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Doctor of Philosophy
Media, Culture, and Communication

Grounded in an interdisciplinary approach to the study of media and culture, our doctorate draws from a rich array of disciplines and theoretical frameworks. Department expertise spans the globe: the Middle East, East Asia, the Global South, Africa, and Europe. Our faculty generate some of the most original scholarship in their respective fields, creating a stimulating environment in which to pursue graduate work.

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Degree Details

Official Degree Title

PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication

Students without a master's degree take 54 credits
Start Date
Application Deadline

Five research areas operate as guiding frameworks for intellectual inquiry across the department: Global Communication and Media, Technology and Society, Visual Culture and Sound Studies, Media Industries and Politics, Interaction and Experience.

Your work as a doctoral student will be shaped by our faculty's commitment to:

  • Engaging with theoretical concepts from a range of disciplines—media and cultural studies, visual culture, history, science and technology studies, anthropology, sociology, disability studies, sound studies, political science.
  • A multi-methodological approach to research—from semiotics, global ethnography, gender and queer theory, critical race theory, qualitative and quantitative discourse analysis, to political/cultural economy, among other critical frameworks.
  • A global perspective—conceiving of the global mediascape as transnational and transcultural.
  • Recognizing media and technology’s long history and antecedents.

Read some sample dissertation abstracts.

After graduating, alumni join academic departments of media and communication, with placement in the social sciences and interdisciplinary humanities becoming increasingly common. MCC PhDs who graduated in the past ten years are now tenure-track or tenured professors at the University of California, Berkeley; University of Washington, Seattle; Cornell University; Stanford University; UCLA; Rutgers; Fordham; University of Michigan; George Mason University; University of North Carolina; University of Arizona; College of Charleston; Memorial University of Newfoundland; University of San Francisco; Scripps; Pratt; University of Maryland; American University of Beirut; American University of Paris, Ryerson University; Trent University; St. Joseph’s College.

Over the past decade, our PhD graduates have received numerous prestigious postdocs, including a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities in the Department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT; Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at MIT's Center for Art, Science, and Technology; Postdoctoral Fellow, Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University; Postdoctoral Researcher, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science; Postdoctoral, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University; Postdoctoral Fellowship at Rice University in Technology, Culture, and Society; Research Associate, Center for Digital Humanities, Princeton University; Postdoctoral Fellow, Media, Inequality & Change Center, University of Pennsylvania.

If you are accepted as a full-time NYU Steinhardt PhD student without an alternate funding source, you are eligible for our competitive funding package, which includes a scholarship and tuition remission. Learn more about our funding opportunities.

Graduate Leadership

Mara Mills

Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication; PhD Director

Susan Murray

Department Chair and Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication


If you have additional questions about our degree, please contact us at

Alumni Profiles

Jacob Gaboury (PhD 2014)

Jacob is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Film & Media at the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation "Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics, 1965-1979" investigated the early history of computer graphics and the role they play in the move toward new forms of simulation and object oriented design.

Xiaochang Li (PhD 2017)

Xiaochang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University. Her teaching and research interests include the history of computing and information systems, AI and algorithmic culture, speech and language technology, and software/platform studies. Before joining Stanford, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Hatim El-Hibri (PhD 2012)

Hatim is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at George Mason University. His research examines media technologies and urban space in the Middle East. His dissertation traced the history of the visualization of Beirut, from the politics of aerial photography and mapping during the French Mandate, to the visual economy of postwar construction, to the materiality of Hizballah's live satellite television.

Liz Koslov (PhD 2017)

Liz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. Previously, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT. Her research examines the cultural, political, and sociological dimensions of climate change adaptation. Her first book project, Retreat: Moving to Higher Ground in a Climate-Changed City, is under advance contract with the University of Chicago Press.

Devon Powers (PhD 2008)

Devon is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Advertising, Media & Communication at Temple University. Powers' research interests include popular music, 20th century history, and cultural intermediation – the people and processes that operate "in between" the production and consumption of culture. Powers completed a fellowship at the University of Leeds in 2014, and was recently elected Vice Chair of the Popular Communication Division of the International Communication Association.

Matthew Powers (PhD 2013)

Matthew is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington-Seattle. His dissertation "Humanity's Publics: NGOs, Journalism and the International Public Sphere" examined reporting roles assumed by international NGOs as legacy media outlets cut their foreign news budgets, and received the Gene Burd Outstanding Dissertation in Journalism Studies award from the International Communication Association. 

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Media, Culture, and Communication

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