Ohio University

The Doctoral Degree

The School of Media Arts and Studies and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism jointly offer the doctoral program in Mass Communication. Applicants apply to one of the two schools depending on their research interests.

In the School of Media Arts and Studies, doctoral students specialize in research areas related to international media, media industry studies, or emerging media and culture. A list of Recent Dissertations completed by graduates of the School of Media Arts and Studies provides examples of the ways in which graduate students have interpreted these research areas according to their specializations during the past seven years.

The doctoral program is a three-year course of study. In the first year, students primarily develop their knowledge of mass communication theory and research, select an advisor and other members of their program committee, and begin work in their area of specialization. Students are expected to remain on campus and enroll for courses during the summer between years 1 and 2. The second year consists primarily of directed research with their advisor and additional coursework in the area of specialization, the minor area, and research tools. This work reflects a continuing refinement of each student’s program focus and objectives. The year ends with completion of the comprehensive examination during the summer and formal approval of a proposed topic of dissertation research early in the fall. The third year is then devoted to dissertation research and writing.

Typical Doctoral Program of Study Outline

YEAR 1 (Fall)- 13 credit hours
MDIA 6000, Introduction to Graduate Study (1 cr. hr.)
MDIA 6010, Introduction to Mass Communication Research
MDIA 7700, Mass Communication Theory

Seminar in the student's area of specialization (minimum of 4 total for program) OR
Seminar in the student's secondary area (minimum of 2 total for program) OR
Research tools course (minimum of 2 total for program)

YEAR 1 (Spring)- 13 credit hours
MDIA 6020, Quantitative Research Methods OR
MDIA 6030, Qualitative Research Methods

MDIA 7000, Professional Seminar in Media Arts & Studies (1 cr. hr.)
MDIA 7720, Critical-Cultural Theory

Seminar in the student's area of specialization (minimum of 4 total for program) OR
Seminar in the student's secondary area (minimum of 2 total for program) OR
Research tools course (minimum of 2 total for program)

YEAR 1 (Summer)- minimum 9 credit hours
2-3 courses--research tool, or a seminar in the student's area of specialization or a secondary area

YEAR 2 (Fall)- 12 to 16 credit hours
MDIA 7940, Directed Research
Seminar in the student's area of specialization (minimum of 4 total for program)
Seminar in the student's secondary area (minimum of 2 total for program)
Research tools course (minimum of 2 total for program)

YEAR 2 (Spring)- 13 to 17 credit hours
MDIA 6020, Quantitative Research Methods OR
MDIA 6030, Qualitative Research Methods

MDIA 7000, Professional Seminar in Media Arts & Studies (1 cr. hr.)
MDIA 7940, Directed Research

Seminar in the student's area of specialization (minimum of 4 total for program) OR
Seminar in the student's secondary area (minimum of 2 total for program) OR
Research tools course (minimum of 2 total for program)

YEAR 2 (Summer)
Any remaining required course work
Comprehensive Exam

Doctoral Advisory Committees

Program of study and dissertation committees include:

  • an advisor from the School of Media Arts and Studies who holds a Ph.D
  • an additional faculty member from the School of Media Arts and Studies
  • a faculty member from one of the other schools in the Scripps College of Communication
  • a faculty member from outside the Scripps College of Communications (on the dissertation committee, this person is designated as the Dean’s Representative).

Due to the nature of advising, a good match between student and advisor in terms of topic is essential.  During the application review process, the Graduate Admissions Committee for the School of Media Arts & Studies considers how well an applicant’s scholarly interests match the our faculty’s research areas and expertise.
Doctoral students work closely with their advisors to develop their program of study and research specialization. Because earning a Ph.D. in Mass Communication at Ohio University is research intensive, students are encouraged to present their work at conferences as well as to publish their work in communication or related journals. Your advisor is also a professional mentor who provides guidance on presenting at conferences, getting work published, and finding employment following completion of the degree.