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PhD, Media, Culture, and Communication

Areas of Study

The doctoral program offers five research areas, which operate as guiding frameworks for intellectual inquiry across the Department. These areas of research are overlapping and interrelated, and we encourage students to take advantage of course offerings in all areas.

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Media, Culture, and Communication faculty research and teach on media topics spanning the globe — from East and South Asia to Western Europe, the Americas, and Africa.

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Required Coursework

Coursework Requirements

Total Credits: 48 credits for students with a Master's degree and 54 credits for students without.

Upon entry into the doctoral program, we urge students to begin exploring literature and methodologies pertinent to their particular research interests and to begin identifying specific faculty members, both in and out of the department, who can serve as their dissertation committee members. We recognize that advanced coursework contributes to students’ intellectual development. Our faculty have determined that two years of full-time coursework, beyond a master’s degree or the equivalent, is sufficient, so that students move quickly toward pursuing their dissertation work more exclusively in the third year of study, accompanied by teaching and research opportunities.

Students should consult their advisors to determine the most appropriate courses inside and outside the department. By advisement, students can also conduct independent studies under the supervision of qualified faculty.

The Office of Graduate Studies at NYU Steinhardt provides a list of additional policies and procedures governing doctoral study.

Required Doctoral Seminars

  • Doctoral Core Seminars I and II (MCC-GE 3100 and MCC-GE 3200). These two advanced theory seminars are taken sequentially during the first year of study. Over the course of the year, all the departmental research areas are surveyed.
  • Intro to Communication Research (MCC-GE 3101). This seminar is taken during the first or second year of the program (it is currently being taught alternate years). This course focuses on research methods and approaches to conducting research in media, cultural, and technology studies. It addresses the philosophical and theoretical rationales for various methodologies, approaches, and research procedures including semiotics, discourse analysis, ideological analysis, political economic analysis, historical analysis, archival research, psychoanalysis, feminist analysis, actor-network analysis, transcultural analysis, ethnographic analysis, content analysis, in-depth interviewing, and audience reception analysis.
  • Dissertation Proposal Seminar (MCC-GE 3201). This proposal seminar is taken during the first semester of the third year, ensuring that students have a strong theoretical and methodological foundation before they launch their research projects. The course will be conducted as a workshop, and students will be required to produce first drafts of their dissertation proposals, with final versions due during the second semester of their third year.

Theoretical and Disciplinary Foundational Courses

(12 credits, inside or outside the Department)

Media, Culture, and Communication faculty have close ties to disciplines and fields of study outside the department, given that our collective approaches to research include the perspectives of anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy, computer science, social psychology, political science, law and policy studies, feminist studies, international and region-based studies, American studies, cultural studies, cinema and performance studies, critical theory, and others.

We routinely encourage students to take courses in departments outside of Media, Culture, and Communication. Taking deeply theoretical and disciplinary foundational courses outside of the department is important for doctoral students’ development as scholars and teachers. In addition, taking graduate level courses outside the department puts students into contact with NYU professors who can serve as second and/or third dissertation committee member(s), and who can help broaden their professional academic connections.

Research and Methods Coursework Requirements

(minimum 14-16 credits, minimum of 4 inside the Department)

In order to learn the theory and practices of research methods in media, culture, and communication, students should seek out classes in relevant methodologies in departments both inside and outside of Steinhardt. This affords students a wide range of instruction on methodological practices well-suited to their studies in terms of the specific research methods themselves that include, but are not limited to: historical research, audience and action research, semiotics, ethnography, discourse analysis, media archaeology, content and other forms of critical discourse analysis, as well as a variety of other interpretive and critical approaches specific to the study of media, culture, and communication. It also affords students the necessary guidance in applying these methodological approaches to areas that are within the purview of the department.

Specialized Elective Requirements

(minimum 8-10 credits, inside the Department)

Specialized Electives for doctoral students include any of the upper-level graduate courses that are offered in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. Students should contact individual instructors to inquire about the nature and content of the course, and consult their faculty advisors about the suitability of particular courses for their research project. 

Doctoral Professional Development Workshop

(MCC-GE 3400)

Year-long set (10-15) of professionalization classes and writing workshops on topics such as teaching, publishing, fellowships/grants, conferences, and going on the job market. The objectives of the Doctoral Professional Development Workshop are to promote excellence in doctoral research and teaching, and facilitate success on the job market. Doctoral students who are more advanced in the program share their insights and experiences with new students, fortifying the collegial support network that sustains our doctoral community. The Workshop also provides an excellent opportunity for interaction between doctoral students and Department faculty. Through faculty presentations, panel discussions, and question-answer sessions, the Professionalization Workshop engages important topics such as career development, research and publishing, pedagogy, and obtaining grants.

Funding Packages for Full-Time PhD Students

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

Dissertation Abstracts

View a sample of recent MCC doctoral dissertation abstracts.

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Media, Culture, and Communication

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