ONLINE PhD IN MASS COMMUNICATION
Mass communication(s) is a broad field, spanning traditional media to the contemporary, technology-driven new media (e.g. web and social media). At its core, mass communication is the messaging that is created for, delivered to and consumed by large audiences. A comprehensive academic discipline, the study of mass communication considers the function and effects of the media in its various forms and how it is shaped by and impacts social, cultural, political, and social institutions.
Whether it is the study of how media influences social activities and trends or how consumer behavior informs advertising methods, doctoral-level studies in mass communication integrate communications theory, research methods, and critical analysis. The Ph.D. in mass communication prepares candidates to become academics, teachers, and researchers, but may also offer them pathways to careers in the media-related industries, such as public relations, journalism, advertising, and mass media.
Admissions Information for PhD in Mass Communication Programs
Candidates to doctoral programs in mass communication are usually expected to have a demonstrated interest in communication research by completing a master’s degree in communications or a related field. However, depending on the communication research specializations (e.g. science, politics), some programs may accept students with a graduate degree in other fields, such as biology or political science. Candidates should note that some PhD programs require applicants to have completed the thesis as part of their master’s program as opposed to an applied project or passing comprehensive exams.
There are some PhD programs in mass communication that accept post-baccalaureate students without a master’s degree. However, these programs are not as common as the traditional PhD programs in mass communication that require a master’s degree for admission. Programs that admit students with only a bachelor’s degree typically require applicants to enroll in a master’s-level curricula plan, comprised of master’s level courses that the students would have taken had they completed a master’s degree in mass communication. Once they complete this foundational coursework, students take the qualifying examination to gain entrance into the doctoral program. If they fail that examination, students earn a master’s degree and exit the communications program.
Although admission requirements vary, most mass communications programs share common admission elements, including the following:
The list below highlights example courses students may encounter while completing the PhD in mass communication.
Through their PhD programs, students can specialize their academic studies in the diverse areas, such as the following: