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Gaylord College Doctoral Program (Ph.D.)

The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication invites applicants for our Ph.D. program. We seek junior colleagues who wish to explore deeply the practices and values of journalism, mass communication and the media professions. Successful applicants will be admitted for the fall semester, with an application deadline of February 1. The program is highly competitive, admitting and funding up to five students per year. We welcome applicants from across Oklahoma, the United States and the world – particularly those with three or more years of professional experience in journalism and mass communication disciplines.

Doctoral candidates will find a faculty with a wide range of interests encompassing a variety of approaches and perspectives related to the program’s three concentrations:  News and Information, Strategic Communication and Media Arts.  The program builds on a record of excellence in preparing master’s students for doctoral study, as evidenced by top-paper awards and paper presentations at national and international academic conferences in recent years.

The program is housed in Gaylord Hall, a state-of-the-art building with a 44,000-square-foot wing with space devoted to graduate research and teaching support. Graduates will be prepared to become both accomplished researchers and outstanding teachers in colleges and universities around the world.

For more information on admissions and financial aid:
  • Strong grounding in a range of research methods.
    Students must complete three research methods courses, including both advanced quantitative and qualitative courses offered in the Gaylord College and a third research methodology course (or graduate-level statistics course) from elsewhere on the OU campus. (These three are in addition to a requirement of basic graduate-level research methods proficiency.)
  • An emphasis on regular interaction between students and faculty about research.
    Students must take a weekly, one-credit Ph.D. Seminar course to feature discussions and presentations of research by faculty, students, and guests. This course will underline the faculty’s expectation of research productivity and quality among our doctoral students.
  • An expectation of student excellence in teaching.
    The program will require a course exploring pedagogical theory and practice. The course will be aimed at helping our doctoral students to become excellent teachers in addition to excellent researchers.  Most students will also have the opportunity to gain teaching experience as part of their work as graduate assistants.
  • Opportunity for flexible, interdisciplinary study in an outside area of concentration.
    The requirement of a concentration outside the college reflects the program’s commitment to drawing on the broad strengths of the university in social sciences and humanities.

News and Information

Emphasizes performance, critical analysis, effects, representations and the community-building potential of news and information media.

Faculty expertise: organizational management, media ethics and normative theory, media law, race and gender, media credibility, and international/intercultural/ethnic media.

Media Arts

Emphasizes performance, critical analysis, effects, representations and the community-building potential of entertainment and experimental media including visual digital, video, and design; audio; multimedia, and long-form print media.

Faculty expertise: creative writing; script writing; documentary film; multimedia, video, and digital production.

Strategic Communication

Emphasizes a broad spectrum of theoretical and practice-oriented research topics and problems in public relations and advertising.

Faculty expertise: rhetorical analysis, race and gender, international public relations, law, new media advertising, organizational behavior, and message strategy and tactics.

Total 90 hours, with varying amounts of M.A. and Ph.D. transfer credit to be determined by the Gaylord College Graduate Committee,Graduate Director and Graduate College.

Core Classes: 37 minimum hours

  • 3 hours – Research methods proficiency (basic graduate-level proficiency demonstrated through completion of JMC 5093 Introduction to Research Methods, a graduate-level methods course elsewhere in the university or a methods course transferred in)
  • 3 hours – JMC 5073 Conceptual Issues in Graduate Study in Journalism and Mass Communication or 3 hours of graduate electives (if course was taken at M.A. level)
  • 3 hours – JMC 6133 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods or 3 hours of 6000-level electives as approved by the student’s advisory committee (if JMC 5133 Quantitative Research Methods was taken at the M.A. level)
  • 3 hours – JMC 6113 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods or 3 hours of 6000-level electives as approved by the student’s advisory committee (if JMC 5113 Qualitative Research Methods was taken at the M.A. level)
  • 3 hours – JMC 6083 Advanced Mass Communication Theory or3 hours of 6000-level electives as approved by the student’s advisory committee (if JMC 5083 Mass Communication Theory was taken at the M.A. level)
  • 3 hours – JMC 6183 Approaches to Teaching
  • 4 hours – JMC 6091 Ph.D. Seminar (1 credit per semester, minimum 4 hours)
  • 3 hours – Additional research methods course and/or graduate-level statistics (to be taken at 5000 or 6000 level in an OU department outside of JMC -- for example, Anthropology, Psychology,Sociology, History)
  • 12 hours minimum – JMC 6980 Dissertation

Concentration and Emphasis: 24 minimum hours

  • 9 hours minimum – Courses in concentration

Students will choose one of the following areas and take Advanced Topics in that area at least three times for a total of 9 hours. With approval of their advisory committees, students may divide the 9 hours among more than one of the Advanced Topics areas:

  • JMC 6153 Advanced Topics in Media Arts*
  • JMC 6163 Advanced Topics in News and Information*
  • JMC 6173 Advanced Topics in Strategic Communication*
  • 15 hours minimum – Secondary area of emphasis outside JMC

Other Requirements

The student’s emphasis will be defined in the plan of study and will likely include courses from two or more departments.

Numerous possibilities for interdisciplinary study exist in the university. Given the breadth of intellectual grounding in mass communication study, possible departments are many, including Anthropology, Communication, History, Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology, Human Relations, Marketing, and Management. The secondary-emphasis requirement will enable students to take maximum advantage of these opportunities.

Total from above requirements: 61 hours (minimum)

Remaining hours to bring degree total to 90 will come from a combination of additional electives taken during the student’s doctoral study at OU, transfer credit, or both.

Doctoral (Ph.D.) Application Process

Applicants must complete the appropriate general OU Graduate Application using the links below.

  • A minimum of three years of professional experience in a mass communication field is preferred.
  • Excellent candidates who do not meet all of the requirements will be given careful consideration.
  • Retention and graduation standards will be in accordance with OU Graduate College policies.
Dec. 15
This is the preferred application deadline for all doctoral students wishing to be considered for Gaylord College assistantships and scholarships for the fall semester.
Feb. 1Final deadline for all doctoral students for admission for the fall semester.

Doctoral (Ph.D.) Admission Criteria

  • A 3.5 GPA (4.0 scale) in all previous graduate work
  • Strong GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A one to two-page resume
  • A written essay of 1,000 words minimum detailing the student’s reasonsfor pursuing the degree and the intended future application of thedegree
  • International students are required by the university to take the TOEFL and IELTS exams, with a minimum score of 79 on TOEFL and a 6.5 minimum on the IELTS exam.

Practice materials for the TOEFL can be found at