Journalism PhD Program Information

Doctoral journalism programs go over topics of journalism application, research methodology and theory, teaching, and legal issues through coursework and internships.

Essential Information

Ph.D. programs in journalism are geared towards individuals with experience in news and broadcasting who want to further their expertise. Prerequisites include a bachelor's and master's degree, appropriate standardized test scores, writing samples and a statement of intent. With relevant work and/or educational experience, master's degrees may be waived.

Curriculum is research and theory based, with a flexible design. Students can develop their own plans of study around their career goals and can choose from a variety of concentrations, such as First Amendment law and gender issues in journalism. These programs usually last 5 years and require the completion of a dissertation and internship for graduation.

Ph.D. in Journalism

There are opportunities to interact with professionals through cooperative education experiences. These programs necessitate acceptable Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, writing samples and a statement of purpose for admission. Journalism doctoral programs primarily consist of theory classes and offer a more in-depth look at topics introduced in undergraduate programs. Required courses and elements include media communications teaching, mass media research, freedom of expression theory and a dissertation. In some cases, participants have to take a second-language proficiency class. Common courses include:

  • Mass communication history
  • Media and culture theory
  • Ethical issues in journalism
  • Telecommunication law
  • Advertising theory
  • Contemporary issues in journalism

Popular Career Options

Graduates typically pursue careers in education, research and consulting. Other popular roles are:

  • University journalism professors
  • Media analysts
  • Research consultants
  • Advertising specialists
  • Journalism education program administrators

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for reporters/correspondents was expected to decline by 8% between 2014-2024. For post-secondary professors it was predicted grow by 13% for the same period. These professions had mean annual wages of $46,500 and $71,060, as of May 2015 (, respectively. The decline in journalistic positions is reported to be the result of decreasing advertising revenue from a surge in online media.

Continuing Education Information

A Ph.D. in Journalism is considered to be the terminal degree in the field. Some graduates may pursue degrees in other areas to complement their interests. For example, a degree in law would benefit an individual involved in political reporting. Some schools offer joint programs in journalism and related disciplines.

Doctoral journalism programs can help students delve deeper into areas of the field they wish to specialize in, often entailing internship programs providing hands-on experience. These programs can prepare students for careers in teaching related subjects as well as professions in media, research, and more.

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