Ph.D. in Media & Public Affairs | LSU Manship School of Mass Communication

Ph.D. in Media & Public Affairs



For more information about the Ph.D. program, contact: 

Meghan Sanders

Dr. Meghan Sanders

Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies



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The Manship School is home to the nation’s only doctoral program in media & public affairs. We have a broad view of media and public affairs, with research on political polarization, digital technology, crisis communication, wartime propaganda, gender and sexuality, media effects, health communication, native advertising and the representation of minority groups, among others.

We fund all of our doctoral students for four years ($25,000 per year) and admit only a small class to ensure personal attention and mentorship from faculty. Our acceptance rate is about 15%. Our doctoral program graduates work at a variety of institutions: research-intensive, teaching-centered, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and international institutions.

Cutting-Edge Research Facilities

The Manship School prepares scholars to study the ever-changing world of mass media with three research laboratories and infrastructure for a wide range of quantitative and qualitative approaches to research media messages and their effects.

Collaborative Research Groups

The Manship School uses endowed professorships to support collaborative research groups of faculty members and students. The funds allow the teams to collect original data, hire research assistants, travel to archives and host mini-conferences.

Excellent Funding

The Manship School admits a small cohort of doctoral students each year on a highly competitive basis. Our doctoral funding includes a $25,000 9-month stipend, for each of four years, provided the student remains in good standing, and a tuition exemption (students must pay some mandatory student fees). We support doctoral students to present research at two conferences per academic year, with additional funds available from the LSU Graduate Student Association. We also fund doctoral research through our distinguished Hamilton Fellowship awarded annually, funded research groups and dissertation awards.

Degree Requirements

The total number of hours required for Ph.D. in Media & Public Affairs degree is 88 hours.* A comprehensive guide to our Ph.D. program can be found in our Ph.D. in Media & Public Affairs Policies and Procedures Handbook

*This does not replace the Graduate School catalog.

I. Core Courses (31 hours)

  • MC 7000: Proseminar in Mass Communication and Public Affairs (1)
  • MC 7001: Research Methods in Mass Communication (3)
  • MC 7002: Mass Communication Philosophy and Principles (3)
  • MC 7005: Public Opinion and Public Affairs (3)
  • MC 7018: Legal Problems of the Mass Media (3)
  • MC 7019: Emerging Media: Theory, Application & Effect (3)
  • MC 7021: Mass Communication Theory (3)
  • MC 7036: Seminar in Media and Public Affairs Theory (3)
  • MC 7201: Advanced Research Methods in Mass Communication and Public Affairs (3)
  • MC 7209: Public Communication Practices (3)
    MC 7210: Public Communication Administration (3)

II. Required Externship & Dissertation (27 hours)

  • MC 8009: Public Affairs Externship (9)
  • MC 9000: Dissertation Research (18)

III. Mass Communication Electives (12 hours)

IV. Two additional advanced Statistics or Methodology courses (6 hours)

V. Four courses concentrated in a single outside program or concentration of four courses drawn from at least two supported fields (12 hours)

  • If you wish to declare a University recognized minor, you must complete the outside minor program’s full requirements in addition to the required 88 hours to complete the doctoral program.


The Manship School doctoral program accepts applications for fall admission. Applicants submit a statement of purpose, resume, writing sample, transcripts from all prior universities or colleges attended and standardized test scores (e.g., GRE and TOEFL for international applicants) online. We also require recommendation letters from three people familiar with your academic work. For full consideration, you should submit your application by January 25 to be reviewed for admission and funding decisions for the following fall.

You must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA, undergraduate and master’s. You must have earned a completed master’s degree or a terminal graduate degree (for example, an M.F.A. or a J.D.) We prefer to see GRE scores above 156 verbal & quantitative and above 4.5 analytical writing. For TOEFL, we prefer scores above 100 on the internet-based test.

We accept applications by January 25 for fall admission (no spring admission for Ph.D.).

After initial screening, finalists for admission to the doctoral program are invited to LSU and the Manship School for a campus visit and interview at our expense. Applicants living outside the U.S. are invited to participate in the interview process via Skype. Final offers for admission are made after the campus visit, typically the first or second week in March

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