Ph.D. in Information and Media

The interdepartmental Information and Media Ph.D. Program prepares students to become scholars, teachers and leaders. Three highly ranked academic units of MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences participate in the academic training: the Department of Advertising + Public Relations, the School of Journalism and the Department of Media and Information.

Our Program

We invite you to join an exciting interdisciplinary field of study at the intersection of the social sciences, media and socio technical systems. We develop and apply transformative knowledge about all media systems, society and evolving information and communication technologies. The program engages students to become leaders in academia, government, and industry in the media and information fields. 

Our approach is multidisciplinary, combining faculty members with degrees in communication, advertising, public relations, journalism, economics, information studies, sociology, law, marketing and computer science, all pursuing teaching and research opportunities in three participating departments.



Research Areas and Faculty

Faculty in the three participating departments have complementary skills and research interests. Students typically participate in one or more research groups and design a dissertation to take advantage of the interdisciplinary environment offered by the program. Research in our department currently focuses on the following areas:

Advertising + Public Relations

  • Media psychology and persuasion
  • Neuroscience and social influence
  • International advertising and public relations
  • Effects of media on child and family development


  • News media effects
  • News production, distribution and impact
  • Freedom of speech and press

Media and Information

  • Social media and social computing
  • Human-computer interaction, games and meaningful play
  • Management info system (policy and economics)
  • Health (media, ICT and development)

Ph.D. Ranking

QS World University rankings place MSU 6th in the world and 5th in the U.S. in communication and media studies. The National Communication Association (NCA), in their most recent doctoral program reputation study, ranked MSU’s Ph.D. programs as No. 1 in educating researchers in communication technology, and in the top four in mass communication. Michigan State University ranked third in frequency of faculty publication in communication in a study reported in The Electronic Journal of Communication in 2012.


Students move as a cohort through a common set of introductory, theory and methods courses, complemented by courses (some outside the department and college) that allow tailoring the Ph.D. program to meet each individual’s research interests. The three departments collaborate in offering core and specialized courses as well as in guiding students during the dissertation phase. Recent course offerings include (but are not limited to):

  • Theory-Building in Information and Media Studies
  • Media Theory
  • Media and Technology
  • Quantitative Research Design
  • Qualitative Research Design
  • Advanced Quantitative Research Design
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Big Data Analysis
  • Psychology & Effects of Social Media Use
  • Doctoral Seminar in Human Computer Interaction
  • Doctoral Seminar in Theories of Social Media
  • Doctoral Seminar in Video Games
  • Doctoral Seminar in Content Analysis
  • Doctoral Seminar in Consumer Psychology
  • Doctoral Seminar in Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)

Research Labs and Centers

Questions? Additional information about the Information and Media Ph.D. program may be obtained from:

Pat Huddleston
Information and Media Ph.D. Program Director
(517) 353-9907

Manuel Chavez
Information and Media Ph.D. Program Co-Director
(517) 432-1411

Nancy Ashley
Academic Programs Coordinator
Information and Media Ph.D. Program
(517) 432-1526

College of Communication Arts and Sciences
404 Wilson Road, Room 304
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824