One of the primary purposes of communication in representative political systems is to exchange ideas and opinions about how to govern ourselves. Courses in the political communication area concentration examine how citizens and communities talk among themselves, how public officials make decisions together, and how citizens and officeholders talk to each other. Some courses also explore the role of communication in autocratic political regimes.

The University of Washington also offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. award in Political Communication. To learn more about this award, click here.


The faculty listed below emphasize this area of study in their teaching and research, though most have additional areas of expertise. This list is not exhaustive, as many University of Washington faculty outside the Department of Communication also teach courses and conduct research in this area.

Baldasty Powers
Bennett Kielbowicz
Ceccarelli McGarrity
Domke Moy
Fearn-Banks Rivenburgh
Foot Underwood


Graduate students who wish to learn more about political communication can enroll in the Department of Communication courses listed below. Students also typically enroll in other courses within and outside the Department, and students are welcome to develop programs of study that combine different area emphases.

COM 511 Content Analysis
COM 513 Fieldwork Research Methods
COM 514 Experimental Design
COM 516 Descriptive And Analytic Comm Research Methods
COM 517 Survey Research
COM 520 Statistical Methods in Communication
COM 521 Advanced Statistical Methods in Communication
COM 542 Readings in Comm History
COM 543 Research Seminar in Historic and Contemporary Comm
COM 545 Development of Mass Comm
COM 547 Telecommunications Policy and Convergent Media
COM 549 Mass Comm Process and Effects
COM 550 European Union Information Society Policy
COM 551 Comm and Politics
COM 553 Public Opinion and Comm
COM 554 Discourse and the Politics of Resistance
COM 555 Political Deliberation
COM 556 Political Comm Research Practicum
COM 557 Government and Mass Comm
COM 559 Media and Foreign Policy
COM 565 Mass Media Structure
COM 567 Ethnicity, Gender, and Comm
COM 570 Organizational Comm
COM 572 Comm, Identity, and Social Change