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. Program graduates pursue academic careers as well as professional careers in the corporate sector, non-profit organizations, and health-care organizations.

Reasons to Study Interpersonal Communication at Purdue

  1. Obtain a degree from one of the top-ranked interpersonal communication programs in the nation**

  2. Work with some of the most prolific scholars in the discipline of Communication

  3. Participate in stimulating interpersonal communication courses covering a wide variety of areas

  4. Design a personally tailored plan of study that best suits your needs

  5. Collaborate with faculty members and fellow graduate students on research projects

  6. Conduct research in state of the art facilities for experimental, survey, and observational research

  7. Teach or assist with undergraduate interpersonal communication courses

**Our graduate program in interpersonal communication is rated fourth nationally among the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship’s rankings based on research productivity. We are consistently among the top five programs in the U.S. (e.g., the National Communication Association’s 2004 reputational survey of doctoral programs).

Program Faculty and Areas of Interest

John Greene, Ph.D.Cognitive Processes, Nonverbal Communication, Communication and Aging
Torsten Reimer, Ph.D.Decision Making, Cognitive Processes, Groups and Teams
Felicia Roberts, Ph.D.Sociolinguistics, Institutional & Everyday Talk-in-Interaction
Glenn Sparks, Ph.D. - Mass Media and Personal Relationships
Howard Sypher, Ph.D.Social Cognition, New Communication Technologies
Maria Venetis, Ph.D.Provider-Patient Interactions, Disclosure, Health
Ralph Webb, Ph.D.Culture, Gender, and Communication
Steve Wilson, Ph.D.Influence, Negotiation, Family Communication 

Selected Graduate Course Offerings

Cross-cultural Communication (COM 590); Decision –Making (COM 674); Nonverbal Communication (COM 508); Interpersonal Communication (COM 512); Persuasion (COM 518); Research Methods (Quantitative & Qualitative) and Statistics (COM 582, 585, 682); Seminars (COM 612) with recent topics including: Communication and Emotion, Family Communication Interpersonal Influence, Intimate Violence, Communicating Information and Advice.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Our students benefit from interpersonal faculty connections with many interdisciplinary programs on campus, including the Center for Families, the Center for Education and Research in Information Security and Assurance (CERIAS), and the Center on Aging & the Lifecourse. Students in interpersonal communication are encouraged to supplement their studies with courses offered in Human Development and Family Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, and the Krannert School of Management.  

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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