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College of Information and Communications


Mass Communication

Why Choose Our Doctoral Program?

Top 10 reasons to choose us for your doctoral education.

1. Size

We value quality over quantity.  Only five students are accepted to the doctoral program each year.  This ensures that our students work one-on-one with the School’s graduate faculty.  Doctoral candidates are an integral part of our academic community and our professors will know your name.

2. Connections

Our faculty are connected to the most recognized organizations in our field, including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), Broadcast Education Association and the International Communication Association.  Dr. Ran Wei is the editor of Mass Communication and Society, a leading scholarly journal in the field.  Dr. Shannon Bowen is on the Board of Directors for the International Public Relations Research Conference and Dr. Carol Pardun is a past president of AEJMC. 

3. Track Record

Graduates of our program are hired at leading universities, including the University of Florida, the University of Minnesota, the University of Alabama and Pennsylvania State University.  Many hold leadership positions at these institutions.  For example, Dr. Juan-Carlos Molleda (Ph.D., 2000) is the chair of the Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida.  Dr. Jennifer Wood Adams (M.A. 1999, Ph.D. 2004) is the director of the School of Communication and Journalism at Auburn University.

4. Expertise

Our faculty are experts in their respective fields.  Faculty members are particularly strong in the areas of science and health communication, new communication technology, advertising and public relations, history and law. See more details here

5. Support

We support our doctoral students financially.  Beyond our nationally competitive financial graduate assistantships, we offer additional incentives.  Our Caldwell Scholarship is awarded to outstanding doctoral students.  USC’s Presidential Fellowship is the university’s highest award of excellence at the graduate level.  Travel grants are provided to students presenting research at academic conferences as well. 

6. Collaboration

Our faculty and students conduct research with scientists across the University of South Carolina and beyond.  Interdisciplinary research is often conducted with faculty in USC’s Arnold School of Public Health, the School of Social Work, the Department of History and the School of Law.

7. Curriculum

Our doctoral program boasts a curriculum that allows students to obtain the research skills, both quantitative and qualitative, required for a successful career in the academic arena, in particular at Carnegie Classified Research Universities.  Students also build their own research emphasis, working with faculty who are experts in the fields of mass communication.

8. Commitment to Teaching

Not only do our doctoral students complete our program knowing how to conduct research, but they also know how to teach courses at the college level.  Our doctoral program is one of the few requiring a Seminar in Teaching Mass Communication.  Qualified students are often given the role of lead instructor in an undergraduate course.  In some doctoral programs, students receive little teaching experience beyond the role of teaching assistant.

9. New Technology

In Fall 2015 the School of Journalism and Mass Communications moved to an innovative new building designed for a 21st century communications program. Located in the historic heart of the USC campus, the facility is an inviting atmosphere for teaching, learning and media research. Graduate students enjoy their own graduate education suite, just steps away from the school's rooftop garden, where students can study or meet with classmates.

10. Location

Must we mention that we’re located in sunny Columbia, South Carolina?  Tennis, golf and other outside activities are enjoyed year-round. If you’re a beach lover, you’re just 1½ hours away.  The Blue Ridge Mountains are only 2 hours to our north. And as the state capital, Columbia has plenty of great restaurants, museums, festivals, opportunities for young professionals and more.