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Doctor of Philosophy in Journalism

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Degree Requirements

The William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications offers the Ph.D. degree, beginning fall 2012. The school has a solid reputation based in the profession and our faculty study issues and uses of real-world media communications. We seek junior colleagues who share those interests.

Our Ph.D. program is small and, therefore, selective. We admit 4 to 6 students per year to ensure close work with the faculty. We expect our students’ scholarly and research interests to intersect with those of our faculty.

The school’s Ph.D. is a rigorous scholarly research degree requiring mastery of theory and methodology. We expect our Ph.D. program graduates to possess advanced knowledge in the following areas necessary for all scholarship in the discipline:

  • Scholarly inquiry and methods of discovery;
  • Current theory and research methods of the discipline;
  • Statistics appropriate to the discipline;
  • Media use by society, historical and current;
  • Media roles in society, including issues of diversity;
  • The First Amendment, legal and ethical issues of the discipline.

Additionally, we expect our Ph.D. program graduates to possess advanced knowledge in one or more of the following areas as necessary for scholarship in their chosen area of expertise and with the advice and guidance of their respective faculty advisers:

  • Advanced practice of theory, methods and concepts in the student’s area of journalism expertise;
  • Advanced practice of theory, methods and concepts suitable to the student’s area of concentration;
  • Advanced statistics;
  • Specific uses and impacts of media, such as in healthcare delivery, in education, in politics, in the military, or in traditional mass media roles;
  • The business of the media, historical and current;
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Ph.D. program requires a total of 56 course credit hours (18 3-hour courses, a 1-hour statistics lab, plus a 1-hour pro-seminar) plus dissertation hours, which are variable. 38 course hours are prescribed, 18 are elective. The student takes a 12-hour concentration in one academic unit outside of Journalism.

Students who hold a master’s in journalism may have this 56-hour requirement adjusted (a maximum of 18 credits) due to prior course work, leaving 38 hours for completion of the degree. The student completes study of appropriate research skills, designed in consultation with the faculty adviser. The student also must meet KU’s requirements for dissertation hours.




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