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2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  Jun 16, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

Mass Communications, Ph.D.

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The Ph.D. in mass communications prepares students for teaching and research careers in higher education and for research and management positions with mass communications organizations.

The doctoral program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications is small and selective, permitting students a considerable degree of flexibility in tailoring courses and areas of study to fit their special needs and career goals.

The doctoral core requirements, listed below, are designed to equip the student with a strong background in quantitative and qualitative social science research methods and design, communications theory, ethical perspectives, historical and legal research methods, and teaching methods. Required courses include the basic doctoral core, a minimum of  18 graduate hours of directed electives, and a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation credit.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcome 1 (Theories): Students will demonstrate understanding of communication theories necessary to teach college-level courses and to carry out formal research. 
  • Learning Outcome 2 (Subject Areas): Students will demonstrate overall understanding of specialized topics of the student s interest necessary to teach college-level courses and to carry out scholarly research. 
  • Learning Outcome 1 (Teaching Knowledge and Skills): Students will demonstrate thorough knowledge of theories and practices of university-level instruction. 
  • Learning Outcome 2 (Teaching Applications and Experiences): Students will be able to apply their knowledge and skills to teaching journalism and mass communications. 
  • Learning Outcome 1 (Research Methods): Students will demonstrate a thorough knowledge of advanced statistics, quantitative research methodology, and qualitative research methodology appropriate for journalism and mass communications scholarship, including the application of such knowledge in their own research and the ability to correctly evaluate peer-reviewed research. 
  • Learning Outcome 2 (Writing and Presenting Research): Students will demonstrate effective writing and presentation skills and the application of those skills in journalism and mass communications scholarship suitable for high-level peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations. 

Degree Requirements (57 Post Master’s Degree Hours)

To earn the Ph.D. in mass communications, the student must successfully complete:

1. Qualifying Examination

A qualifying examination, administered at the beginning of the student’s program. This examination, largely diagnostic in nature, will help the faculty in planning the student’s program of study.

2. Course Requirements (57 Post Master’s Degree Hours)

Mass Communication Electives (12 Hours)*

At least 12 hours in approved mass communication electives from JOUR courses at 700/800 levels.

Courses in Another Field of Study (9 Hours)*

At least 9 hours in another field of study, such as economics, business, political science, history, education, library science, or English; normally the three courses would be in the same academic discipline. However, for example, a student interested in modern Africa might take one course in history, one in political science, and a third in sociology with approval from the faculty.


* At least 6 hours from Mass Communications Electives and Courses in Another Field of Study must be in research methods beyond core course requirements of the Ph.D. and Master’s degree programs (may include JOUR courses).

Dissertation Preparation (12 hours)

A minimum of 12 hours of dissertation preparation work is required.

3. Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination is based on doctoral coursework; this examination is administered in 2 parts: a 12-hour written examination (4 three-hour sets of questions taken over 5 consecutive business days) and an oral defense before the student’s comprehensive examination committee. The comprehensive exam and oral defense will cover theory, research, a third area of emphasis in mass communication and an outside area.

4. Residency Requirement

The University’s residency requirements apply, which means the student must be enrolled for at least 6 semester hours during 3 consecutive semesters.

5. Dissertation Defense

The doctoral dissertation must be successfully defended before the student’s dissertation committee.

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