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Ph.D. in Mass Communication

Ph.D in Mass Communication

Mass Communication Ph.D. – a joint program with the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the School of Media Arts and Studies

We are pioneers in journalism education and research and media studies scholarship. Scripps’ Mass Communication doctoral graduates hold key positions at colleges and universities around the world. We lead scholarly organizations and are professors, chairs and deans at Carnegie R1 institutions. We focus on innovation in our changing media environment.

Our faculty have significant experience in industry and the academy, preparing our doctoral students for research in journalism, mass communication, strategic communication (advertising and public relations), social media, data analytics, critical cultural studies, First Amendment theory and policy, media ethics and history, political communication, and international communication.

Scripps offers a caring community where students collaborate with faculty, each other and scholars across our university community. We provide students with mentorship in their academic areas, in scholarly publishing, in the timely completion of their degrees as well as assistance with job placement.

Our financial aid (tuition waivers and stipends) are highly competitive, and we offer travel grants for students to present their research across the country and the world. Recently, doctoral students have presented their research and completed field work in such countries as Romania, England, China, Germany, Cambodia and India, just to name a few.

We offer the prestigious Scripps Howard Teaching Fellowship to our best candidates who have significant professional experience in the news industry. Doctoral students have the opportunity to teach some of the best undergraduate media, journalism and strategic communication majors in the country.

Our students are driven to conduct research that strengthens democracy, improves health communication in an effort to improve health outcomes, and focuses on media for and about under-represented groups. Join us in the beautiful foothills of Appalachia, in Athens, Ohio, a small town with a world view.

About the Program

Meet current students

Program outcomes

Past graduate students have on gone on to work as faculty at universities and colleges, professionals in the media production industry, researchers and activists at NGOs, and journalists around the world. Learn more about our program alumni.

How to Apply

Please apply through OHIO's Graduate College portal. The Ph.D. in Mass Communication program has two tracks: choose program code PH5307 for Media Arts and Studies (MDIA), and program code PH5308 for Journalism (JOUR). 

Applications are accepted for fall admission only (the start of the academic year). For each academic year's admissions, the application portal will open on September 30 the year prior.  

We ask for the following materials as part of your application:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Optional. We encourage the submission of GRE scores, but we will evaluate each applicant in a holistic manner. If you are including your GRE scores, they must be sent by the testing agency to the Graduate College. Please note in your application if you are not submitting scores. 
  • International applicants must provide TOEFL or IELTS scores to the Graduate College, except for those who fulfill one of the exemptions listed here. No other test of English proficiency (such as Duolingo) can be accepted as a substitute.
  • Official transcripts from all universities previously attended
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose: 500-1,000 words explaining your reasons for pursuing a Ph.D. in Mass Communication, and why you would be a strong applicant for an Ohio University doctoral program
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample
  • The GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS reporting code for Ohio University is 1593.

You also are welcome to submit samples of your professional work, but they are not required.

Applicants should have a Master's degree. You need not have an undergraduate major or master’s degree in mass communication, media studies, or journalism to apply for a Ph.D. in mass communication. However, the admissions committee will look favorably on relevant academic and professional experience.

Application deadlines:

The deadline for all applicants (U.S. citizens/permanent residents and non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents) is January 2, 2024.


Graduate assistantships are competitively awarded based on academic record, professional experience, recommendations and current needs of the School of Media Arts and Studies and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. All doctoral students with a graduate assistantship are required to work a minimum of 15 hours per week (and no more than 20 hours) in exchange for a stipend and full tuition waiver and may be assigned as teaching assistants, research assistants, or instructors. 

Ohio University student sits on her porch, typing on a laptop with an OHIO mug

Contact us

For questions or more information about our doctoral program, contact:


Professor, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism; Associate Dean, Scripps College of Communication
Schoonover Center 231
Associate Professor and Graduate Director, Media Arts and Studies
School of Media Arts & Studies
Schoonover Center 303