Doctor of Philosophy in Communications
A multidisciplinary approach to the study of communications
The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Communications offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the relationships between people and media in their cultural, social, political, historical, economic, and technological contexts. With the guidance of a faculty advisory committee drawn from the Journalism School, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of International Affairs, the Business School, and Teachers College, students craft individual courses of study drawing upon the university's graduate resources in the humanities, the social and practical sciences, the arts, and the professional schools.
The goal is to connect the strengths of the Columbia journalism tradition with intellectual work in the humanities and human sciences in a way that enhances our understanding of media and journalism in society. The interdisciplinary program provides a unique preparation for students who wish to teach in colleges and universities, to conduct original research in communications, or to carry out policy or research work in government and industry.
Recent or current dissertation projects include "fake news" and political culture; the ordinary person's experience of appearing in the news; photography and privacy; media and religion in the public sphere; fact-checking and objectivity in the age of digital media; trends in digital cinema; the culture of video games; journalistic authority in the Internet age; media, mobilization, and political campaigns; open networks in urban environments; and interactive television. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, including journalism, politics, not-for-profit organizations, filmmaking, business, and the law, while others are recent college graduates or have been pursuing graduate work elsewhere.
Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to:
Complete five core courses covering major areas of the field:
Journalism J8040 Proseminar in Communications
an advanced-level offering in the area broadly defined as communications and political systems.
one of the following three courses in the general area of media organizations and policy, either: Business Economics G8210, Management of information, communication and media; or Sociology G8200, Economic sociology; or Journalism J60xx, Communications, Knowledge, and Power II
Journalism J9042 Communication Research Problems
Journalism J6030 Culture of Journalism
Complete a series of courses to constitute a concentration, chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser, from such areas as history, religion, political science, sociology, anthropology, comparative literature, film studies, international affairs, or business;
Show mastery of research methods appropriate to the subject of the dissertation;
Show proficiency in a foreign language;
Complete a set of comprehensive examinations;
Complete and defend a doctoral dissertation.
In all, the doctoral candidate will be required to complete 84 graduate-level points in addition to the dissertation.
(If you've begun graduate-level or post graduate-level work in journalism, communications or a related field, please note our Transfer of Credit Policy. The doctoral program faculty will consider up to 30 credits of previous graduate-level coursework for advanced standing credit on a case-by-case basis.)
A full-time Ph.D. student is generally offered a tuition exemption during the years he or she is completing coursework. Stipends are typically awarded for three years and generally require service as a teaching or research assistant. During the school year, stipend holders may not take outside paid work for more than 10 hours a week.
Many students find they must supplement their stipends with loans, savings, summer jobs or family contributions. Funded students must submit the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) every year.
Housed at and administered by the Journalism School, the Communications Ph.D. program is, like all doctoral programs at Columbia, subject to the academic governance of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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Communications Ph.D. Program Administrator
Graduate School of Journalism
2950 Broadway MC 3801
New York, NY10027