PhD in Communication
The PhD in Communication offered by the Journalism and Mass Communication program is dedicated to interdisciplinary inquiry into the social, political, economic and cultural dimensions of media, nationally and internationally, historically and in contemporary societies.
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Because of the centrality of communication and media in social and individual life, media theory and research draw from a wide range of fields and disciplines, including political science, sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, history, linguistics, economics, anthropology, business, psychology, literature, law and public policy. The interdisciplinary nature of media studies is reflected in the research interests of the graduate faculty and in the curriculum, in which students take a significant portion of their course work outside the program and receive training in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The program’s PhD program focuses on the following two areas:
- The range of theories, paradigmatic approaches and studies that have contributed centrally to the field. The program attends to the full range of interdisciplinary theory and perspective drawn from relevant domains in the social and behavioral sciences, the humanities and associated professional fields.
- The institutional sources of cultural meaning, the history and development of media industries and systems, and their relationships to other social institutions. The program asks questions about organiztion and structure, ownership and control, law and policy resources and technology, and proper professional practices. The media/cultural industries are studied as national and transnational institutions bound by exterior and interior realities and engaged in the social construction of media content, as foundaries for the creation of meaning in social life.
Doctoral students in the Media Studies program must take 42 hours of course work, pass the written and oral comprehensive examinations at the conclusion of course work, and prepare and defend a dissertation. The course work includes a two-semester Proseminar (6 hours), which is required of all first-year doctoral students in the program; 15-18 hours in one or two areas of emphasis within the program; 12-15 hours of electives, taken outside the program; and 6 hours of the qualitative and quantitative methods courses offered within the program. 3 hours of graduate – level course credits may be considered for transfer into the doctoral program on a case-by-case review.
Applicants to the PhD program in Media Studies are expected to hold the master’s degree or equivalent graduate work. In certain cases, applicants without a master’s degree may be admitted.
We encourage your application if your record and interests promise success in the program and you aspire to actively engage in scholarly investigation of media and communication. Completed domestic applications must be received by the program no later than Jan. 1 prior to the fall semester for which entrance is sought. International applications should be submitted by Dec. 1. Late applications may be considered under special circumstances.
Successful applications typically meet or exceed the following criteria:
- A cumulative Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in which the combined verbal and quantitative scores equal at least 301 (1,100 pre 2011).
- Undergraduate cumulative grade point average of at least 3.20 and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in previous graduate work, if any.
- Three references predicting academic success.
- Original written work exhibiting the ability to undertake the conceptual and empirical studies required of doctoral students (e.g., a chapter from a master’s thesis or graduate-level term paper).
- A statement of purpose of at least 700 words.
- A resume including academic and employment experience and other relevant information.
Meeting these criteria does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Because we accept relatively few new doctoral students each fall, we may have more qualified applicants than available positions.
Financial aid in the form of fellowships, assistantships and tuition stipends is available to doctoral students in the Media Studies program, depending on university funding.
Journalism and Mass Communication
1511 University Ave.
University of Colorado, Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0478