Graduate ProgramsMFA in Production PhD in Media Studies MA in Media Studies MFA in Screenwriting


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Ph.D. in Media Studies

About Media Studies

Our Media Studies Programs offer a critical approach to scholarship and pedagogy through the work of our faculty and students. We produce valuable research contributing to academic and policy debates on key communication and media issues.

Media Studies addresses the central role of media in arts, culture, society, and politics, within our historical as well as local, regional, national and global contexts. We research and teach how media engage cultural practices, political participation, and social interactions within economic structures and technological systems. We engage a wide range of broadcast and emerging media, including but not limited to film, television, radio, digital media, mobile communication, video, and interactive games. We explore media as sites for the articulation and struggle over identity, in terms of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, religion, and generation. We value multiple theoretical and methodological approaches through the interdisciplinary study of texts, production, industry, policy, reception, and audiences. Through media literacy based in empirical work, we aim to inspire better media practices as well as informed citizen engagement.

For information on the media studies cluster, Media, Technology, and Social Change, see this desciption.

Ph.D. in Media Studies

Typically, Ph.D. students are guaranteed four years of funding in the form of Teaching Assistantships and/or Assistant Instructorships.

Students admitted to this program must have already earned a Master's degree. Although not usually stated in hours, the Ph.D. degree requires a minimum 42 hours beyond the Master's degree (effective Fall 2013). Additional work beyond the minimum 42 hours may be required. Required courses include 6 hours in RTF 395 (Theory and Literature), and 9 hours of other research tools or language. The Department also requires that 9 of the 42 hours must be in a minor field, outside the RTF department. Minor work may be done in the College of Communication or elsewhere in the University. The Ph.D. in this department is a scholarly degree incorporating research and culminating in a Dissertation. Producing original and publishable work is part of our degree expectations. No Ph.D. program exists in Film and Video Production or in Writing for Film and Electronic Media.  However, committed to bridging the gap between studies and production, UT-RTF offers a limited number of screenwriting and production courses to M.A. and Ph.D. students.

A written Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination, usually taken in the semester following completion of course work. This examination is usually completed in three days and focuses on the student's plan of study, specialized as well as minor areas, and proposed dissertation work.

Preparation of a Dissertation Proposal approved by the student's committee of five faculty members.

A Dissertation written under the direction of one or more advisors and an oral defense before a committee of at least five faculty members. The Graduate School requires that at least one of the five Dissertation Committee members be from a department other than Radio-Television-Film.

Ph.D. Handbook

Comprehensive Exam Schedule