Merrill’s Ph.D. in Journalism Studies requires:

1. 36 credits hours

  •  Nine credit hours (minimum) of required research design and methods courses. Two of the three methods courses should be taken as early as possible to establish a foundation for a variety of research methodologies.

JOUR775 Quantitative Methods
JOUR776 Qualitative Methods.

A third methods course in or outside the College

  • 18 credit hours minimum of journalism courses including:

JOUR601 – Theories of Journalism (or equivalent if taken for a Master’s or other program)
JOUR610 – Seminar in Mass Media History
JOUR800 – Introduction to Doctoral Study
JOUR801 – Advanced Public Communication Theory

This includes journalism elective courses (numbered 600 or above) offered by College. Elective credit  can include an independent study in or outside the College with approval by the Director of Ph.D. Studies.


  • Nine credits in your cognate: Cognate courses numbered 600 or above are taken from another department on campus or a combination of departments that relate to your research interest. If you prefer to take cognate courses from different departments you must justify in writing the relationship of those courses to your research.
  • Courses numbered 400 require the permission of the Ph.D. director.

2. Written Comprehensive Exams

By the time you complete your course work, you should have selected an advisor plus a committee of at least four additional faculty members to complete your written comprehensive exams.


3. The Dissertation

After successfully completing your written comprehensive exams, you will prepare a formal proposal for unique research with guidance from your advisor. You formally present your written proposal to your dissertation committee for feedback and approval. After completing your research, the committee assembles again for the defense of your work and results.