiro, Ph.D.

Basilio G. Monteiro, Ph.D.

Chair and Associate Professor

Division of Mass Communication
Director, Institute for International Communication
[email protected]