Communication is at the core of our understanding of our world and the cultures that compose humanity. It is the means through which humans teach, learn, negotiate, lead, express emotions and conduct commerce.

Scholars in the UC Davis Department of Communication examine communication theories, channels, technologies and message content from a bottom-up (micro) and a top-down (macro) perspective in a multidisciplinary context. Bottom-up communication converts collections of individuals into communities and societies, constructs societies' collective identities, and facilitates social evolution. Top-down communication primes people's perception of reality, their social context, and their personal evolution.

  • Technology in Communication
  • The ongoing digital revolution has intensified the role of technology in communication. Digitalization is so powerful that technological systems now for the first time mediate the majority of human communication. We spend 8 of our 11 hours of daily net communication time communicating with or via some kind of technology. The outcome is the global socio-technological ecosystem that constitutes the current driving force of social evolution.
  • Communication in Society
  • We view communication as the point at which the realms of the individual, technology and society intersect and overlap. The communicated message itself is at the center of our approach to understand reality.

    communication in society

    From here, communication informs the most diverse disciplines by contributing a distinctive focus on the messages that link social structures as diverse as interpersonal relationships, businesses, conversations, citizenries, communities, social networks, entertainment audiences and political systems. As such, our approach is naturally interdisciplinary and turns out to be especially relevant during the current times of intense technological changes that affect how people and social systems communicate.

  • Distinctions of our Department

  • The UC Davis Department of Communication is composed of faculty members who have attained notable distinctions in their field. Our research faculty is augmented by a roster of dedicated continuing lecturers who bring to the classroom a wide variety of practical experience in various aspects of communication. Our faculty members have earned international recognition for their insightful research in wide-ranging applications of communication, including corporate messaging, public relations, health care and physician-patient relationships, survey research, news propagation, online games and virtual reality, organizational communication, international development, work process engineering, and other pursuits.

  • Why Study Communication?

  • Many of the ills in the world are attributable to miscommunication. At the same time, communication is currently the driver of our digital age. As communication scholars, we analyze opportunities, flaws and limitations in the means through which humans communicate, and seek ways through which human, technological and social interactions can become more constructive and effective. The undergraduate major prepares students for careers in communication as well as for graduate studies in communication and related disciplines. Students in our department gain understanding of phenomena related to social media, public health communication, the political process, the history and evolution of human communication, the relationships between communication and globalization, and other facets of society.

  • Careers in Communication

  • Communication studies prepares students to pursue positions in a wide variety of occupational fields, including industrial and labor relations, public information, opinion research, legislative staff positions, mediation and negotiation, legal research, business management and other disciplines in which effective communication is essential.

  • History of the Department

  • The Department of Communication at UC Davis has shown a similar pattern of rapid evolution over the past 40 years as the field of Communication itself. Established as the "Department of Rhetoric" in 1966, its primary focus was on humanistic approaches to communication study in the tradition of classical rhetorical scholarship. The Department established a masters program in 1971. With the addition of faculty trained in the social sciences, the Department’s name was changed to "Department of Rhetoric and Communication" in 1987. The advent of a divisional structure in the College of Letters and Science in 1995 led the Department to become part of the Division of Social Sciences. In 1998 the Department became the "Department of Communication", housing a faculty exclusively concerned with quantitative, social scientific approaches to the study of communication. Current faculty members’ research interests in the social interaction, the technological mediation of communication, and computational methods mirror major research areas that have developed in the field at large.