StudentThe doctoral program trains candidates to do research on a broad array of interdisciplinary questions related to media studies. The school features faculty and coursework that explore the cultural, economic and political analysis of communication and society. We also offer a master’s program in media studies. Three overlapping areas of faculty and program strength are:

Media institutions

  • Political economy of communication
  • Media history
  • Newsroom sociology
  • Community media
  • New technologies and management of technological change
  • Media management
  • Government/media relations
  • Organizational-public relations
  • Consumer behavior
  • Social effects of media
  • Media literacy

Ethics, law, and policy

  • Communication ethics
  • Visual ethics
  • Philosophy of communication
  • Media law
  • Media regulation
  • Online privacy
  • Public policy
  • Communication and democracy

International and multicultural communication

  • Development communication
  • International political economy
  • Globalization
  • International advertising
  • International public relations
  • Comparative law, policy and ethics
  • Feminist media studies
  • Race, ethnicity and media
  • Alternative media


The PhD program emphasizes an appreciation of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and we also place a strong emphasis on preparation for teaching in the context of higher education. Faculty in departments and schools outside Journalism and Communication have complementary areas of conceptual and methodological expertise to assist in guiding doctoral research.

The University of Oregon Scholar’s Bank holds examples of recent theses and dissertations.

Eligible PhD and Media Studies Master’s Committee Chairs

What You'll Learn

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree typically take about 80 graduate-level credits of course work beyond the master’s degree; the exact number of credits depends on the student’s prior graduate study experience. The program concludes with a dissertation. Specific requirements are:

  1. Core sequence. Within the first three terms of study, students complete the core sequence of courses: Teaching and Professional Life (J619), Media Theory I, II, and III (J612, J613, J614), Qualitative Research Methods (J641) and Quantitative Research Methods (J642). Proseminar II (J643) is taken during the first term of the second year of study after completion of Media Theory I, II, and III.
  2. Methodology Courses. At least two additional methodology courses must be taken. These courses may be  taken outside the School.
  3. Communication Specialty. Each student must specify an area of expertise within the SOJC. An area of specialization may coincide with the current areas of faculty expertise or may represent another area within the field of communication. The area of specialization must be supported with relevant course work, which typically includes 3-4 courses in the SOJC, although courses outside the school may also be appropriate.
  4. Outside Field. In close consultation with their adviser, each student designs an integrated outside-related field component (12 credits minimum) for his or her course of study. The Ph.D. program stresses the interconnectedness of communication with other disciplines; therefore, the 12-credit outside field may involve more than one outside department.
  5. Methodological Tool Requirement. The student’s committee may require additional methods courses depending on the student’s specific research aims within and/or outside the SOJC.
  6. University Teaching. A seminar in teaching is required of all Ph.D. students. After completing this course, appropriate teaching experience in the SOJC will be arranged and coordinated by the Graduate Affairs Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.
  7. Comprehensive Examination. After course work is complete, the student, the adviser, and the student’s comprehensive examination committee will schedule an examination that synthesizes what the student has learned. The student must pass the comprehensive examination before advancing to candidacy and beginning work on the dissertation.
  8. Dissertation. A dissertation is the final step in the doctoral program. Students must enroll for at least 18 credits of J603 after passing the comprehensive exam.  Though students must maintain continuous enrollment in the University from entry to degree completion, only 18 credits of J603 will be counted toward the dissertation requirement.  (An incomplete will be recorded for all J603 credits until the dissertation is completed.)  The dissertation is a professionally central experience in the design, conduct, and dissemination of original research.  It is written after the student’s dissertation proposal is approved in writing by dissertation committee members.
  9. The Graduate School requires that doctoral students spend at least one academic year (three consecutive terms of full-time study with a minimum of 9 completed graduate credits per term) “in residence” (i.e., taking courses on the Eugene campus) after being accepted into a doctoral program.  All coursework leading to the doctoral degree must be completed within seven years.


We are generally able to provide up to four years of funding for PhD students through Graduate Teaching Fellowships and/or Research Assistantships. These include a tuition waiver, salary, and health benefits. Continued funding from year to year is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress and satisfactory teaching/research performance. Funding package details are available here. 

Contact Information

Chris Chavez

Christopher Chávez

Director of the Doctoral Program, Associate Professor

330 Allen Hall