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PhD, Media, Culture, and Communication

Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the study of media and culture, this doctoral curriculum draws from a diverse array of research methods and incorporates historical as well as global and comparative perspectives. You’ll take courses in the following research areas: Global and Transcultural Studies, Technology and Society, Visual Culture and Sound Studies, Media Institutions and Politics, and Critical Theories of Media and Communication.

Official Degree Title

PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication



Application Deadline

Fall Start:
December 1

Plan Code



(Students without a master's degree take 54 credits)



Minimum Requirements and Selection Criteria for Admission

Admission to the PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication is very competitive. By mid-February, the top candidates will be contacted for a video interview. Following the interviews, five applicants are admitted and begin the program the following September. Doctoral students in Media, Culture, and Communication typically receive full fellowship funding for five years.

Success in a theory and research-driven doctorate such as Media, Culture, and Communication depends heavily on a candidate's ability to read and think critically, to reason with acuity, and to write with clarity, precision, and fluency. We devote particular attention in selecting candidates for admission to evidence of an applicant's abilities in these areas, and to the background work of an applicant in the area/topic they intend to pursue.

We encourage our doctoral students to think about their dissertation research before they arrive and we ask that applicants to the PhD program submit essays that state a clear and concise research agenda that matches with those supported and initiated by our faculty members. No matter how qualified an applicant may be to pursue advanced study in the area they have identified, they will require the direction and support of the faculty members knowledgeable about and interested in that area. Particular attention is given to the "goodness of fit" between an applicant and their interests and the qualifications, competencies, and interests of the department's faculty.

How to Apply

These instructions and requirements are for all applicants. If you are not a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, please read the special instructions for international applicants.

  1. Prepare Your Application

Your application will require the following items. The following are acceptable document types for uploads: .pdf, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .tiff, .png, .doc, .docx, and bitmap.



You are required to upload a copy of your most recent résumé or curriculum vitae as part of your application.

MCC Essay

In lieu of a statement of purpose, you are required to upload a brief essay on the research area/topic you expect to pursue, your background preparation for advanced work in that area/topic, and some of the scholars whose work in that area has shaped your thinking. The essay should be 2-3 pages single-spaced or 4-5 pages double-spaced. 

Writing Sample

You are required to submit a copy of your master's thesis, or comparable evidence of sustained intellectual inquiry or writing you have done, preferably in the area in which you expect to focus your advanced study.

Letters of Recommendation

Submit three letters of recommendation. Be sure to request them well in advance of the deadline. Read detailed instructions.


Upload one official copy of transcripts from every postsecondary school you have attended or are attending. Make sure to request them in advance of the deadline.

If you completed or are completing a degree at an institution outside of the US or Canada, you are required to provide a WES or ECE evaluation. Please review our requirements for translation and a course-by-course evaluation of your transcripts.

See detailed instructions on submitting transcripts.


Not required.

Proficiency in English

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Start your application now

After you fill in and upload the required information, you can submit your completed application. Your application must be completed, dated, electronically signed, and submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST of the stated deadline.

Application Fee

You will be prompted to pay a $75 application fee, payable by major credit card only. After submitting your payment, you will see your application status change from “saved” to “submitted.” Please print this screen for your records, as it confirms that your application has been successfully sent to our school. If you have problems submitting your payment, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions. Learn more about our fee waiver policy.

Mailing Additional Items

If any application materials need to be mailed to our office, mail the materials to NYU Steinhardt, Office of Graduate Admissions, 82 Washington Square East, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003-6680.  Please do not mail your materials in binders or folders. Any mailed materials must be received by, not postmarked by, the stated deadline. Only completed applications will be considered and reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Due to high volume, we are unable to confirm receipt of mailed materials.

Admission Decisions


You will be notified about your decision by email. Typically, decisions will start going out in late March or early April for fall enrollment. You may learn of your decision before or after this timeline.

Application Policies

Application deadlines are "in-office" deadlines, not postmark deadlines. It is your responsibility to ensure that all materials are in the Office of Graduate Admissions by the appropriate deadline, and we reserve the right to return any application that arrives after the deadline. Only completed applications will be considered. Should a deadline fall on a weekend, the in-office deadline will be the next business day. We advise you to apply early.

Please check the online system to confirm that you have successfully submitted your application. Due to the volume of applications and related materials received, the Office of Graduate Admissions will only contact you if your application was successfully submitted and is deemed incomplete because of missing required materials. Otherwise, you will hear from us when the admissions committee has made its decision.

Deferral policy: NYU Steinhardt does not allow deferrals. Applicants who wish to be considered for a future semester must reapply by submitting a new application with all supporting materials, including letters of recommendation, by the application deadline.