Doctorate, with concentration in Media Studies

Studies Grad Student Awards


The UT RTF department consistently ranks in the top ten programs in the U.S. for both the academic study of media and for media production.

We offer:

  • Mentorship and diverse coursework offered by world-class faculty across the humanities and social sciences
  • High rate of success in job placement in the academy, industry, government, and at non-profit organizations  
  • Interdisciplinary program options (e.g., Business, Latin American Studies, Public Affairs)
  • Wide range of Portfolio Programs (e.g., Women & Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Museum Studies)
  • Internships with local media industry, festivals, policy institutions, and cultural organizations
  • Ability to supplement coursework in media studies with classes in media production and screenwriting
  • Professional development seminars every semester (e.g. developing resumes/CVs, designing conference presentations, preparing for job talks, etc.)
  • Pedagogy seminars and workshops for Teaching Assistants and Assistant Instructors
  • Opportunities to teach stand-alone courses
  • Structured timeline for successful program completion
  • Annual review meetings with detailed, constructive feedback
  • Access to the Harry Ransom Center’s research collections, including Mad Men, Robert DeNiro, Paul Schrader, David O. Selznick, Gloria Swanson, and much more
  • Editorial and organizational roles for department-based journals and conferences, including Flow and Velvet Light Trap
  • Vibrant Austin media community
  • Low tuition and fees relative to peer institutions
  • Collaboration with a dynamic graduate student community that offers professional development and social activities through a peer mentorship program, organized writing groups, and the RTF Graduate Student Organization (GSO)

UT RTF doctoral alumni are producing valuable research, publishing innovative work, contributing to academic and policy debates on key communication and media issues, and inspiring better media practices. Our students regularly publish in highly ranked peer-reviewed journals, including JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies; New Media & Society; Media, Culture, and SocietyTelevision & New Media, and more.

About the Ph.D. with Concentration in Media Studies

The PhD with concentration in Media Studies is a scholarly degree incorporating coursework, comprehensive exams, and research culminating in a dissertation. Students are expected to present their work at conferences and produce original work that is worthy of publication. Students admitted to this program must have already earned an M.A. degree. We do not have a PhD program in Film and Media Production or in in Screenwriting.

Curricular requirements include 6 credit hours in theory and literature (RTF 395), and 12 credit hours of research tools or language (including RTF 380). The department also requires students to complete nine credit hours in a minor field, outside the RTF department. Minor work may be taken in the College of Communication or elsewhere in the University.

All Ph.D. students are guaranteed four years of funding in the form of Teaching or Research Assistantships.

See Program of Work.

Portfolio Programs

Portfolio programs provide opportunities for students to obtain credentials in a cross-disciplinary academic area of inquiry during the same time that they complete the requirements for their doctoral degree. With these programs, students take thematically related graduate courses.

Current university-wide portfolio programs offered by the graduate school include: