This is the first version of the 2022-23 General Catalog. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

Learning Outcomes

A candidate for a doctoral degree is expected to demonstrate mastery of knowledge in the field of communication and to synthesize and create new knowledge, making an original and substantial contribution to the discipline in an appropriate time frame.

Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline: think originally and independently to develop concepts and methodologies; and identify new research opportunities within the field of communication.

Demonstrate advanced research skills: synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one’s own findings and those of others; master application of existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills; and communicate in a style appropriate to the field of communication.

Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship: keep abreast of current advances within one’s field and related areas; show commitment to personal professional development through engagement in professional societies and other knowledge transfer modes; and show a commitment to creating an environment that supports learning through teaching, collaborative inquiry, mentoring, or demonstration.

Demonstrate professional skills: adhere to ethical standards in the discipline; and listen, give, and receive feedback effectively.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in mass communication requires 72 s.h. of graduate credit. The program provides training in research methods, communication theory, and teaching skills.

The program emphasizes interdisciplinary studies, with coursework and research tailored to each student’s interests under the guidance of faculty members. The school offers several areas of strength to support graduate student research in both traditional and digital media:

  • critical and cultural studies,
  • sports and media,
  • international/development studies,
  • health and science communication,
  • journalism studies, and
  • history of media and media institutions.

Students in the Ph.D. program in mass communication must complete the following curriculum:

JMC:6100M.A./Ph.D. Seminar (must register for a total of 8 s.h.; should enroll every semester for entire program of study)8
JMC:6200Humanistic Approaches to Media Communication3
JMC:6300Social Scientific Approaches to Media Communication3
JMC:6920Ph.D. Research (for guided reading)3
JMC:6999Dissertation (must register for at least 4 s.h.)4
RHET:5100Practicum: College Teaching and Professional Development for Teaching Assistants1
Additional Professionalization Courses2
Methods Area Courses3
Theory Area Courses3
Concentration Courses6
Electives 6
Credit from master's degree and/or additional Ph.D. courses30
Total Hours72

For a more detailed description of the Ph.D. program, contact the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Admission to the program is for fall entry.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers research and teaching assistantships for graduate students; preference is given to Ph.D. students. Students have been successful in winning competitive fellowships open to all graduate students; applicants must be nominated by the graduate committee.

Students in this program prepare for careers as teachers and industry researchers.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Mass Communication, Ph.D.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
72 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; maximum of 30 s.h. of graduate transfer credits from master's allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a, b
 Hours0
First Year
Fall
JMC:6300 Social Scientific Approaches to Media Communication 3
Methods, Theory, Concentration, or Elective course c, d 3
RHET:5100 Practicum: College Teaching and Professional Development for Teaching Assistants e 1
JMC:6100 M.A./Ph.D. Seminar f 1
 Hours8
Spring
JMC:6200 Humanistic Approaches to Media Communication 3
Methods, Theory, Concentration, or Elective course c, d 3
Methods, Theory, Concentration, or Elective course c, d 3
JMC:6100 M.A./Ph.D. Seminar f 1
Qualifying Exam g
 Hours10
Second Year
Fall
Methods, Theory, Concentration, or Elective course c, d 3
Methods, Theory, Concentration, or Elective course c, d 3
Additional Professionalization course e 2
JMC:6100 M.A./Ph.D. Seminar f 1
 Hours9
Spring
Methods, Theory, Concentration, or Elective course c, d 3
JMC:6920 Ph.D. Research h 3
JMC:6100 M.A./Ph.D. Seminar f 1
 Hours7
Third Year
Fall
Comprehensive Exam i
Present Dissertation Proposal at PhD Seminar
JMC:6999 Dissertation j 1
JMC:6100 M.A./Ph.D. Seminar f 1
 Hours2
Spring
JMC:6999 Dissertation j 1
JMC:6100 M.A./Ph.D. Seminar f 1
 Hours2
Fourth Year
Fall
JMC:6999 Dissertation j 1
JMC:6100 M.A./Ph.D. Seminar f 1
 Hours2
Spring
JMC:6999 Dissertation j 1
JMC:6100 M.A./Ph.D. Seminar f 1
Final Exam k
 Hours2
 Total Hours42
a
Students entering with a bachelor's degree must work with their faculty advisor to complete 30 s.h. of appropriate graduate coursework. Students entering with fewer that 30 s.h. of coursework from the master's degree must work with their faculty advisor to complete the needed appropriate graduate coursework.
b
Students must complete specific requirements in the University of Iowa Graduate College after program admission. Refer to the Graduate College website and the Manual of Rules and Regulations for more information.
c
Students are required to complete 3 s.h. of methods area, 3 s.h. of theory area, 6 s.h. of concentration area, and 6 s.h. of elective coursework.
d
Work with faculty advisor to determine appropriate graduate coursework; see the General Catalog and department website for specifics.
e
Students are required to take a total of 3 s.h. of professionalization courses including RHET:5100; consult with faculty advisor to determine which courses best align with career goals.
f
Registration required every semester.
g
Completed at the end of first year to directly assess understanding of content from two approaches courses.
h
Prior to comprehensive exam, work with faculty advisor and committee to build the proposals literature review; see the General Catalog and department website for specifics.
i
Writing and defending the dissertation proposal satisfies the comprehensive exam requirement. The dissertation proposal must clearly indicate the logical steps necessary for the completion of the project and suggest a plan of action.
j
Minimum total of 4 s.h. of thesis credit required.
k
Dissertation defense.