The department offers one of the top three Ph.D. programs in the United States and is recognized internationally for being a pioneer in establishing communication as an academic field for basic and applied research. Current research topics include deception, social media, interpersonal relationships, organizational communication, and health and risk communication. Researchers are funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Michigan Department of Community Health and the Department of Defense.
Faculty and graduate students have won awards for top paper, applied research, career achievement from the International Communication Association (ICA) and the national Communication Association among others. The department holds the distinction of having more ICA Fellows than any other college, and also includes Fulbright Scholars, University Distinguished Faculty and Excellence in Teaching award recipients.