Graduate

PhD in Mass Communication

The PhD program is designed to prepare independent scholars for academic careers in teaching and research in mass communication and related fields. You will build a solid foundation in the discipline through multifaceted exploration of the theories and methods that influence the shape and scope of mass communication research. You are strongly encouraged to develop your own theoretical and methodological approach to mass communication research and to interact and collaborate with our multidisciplinary faculty on cutting-edge research in mass communication in the global and multicultural context.

Application Deadline

The deadline to apply for Fall 2020 admission is January 15, 2020How to apply.
 

Program Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for the PhD program, you must have completed, or be in the process of completing, a master's degree or equivalent advanced degree. 

Once you're admitted to the PhD program, you will work closely with a faculty advisor to select your dissertation field and supporting coursework. Common areas of research include:

  • Advertising
  • Communication law and regulation
  • Health communication
  • History of mass communication
  • International mass communication
  • Journalism studies
  • Mass media structures, processes, and effects
  • Political communication
  • Public relations
     
Fernando Severino
Fernando Severino
PhD Student, Mass Communication

The Hubbard School PhD program has allowed me to develop rigorous research skills in Mass Communication to tackle the most urging academic issues in this field. The nature of this very personalized program offers the opportunity to closely work with your advisor and to collaborate with your peers. In an ever-changing media landscape, the Hubbard School is a great place to pursue an academic career but also thinking of ways to apply this knowledge to improve journalism and mass communication process and  practices that foster democratic values.

Your Career Path

The typical career path for our PhD students is to take a tenure-track academic position at a university. Our PhD graduates have been placed at top-ranked universities in the U.S. and other countries, and have pursued careers at high-profile non-profit organizations, major advertising, public relations and media organizations, research firms, large corporations, and as consultants.
 

Degree Requirements

All PhD students must complete a minimum of 46 graduate credits, 24 thesis credits, and a dissertation. All course work must be taken on an A-F grading basis.

PhD Degree Requirements

All PhD students must complete a minimum of 46 graduate credits, 24 thesis credits, and a dissertation. All course work must be taken on an A-F grading basis.

The following requirements must be fulfilled to complete the Ph.D. program in mass communication:

1. Required Mass Communication Core (7 credits)

  • JOUR 8001: Studies and Theories of Mass Communication (3 cr)
  • One more theory course inside or outside HSJMC (e.g., JOUR 8514) (3 cr)
  • JOUR 8009: Pro-seminar in Mass Communication (1 cr)

2. Required Methodology Core (9 credits)

  • JOUR 8501: Quantitative Mass Communication Research (3 cr)
  • JOUR 8503: Qualitative Methods in Mass Communication Research (3 cr)
  • One additional method course outside of the HSJMC (3 cr)

3. Additional academic requirements:

  • ​An additional 30 credits of course work. Minimum 18 credits of these additional credits must come from HSJMC.
  • Minimum 12 credits of minor or a supporting program courses are also required as part of the additional 30 course credits. This can be achieved by any combination of theory, method and topic seminar courses taken outside the HSJMC.

4. Doctoral thesis credits (24 credits)
5. Preliminary written examination
6. Preliminary oral examination
7. Approved dissertation
8. Final oral examination

 

View curriculum & courses
 

Written and Oral Examinations

Preliminary Written Examination

Preliminary written PhD examinations are scheduled to test mastery of the student's chosen area of study after coursework in the degree program has been completed. Written examinations cover the examinee's dissertation and supporting areas of study, including methodologies and mass communication research coursework.

Comprehensive and aimed at the highest levels of scholarship, the exams are designed to assess abilities in abstract and concrete thought, including an ability to:

  • Conceptualize problems
  • Create and critique research designs
  • Assimilate, associate, and synthesize areas of knowledge
  • Evaluate literature, research, theories, models, and methodologies
  • Discern, discuss, and explain substantive issues, problems, trends, alternative perspectives, and research approaches in both general and specific areas of the field

An examination may include all or any combination of the above. Students should plan ahead and budget preparation time for the examinations. Generally, most students allow at least one semester for review, reading, thought and reflection in preparation for the examination.

Preliminary Oral Examination

  • After the Preliminary Written Examination Report has been submitted to the Graduate School, students may schedule the preliminary oral exam. 
  • Students are responsible for contacting their committee members and scheduling their preliminary oral examination. Students will obtain the Graduate School Doctoral Preliminary Oral Examination Form from the Graduate Student Services and Progress office. After the oral exam is taken and the form is completed, it must be brought to the HSJMC Graduate Studies Office.
  • Preliminary oral examinations must be scheduled with the Graduate School at least one week in advance of the exam.

The preliminary oral examination is administered in compliance with the rules set forth in the Graduate School Catalog. All members of the committee and the student are expected to meet face-to-face for the examination in every circumstance possible. When a faculty member of the graduate committee cannot be present for an examination, special arrangements must be made well in advance with the Director of Graduate Studies.
 

PhD Dissertation Process 

  1. PhD students are eligible to defend their dissertation after they have passed their preliminary written and oral exams, as well having received approval of their dissertation proposal and dissertation from their committee members. PhD candidates work closely with their faculty advisors during the stages of writing their dissertation. Instructions for preparation of the dissertation (e.g.) margins are available from the Graduate School. 
  2. Once your faculty advisor approves your dissertation as ready for review, students can download their graduation packet, and they will be able to access their Reviewers Report Form form in the packet to complete online electronically.  Committee members should have at least two weeks to review your thesis before your final oral examination.  Students and committee members should initiate the Reviewers Report form at least one week prior to their final oral examination. 
  3. Students then can complete the Final Exam form prior to their oral exam in the graduation packet, and the chair of the committee will complete the final exam form online after the exam is completed. 

Final Ph.D. Oral Examinations

A dissertation and final oral examination is required of all PhD candidates and may be completed during your final semester of coursework (if your dissertation is completed by this point). You and all members of the committee are expected to meet face-to-face for the examination in every circumstance possible. When a faculty member of the graduate committee cannot be present for an examination, special arrangements must be made well in advance with the Director of Graduate Studies.

Complete information about the PhD dissertation and the final oral examination can be found in the Hubbard School Graduate Studies Customs and Rules book you receive at orientation, which is also posted on the Intranet.

Transferring Credits

With the approval of your advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), students may bring a limited number of credits with them from other graduate programs.

Learn more about transferring credits

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