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Scholarship in interpersonal communication focuses on the study of fundamental processes that occur in all social interaction (message production and interpretation). Additionally, such scholarship explores the codes (verbal and nonverbal) through which everyday interactions are accomplished and the functions that people pursue in these interactions such as persuading, informing, and providing support. We 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. We’ll work with you to design a personally-tailored plan of study that best suits your needs and interests.
  2. The flexibility in our program allows you to earn credit within the School and across campus in a wide range of courses and certificate programs of interest to interpersonal scholars
  3. You’ll collaborate with faculty members and fellow graduate students to conduct research using a variety of methods, whether experimental, survey, or observational and qualitative.
  4. As a student and an educator, you’ll teach or assist with undergraduate interpersonal communication courses.


Program Faculty and Areas of Interest

  • Emily Buehler: Supportive communication, computer-mediated communication
  • John Greene: Cognitive processes, nonverbal communication, communication and aging
  • Melanie Morgan: Aging and communication, science communication
  • Torsten Reimer: Decision making, cognitive processes, groups and teams
  • Felicia Roberts: Sociolinguistics, institutional and everyday talk-in-interaction
  • Howard Sypher: Social cognition, new communication technologies
  • Ralph Webb: Culture, gender, and communication

Selected Graduate Course Offerings

Cross-cultural Communication; Interpersonal Communication Theory; Nonverbal Communication; Persuasion; Research Methods (Quantitative & Qualitative) and Statistics; Seminars with recent topics including: Interpersonal Influence, Decision Making, Personal Relationships and Technology, Gender Communication, and Interpersonal Communication in Health Contexts

Interdisciplinary Connections

Our students benefit from faculty connections with many interdisciplinary programs on campus. Students are encouraged to supplement their studies with courses offered in Anthropology, Human Development and Family Studies, Linguistics, Psychology, and Sociology and to explore opportunities in allied research centers, such as Center on Aging & the Lifecourse, Center for Education and Research in Information Security, Center for Families, and the Military Family Research Institute.