Ph.D. Program Expectations

Ph.D. Program Expectations

(Adopted Spring 2018; Revised Spring 2021)

A Ph.D. program requires a scholarly commitment and persistence unlike any other in education. It tests the bounds of what students know and what they can learn.

General Goals

  • Ph.D. students should learn to teach themselves. As educators and lifelong learners, they should understand that self-education is the most important tool for continued growth.
  • Ph.D. students should conduct research that is meaningful to them. A Ph.D. student should never be in a position to hate his or her research agenda.
  • A Ph.D. student should become an expert in an area of study. Pursuing secondary research is fine, but a student needs to fully establish a primary area of research.
  • Ph.D. students should receive diverse teaching opportunities. This can include hybrid courses, online courses, survey courses and skills courses.
  • Upon graduation, Ph.D. students should have 6-to-13 conference presentations and 3-to-6 publications.
  • A Ph.D. student should develop a team of similar researchers or those who have similar research interests inside and outside our School. National, international and interdisciplinary team members are desired.

Each graduate student should take responsibility for understanding the pathway to timely graduation. Our graduate advisers and faculty are here to guide and assist you -- but please be sure to understand such important matters as the general timetable and the formation of a dissertation or thesis committee that meets School and University requirements.


The Ph.D. program requires a total of 46 course credit hours (7 3-hour core Journalism courses, 1 4-hour statistics class with a lab, a 1-hour pro-seminar (JMC 901) each fall semester, a 12-hour concentration outside the School, plus dissertation hours, which are variable. 40 course hours are prescribed, the others (6 credits) are JMC electives. Students who hold a master’s in journalism may have the 46-hour requirement adjusted based on prior completed course work (up to 6 credits in electives). Note: Students will have flexibility in choosing the courses for concentration BUT should discuss their concentration area with their advisor in advance.

Recommended Plan of Action

  • Complete required coursework (15-18 credit hours)
    • Fall: JMC 801, JMC 802, JMC 901 (1 credit), One (1) concentration area class 4
    • Spring: JMC 803, JMC 805, JMC 806 or JMC 807 (whichever is offered)
  • Complete required coursework (15-20 credits)

    • JMC 901 (1 credit)
    • JMC 804
    • JMC 806 or JMC 807 (whichever is offered)
    • EPSY 710-711 (statistics -- 3 credits, 1-credit lab)
    • Two (2) courses in concentration area
    • One (1) elective
  • Complete required coursework (15-18 hours)
    • JMC 901 (1 credit)
    • One (1) courses in concentration area
    • One (1) elective o Comprehensive exams (early fall semester)
    • Dissertation (depending on credit hour needs)

General Research Expectations

  • Produce 1-to-2, co-authored (with faculty) conference papers.
  • Submit 1-to-2 papers to publication
  • Produce 1-to-2 co-authored (faculty or student) conference papers
  • Produce 1-to-2 solo-authored conference papers
  • Submit 1-to-2 co-authored papers to publication
  • Submit 1-to-2 solo-authored papers to publication
  • Produce 1-to-2 co-authored (faculty and student) conference papers
  • Produce 2-to-3 solo-authored conference papers
  • Submit 1-to-2 co-authored papers to publication
  • Submit 2-to-3 solo-authored papers to publication
  • Dissertation should result in 3-to-4 conference papers and publications (generally post-graduation)
  • 6 to 13 conference papers
  • 3 to 6 publications; 6 to 11 publication submissions
  • A recent assistant professor search/hiring process within our School identified 8 candidates who had successfully defended their dissertation in recent months or would defend it within the next few months. Those candidates/finalists had an average of 2.75 journal articles (range 1-6) and 14.25 significant conference papers (range 6-25).