Annenberg School for Communication

Home to 22 full-time faculty members, more than 70 doctoral students, more than 20 postdoctoral fellows, 81 research and support staff, and 15 research centers and programs, the Annenberg School is the nation's premiere doctoral program in Communication.

As the smallest of 12 schools at Penn, it is a close-knit and supportive environment for innovative scholarship. The school hosts a variety of academic events every year, including the Elihu Katz Colloquium Series; the Annenberg and Gerbner Lectures, and numerous other lectures, master classes, workshops, conferences, and symposia.

In addition to bringing some of the world’s top scholars to Annenberg as visiting scholars and guest lecturers, the school provides generous funding to encourage our graduate students to present their research at national and international communication conferences and travel globally for their dissertation research, making the school a stepping off point to the world of global scholarship.

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In 1958, publisher, diplomat, and philanthropist Walter Annenberg founded the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania with these words:

“Every human advancement or reversal can be understood through communication. The right to free communication carries with it responsibility to respect the dignity of others – and this must be recognized as irreversible. Educating students to effectively communicate this message and to be of service to all people is the enduring mission of this school.”

Over the ensuing years the Annenberg School has remained true to the mission articulated by Ambassador Annenberg, while responding to changes in both the nature of communication as a social process and in Communication as a discipline and an interdisciplinary field of study. Today, we advance our mission through four central goals:

  • Producing and disseminating cutting-edge scholarly research designed to advance our theoretical and empirical understanding of the role of communication in public and private life.
  • Producing and disseminating high-quality applied research designed to advance the public’s understanding and effective use of communication, and policy-makers’ ability to create a media environment that fosters the personal and collective development of its citizens.
  • Educating Ph.D. graduate students in the theories, substance, and methods of communication research and placing them in leading academic and professional positions in the field.
  • Providing a first-class liberal arts education to undergraduates, designed to help them become better consumers and producers of public information, strengthen their understanding of the role of communication in their personal, professional and civic lives, and prepare them for private and public-sector leadership positions in communication-related and other fields.
The Annenberg School stands at the forefront of basic and applied empirical research on the institutions, processes, nature, and consequences of communication. This research is based on theories, methods, and knowledge emerging from our own discipline as well those adapted from cognate disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Many Annenberg faculty members are jointly appointed or hold secondary faculty positions in other schools and departments at Penn. Annenberg faculty and students regularly collaborate with each other and with faculty, researchers, and students from Penn’s other distinguished schools and centers.   
The result of this inter- and intra-disciplinary research network is a faculty and student body with the theoretical, methodological and substantive breadth, depth, and agility to produce cutting-edge research on the most pressing communication-centered issues of the twenty-first century.
We invite you to learn more about Annenberg's core research areas, our research centers, labs and working groups, and our grant-related research projects. 
Research Topics
Annenberg faculty, students, and staff have particular expertise in several intersecting and evolving research areas.
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Research Centers

Collaborative research is common at the Annenberg School, often taking place through our established centers and labs, as well as through a variety of more informal research working groups.

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