PhD in Strategic Communication, Advertising and Public Relations


The PhD in Strategic Communication, Advertising and Public Relations covers an area that is currently undergoing intensive development in academia and the professional sphere. The aim is to produce PhD graduates who, by applying scientific research techniques, can develop communicative strategies to:  

  • promote products, ideas and services,
  • plan and monitor dissemination processes,
  • analyse, segment, select and persuade specific groups.


Our research training focuses mainly on strategic communication in the context of Ibero-America, for reasons of cultural proximity, existing ties between our department and top flight Latin-American universities, and the rapidly developing communication and business environment in these countries.


Candidate profile

Students must have academic or professional research experience plus in-depth knowledge and access to the basic conceptual tools of advertising, public relations, marketing, audiovisual communication or journalism, and of other branches of the social sciences, such as sociology, psychology or economics.

Priority is given to applicants with university bachelor's and master's degrees closely related to advertising, public relations, marketing or communication in general.


Professional opportunities

This PhD programme provides the following principal career options.

  • University (and university school) lecturer in the different areas of communication
  • Market research analyst
  • Specialist in market research and public opinion
  • Strategic consultant on communication
  • Branding analyst
  • Field work specialist
  • Web analytics expert


Objectives and justification

The PhD in Strategic Communication, Advertising and Public Relations is a research training programme that covers an area of interest to academia and to the professional world alike. Our PhD graduates are able to apply the scientific method to the development and evaluation of communicative strategies to solve communication problems in areas like promotion of products, ideas and services, brand building and enhancement, media planning, and analysis, segmentation, selection and persuasion of specific groups.
We have detected two very clear phenomena that  determine the focus of this PhD programme:

  1. One of the major lines of service that marketing and market research bring to industry is that of advice on communication actions, for which there is demand in the market. However, few PhD-holding specialists in strategic communication are to be found in firms working in this field.
  2. Professional researchers working in research departments in communication consultancy firms and market research firms come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds: advertising, sociology, marketing, psychology, economics, etc., but only very rarely are they trained up to doctoral level.

For these reasons this doctoral programme has a clear orientation towards professional practice and targets a specific employment niche, while at the same time addressing the instructional needs of those who wish to pursue academic careers.


Research infrastructure

Besides the physical resources for teaching and research that the UAB provides for all its PhD programmes, students on this programme can also make use of the following research infrastructures:

  • an excellent collection of books, documents and audiovisuals specifically related to communication, advertising and public relations, at the Communication Library and General Newspaper Archives;
  • the infrastructures specific to each research group: LAICOM, MIGRACOM, PUBLIRADIO and GRP, equipped with software and audiovisual materials together with their own books and other documents.



David Roca Correa


Composition of the academic tribunal for the PhD programme

  • PhD programme coordinator
  • Head of the department
  • One or two representatives of each of the programme's lines of research


Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Audiovisual Communication
c. de la Vinya - Building I - UAB Campus
08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès). Barcelona. Spain
Phone number: +34 93 581 1529


Number of places available: 10
Fees: aprox. €540 per year View detail of the PhD's fees

Languages in which the thesis may be written:
English, Catalan, Spanish and Portuguese
Organising universities and institutions:
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Associated departments or institutes:
Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Audiovisual Communication

Collaborating institutions:
  • Blood and Tissue Bank
  • University of Guadalajara
  • Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership
  • Eating Disorders Institute (ITA)


Social Sciences and Law

Need more information? Contact the programme manager filling in this form: *Required fields

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