Ph.D. in Media & Public Affairs
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. Our scholars use a diverse set of empirical and theoretical approaches, offering doctoral students a broad preparation to study an evolving media landscape and the ever-changing public sphere.
We offer a focus on political communication through course study in partnership with the LSU Department of Political Science. Doctoral students may also pursue other avenues of research with a public affairs focus, and can take outside courses from many other schools and colleges including LSU’s internationally acclaimed College of the Coast & Environment. 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.
Our faculty and current doctoral students regularly publish with top academic presses and leading journals. They win major book prizes, top paper awards and other recognition at scholarly meetings. With six endowed chairs and more than 40 endowed professorships, we attract a world-class faculty.
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.
Media Effects Lab (MEL)
The MEL administers a large pool of research participants and research technologies, such as computer-administered experiments, reaction time measurement, facial expression analysis, heart rate and dial-testing. MEL supports eye-tracking for multiple platforms (desktop computers, tablets, smartphones), the integration of physiological response data using iMotions, and multiple research settings, including a simulated living room.
Social Media Analysis & Creation Lab (SMAC)
The SMAC Lab supports both pure research as well as applied creative projects using social media. SMAC houses a listening center powered by Crimson Hexagon, allowing us to track and analyze conversation and sentiment in social media. We offer a growing array of social media monitoring tools and analytics software as well.
Public Policy Research Lab (PPRL)
PPRL is dedicated to high quality data collection and analytics, with a special emphasis on survey research. One of its core projects is the annual Louisiana Survey which PPRL has conducted for the Manship School and its Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, since 2003. PPRL conducts occasional surveys, such as the 2017 Louisiana Community Resilience Survey, to support faculty and doctoral student research.
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.
Digital Advertising Research Team studies strategic communication, digital technology and visual communication. Its primary research investigates how consumers process native advertisements, such as sponsored posts, in social media and search engine results.
Freedom of Expression Research Group pursues historical, legal and qualitative research on journalists and policymakers. Its current project investigates the public and legislative process that lead to the 1916 confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
Health Communication Research Group is developing and evaluating messages for the Louisiana Department of Health’s Well-Ahead LA program aimed at promoting healthy choices among Louisiana restaurant owners and patrons.
Media Effects Research Group is built around the School’s Media Effects Lab. Recent projects include studies of environmental and climate change attitudes, media effects on romantic relationship choices and the how selfies influence social comparison and narcissism.
Political Communication Research Group is studying how news consumers process information in the digital age. They developed an online news portal to examine the influence of news agendas, tone and other attributes of contemporary political information.
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.
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.
Minimum requirements: 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.
When you complete the online application:
- Make sure you choose Mass Communication as your degree program (NOT Communication Studies)
- The LSU institution code for the GRE and TOEFL is 6373
- Encourage your recommenders to submit letters to the online system. If they insist on paper, they can mail letters to: Attn: Graduate Program, Manship School of Mass Communication, Journalism Building, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
Deadline: 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.
For further information, contact: