Jun 25, 2021  
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2013-2015 
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2013-2015 [Archived Catalog]

Communication and Development Studies

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Comm Dev students come to Ohio University from all over the world … our graduates then work throughout the world to promote positive social change, with organizations such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Many of our students go on to earn Doctoral Degrees.


About the program

The Communication & Development Studies master’s degree program emphasizes the use of communication to promote positive social change. The “Comm Dev” curriculum includes core courses focusing on Communication and Social Change, Research Methods, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), and Communication Theory. As a truly interdisciplinary program, Comm Dev students then build upon this core by devising a curriculum that suits their individual objectives, drawing upon courses in graduate programs from across Ohio University. Over the past few years, Comm Dev students have specialized in areas that include, among others, health communication, participatory video, entertainment-education, the digital divide, gender and development, educational technology, conflict resolution, and the political economy of media. Our program encourages original research, with most students completing a thesis or project.

An international program

Approximately three-quarters of our students come from outside the United States. Incoming cohorts often include Fulbright Scholars, OSI Fellows, and Return Peace Corps Volunteers. Comm Dev students are typically involved in local service learning projects, and they often complete summer internships in countries throughout the world. Incoming cohorts average between 12-14 students, which allows for intensive interaction with faculty and direct guidance in relation to a given student’s interests. We offer financial assistance to most of the students admitted into the program.

What a Comm Dev degree can do for you

Comm Dev graduates often pursue professional careers with international NGOs, government agencies, and as consultants. Many also seek careers as teachers and in higher education. Each year a number of our graduates enroll in PhD programs.

What Comm Dev graduates are doing today

Graduates from our program are currently:

  • Working for UNICEF, the Centers for Disease Control, Population Services International, USAID, the Institute of African Studies, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, among others.
  • Faculty members at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the University of Oklahoma, Temple University, and various other universities throughout the U.S. and world.
  • In doctoral programs at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Tokyo, Indiana University, the University of California Davis, Ohio University, and elsewhere.

Additional Information

To learn more about or to apply to the program, contact the Comm Dev Program Director, Dr. Lawrence Wood, by email or phone:


Phone: 740.593.1833

Communication and Development Studies

Ohio University

Yamada International House

Athens, OH 45701-2979


Course Concentration

  • CommDev Colloquium:  5 credit hours
  • Communication core:  5 courses (25 credits)
  • Development Theory: 1 course (5 credits)
  • Area Studies:  3 courses  (15 credits)
  • Development Specialization:  1 course (5 credits)
  • Internship (up to 5 credits toward required 70)
  • Service Learning Project (4 credits) [formally Capstone Project]
  • Capstone Requirement:  comprehensive exam, professional project or thesis

Development Theory Component

In addition to attending colloquium, students select courses that focus on theories of development and social change. Courses must be approved by the director before enrollment.

Area Studies

Regional area studies courses concentrating on Africa, Southeast Asia, or Latin America can be chosen from course lists available from each area studies program. Programs may also be developed in other geographical areas such as South Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, etc. in consultation with the director.

Development Specialization

The development specialization is conceived as a professional skills component. Selection of courses depends upon individual goals and objectives. Examples of possible specialization areas include: public health, gender issues, environmental
conservation, economic development, social marketing, information and communication technologies, entertainment-education, journalism, electronic media production, and development administration. Students are encouraged to work with the director in planning their specialization.

Proficiency in a Second Language

Please see Center for International Studies criteria to meet this requirement.

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