Journalism and Mass Communication Doctoral Programs

Doctor of Philosophy

The Ph.D. program in the Gaylord College allows students to examine more deeply the theories that underlie mass communication and to critique mass communication practices. The program also allows students to pursue advanced study in the Gaylord College and to prepare for university-level research and teaching across a variety of areas.

Admission Requirements

The following requirements must be met before a student will be admitted to the doctoral program in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication:

  • 3.50 in previous graduate work
  • Strong Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A one to two-page resume
  • A minimum 1,000-word essay detailing reasons for pursuing the Ph.D., to include the intended future application
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 550 (213 computer-based)

A minimum of three years of professional experience in a mass communication field is preferred.

Excellent candidates who do not meet admission requirements will be given careful consideration.

Retention and graduation standards reflect OU Graduate College policies.

In addition to taking coursework aimed at fostering research, students must prepare an original research paper for presentation in an annual mini-conference each year until admitted to candidacy.

Areas of Concentration

The program offers three areas of concentration:

News and Information

Emphasizes performance, critical analysis, effects, representations and the community-building potential of news and information media. Faculty expertise: organizational management; media ethics and normative theory, media law, race and gender, media credibility, and international/intercultural/ethnic media.

Strategic Communication

Emphasizes a broad spectrum of theoretical and practice-oriented research topics and problems in public relations and advertising. Faculty expertise: rhetorical analysis; race and gender, international public relations, law, new media advertising, crisis communication, organizational behavior, and message strategy and tactics.

Media Arts

Emphasizes performance, critical analysis, effects, representations and the community-building potential of entertainment and experimental media including visual digital and video; audio; multimedia, and long-form print media. Faculty expertise: creative, writing, script writing, documentary film, multimedia, video, and digital production.

Areas of Emphasis within Concentrations

Doctoral students will be encouraged to design a flexible, interdisciplinary program targeting an area of emphasis within these concentrations. Some examples are: history; media management and economics; media ethics; visual communication, international communication, and communication theory and methodology. Students will be guided in making these choices through consultation with their committees and by examining topic areas as defined in leading professional organizations such as the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and the International Communication Association. These choices will allow students to tailor courses to their interests and plan dissertation topics accordingly.

Ph.D. Curriculum

The doctor of philosophy in journalism and mass communication requires a minimum of 90 credit hours, with varying amounts of master’s and doctoral transfer credits to be determined by the Gaylord College Graduate Committee, Graduate Director and Graduate College.

Core Classes (37 minimum hours):

  • JMC 5093 or a graduate-level methods course from another college at the university, or a methods course from another institution.
  • JMC 5073 or three hours of graduate-level elective (if course was taken at M.A. level).
  • JMC 6133 or three hours of 6000-level electives as approved by the student’s advisory committee (if JMC 5133 was taken at M.A. level).
  • JMC 6113 or three hours of 6000-level electives as approved by the student’s advisory committee (if JMC 5113 was taken at M.A. level).
  • JMC 6083 or three hours of 6000-level electives as approved by the student’s advisory committee (if JMC 5083 was taken at the M.A. level).
  • JMC 6183
  • JMC 6091, minimum of four semesters required
  • An additional three-hour research methods course and/or a graduate-level statistics course from outside the Gaylord College.
  • JMC 6980, minimum of 12 credit hours

Concentration and Emphasis (minimum 24 hours):

  • 9 hours minimum – Courses in concentration - Students will choose one of the following areas and take Advanced Topics in that area at least three times for a total of 9 hours. With approval of their advisory committees, students may divide the 9 hours among more than one of the Advanced Topics areas: JMC 6153, JMC 6163, JMC 6173, or 15 hours minimum in secondary area of emphasis outside JMC.

Other Requirements

The student’s emphasis will be defined in the plan of study and will likely include courses from two or more departments.

Numerous possibilities for interdisciplinary study exist in the university. Given the breadth of intellectual grounding in mass communication study, possible departments are many, including Anthropology, Communication, History, Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology, Human Relations, Marketing, and Management. The secondary-emphasis requirement will enable students to take maximum advantage of these opportunities.

Total from Above Requirements: 61 hours (minimum)

Remaining hours to bring degree total to 90 will come from a combination of additional electives taken during the student’s doctoral study at OU, transfer credit, or both.