PhD in Journalism: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Learn about your options for earning a Ph.D. in Journalism. Explore the typical coursework in these programs, and find out what career options you have with this degree. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Ph.D. Programs in Journalism Are Available?

As of 2016, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in journalism are not available online. However, it is possible to earn a journalism Ph.D. in a traditional on-campus program. These programs are available at accredited universities across the country. Typically, these programs are in journalism, mass communication or both journalism and mass communication. Sometimes the degree title names a different main field, like communications, but offers a specific concentration in journalism. There are also dual degree programs available, such as those awarding both a journalism Ph.D. and a Juris Doctor (J.D.).

Online Availability Ph.D. programs are not available online
Typical PrerequisitesMaster's degree, previous professional experience, background in a foreign language
Common CoursesFirst amendment theory, strategic communication, comparative mass communication research, teaching postsecondary mass communications, research methods
Career OptionsJournalist, news analyst, professor, researcher
Median Salary (May 2018)*$43,490 (for Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts)
$68,910 (for Communications teachers, postsecondary)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 9% decline (for Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts)
10% growth (for Communications teachers, postsecondary)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Typical Program Requirements?

Requirements can vary by program, but typically include a master's degree, preferably in journalism or communications. A foreign language requirement is part of some programs, as is a significant amount of interdisciplinary study. Some programs may require that you have professional experience in media or journalism.

What Will I Study?

There is typically a core of required courses that focus on the theories and methodologies that are important to the field of journalism and mass communications. In the majority of programs, you'll also be required to research, prepare and defend a dissertation. Common course topics include:

  • First Amendment theory
  • Qualitative or quantitative research methods
  • Strategic communication
  • Comparative mass communication research
  • Teaching postsecondary mass communications

What Can I Do With This Degree?

Most of these Ph.D. programs state that their goal is to produce qualified professors and researchers. Degrees as high as a Ph.D. are typically not necessary for a career in journalism; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that bachelor's degrees are often the preferred credential for journalists and news analysts (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, the median salary for communications professors working in colleges and universities was $68,910 in 2018.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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