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Doctorate in Journalism and Mass Communication

  • Journalism Minor
  • Bachelor of Science - News and Information
  • Bachelor of Science - Strategic Communication
  • Master of Science in Journalism
  • Doctorate in Journalism and Mass Communication

The PhD program requires a total of 56 course credit hours (18 3-hour courses, 1 1-hour statistics laboratory, plus a 1-hour pro-seminar) plus dissertation hours, which are variable.  35 course hours are prescribed, 21 are elective.  The student takes a 12-hour concentration in one unit outside of Journalism.  Students who hold a master’s in journalism may have this 56-hour requirement adjusted (a maximum of 18 credits) due to prior course work.  The student completes study of appropriate research skills, designed in consultation with the faculty advisor.  The student also must meet KU’s requirements for dissertation hours.

The PhD program offers intensive rigorous education in research skills leading to the student’s dissertation proposal and dissertation.  All Journalism electives have an expectation of significant original research leading to publication.

The PhD student takes a 17-hour core of interdisciplinary study of scholarly theory and methodology in mass communications and a second discipline.  The program requires 9 hours of enrichment in ethics and legal issues, grants development and administration, and university-level faculty development.  The student then applies those principles to a specialized area in another discipline, such as Communications Studies, Public Administration, Political Science, Health Policy and Management, units in the School of Education or others for 9 hours of coursework.  The student works with an advisor in that discipline to plan that part of the program.

The student also will complete a minimum of 12 hours (4 courses) in Journalism 840-level seminars.  Each seminar is research-based, and requires the student to complete an original research project.  Each seminar is geared to advance the student’s competency in the methodology and theory of the discipline.  The student is encouraged to do publishable work building towards the dissertation and his/her research trajectory.  The papers and presentations in these seminars are primary components of the student’s research portfolio.  The student also will build his/her research competency in courses in the concentration in another unit.  That work, too, is expected to form a part of the student’s research portfolio.

The student also must complete KU’s research skills and responsible scholarship requirement.  The PhD student will select theory and methodology courses appropriate to his/her proposed research trajectory, as reflected in the student’s positioning statement of research and teaching goals and interests.  Training in responsible and ethical scholarship will be included in J-900 Pro-seminar.

Once admitted to candidacy, the student completes KU’s dissertation hours requirement, producing a dissertation acceptable to his/her committee.

The PhD program will have an MSJ option for students who, for whatever reason, may not complete the PhD.  Students may earn the MSJ by completing: J-818, J-750, PRE 710 & 711, J-801, J-802, J-803, two J-840 seminars, a concentration of two courses inside or outside of the School, and one additional elective.  The student then must produce an acceptable thesis (enrolling in J-899).  The MSJ student must successfully present and defend the thesis.


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Learn about careers, internships & jobs

The Journalism Career Center helps J-School students explore their career options and find internships and jobs. Patty Noland, the J-School's Career Development Coordinator, is ready to help you at any stage in your college career—whether you're just beginning to explore the possibilities or you're ready to enter the job market. 

Schedule an appointment today!

Best ad staff in the nation: 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012. —College Newspaper Business & Advertising Managers
85 percent of classes have fewer than 50 students
2nd place: Hearst Foundation “College Pulitzers” national writing contest, 2011
Top-ranked teachers, including National Journalism Teacher of the Year Doug Ward
71 percent of classes have 30 or fewer students
Students prepare marketing projects for Sprint, Coca-Cola, NASA, and other corporations
81 percent of 2011 journalism graduates were employed full time six months after graduating
—University of Georgia study