Apply to the Information and Media Ph.D. Program

Applications are reviewed by the Information and Media (I&M) Ph.D. Executive Committee and the three participating units - the Department of Advertising + Public Relations, the School of Journalism and the Department of Media and Information.

Like other MSU Ph.D. programs, this is a competitive review, with applicants ranked among all that apply for a given year. Admission is for the fall semester only. The review of applications begins December 5, so early applications are encouraged. The deadline for applicants who wish to be considered for funding is December 1 of each year. Late applications are considered on a case-by-case basis after that date.

Next application deadline: December 1, 2021
for Fall 2022 admission

*The University is in the processing of transitioning to a new graduate admissions system. During the migration of systems the current admission system will be shut down. - No new applications can be completed during the time period of July 9 to August 1. - All incomplete applications should be completed by July 12. Applications deemed incomplete will not be migrated to the new system, therefore you will be required to re-initiate your application in the new system starting August 2. New information and links will be provided as they become available.

To apply to our program please follow the steps below:

1. Meet our faculty

Explore our Ph.D. faculty. Check out their bios to locate two or three members of our faculty members with interest similar to yours. You may want to email them about your plans to apply for doctoral study at MSU, share your interests and ask about their current projects.

Explore Ph.D. Faculty

2. Complete the Graduate School application

  • The fee is $65 for domestic students, $75 for international, and can be paid with credit card, check (US Funds), or money order.
  • If application is not paid for, it will not move on to the review process.
  • Please remember to write down your application ID number.
  • When you receive your email confirmation you will receive a link to the Student Portal to complete your application.
  • You will want to use major code 6322.

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3. Upload the following materials to the Applicant Portal:

  • Academic Statement. A concise academic statement of your plans for doctoral study, your career goals and how the Information and Media Ph.D. program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. Be sure to relate your plans and goals to the interests of the faculty you have contacted. To help us connect you to our faculty please indicate which unit (Advertising and Public Relations, Journalism or Media and Information) fit you best. Designate multiple units if you see a fit in more than one unit. Tell us which faculty member(s) you would like to work with.
  • Personal Statement. A concise personal statement about how your background and life experiences, including social, economic, cultural, familial, education or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a doctoral degree.
  • Sole Authored Writing Sample. For example, a conference paper, journal article, Master's thesis, or class project will fulfill this requirement.
  • Resume (CV). Include all activities that account for your time since earning a bachelor’s degree (e.g. employment, military service, travel). Include the type of activity, name of employer, city/state and dates. List the most recent activity first. Also include all relevant professional experiences, locations, dates and any scholarly conference presentations or publications.
  • Email addresses for your three recommenders. (Note: an email will be sent out to your recommenders providing them the information on where to submit their letters electronically. The department will only accept letters submitted via the online system)
  • Transcripts. The student must request each college or university attended to date to submit one copy of the official transcript to the Information and Media Ph.D. Program. The transcripts should show the courses taken and the grades earned. For international institutions, please request official copies of the documents in both native language and English. They can be sent to:
    • College of Communication Arts and Sciences
      Attn: Nicole Bond
      404 Wilson Road, Rm 304
      Michigan State University
      East Lansing MI 48824
    • We understand during this unprecedented time of COVID-19, you may run into complications sending your transcripts. Please see options below, and if you still have questions please contact Nicole Bond.
      • Domestic (United States) Institutions. We can accept electronic transcripts sent directly from the domestic institution itself. Please have them sent to Nicole Bond.
      • International Institutions.
        • If you are not in your home country, you can arrange for a friend or family to pick up the documents, sealed in an envelope from the institution and mail them to the address listed above. The documents need to be in a sealed envelope from the institution in order for it to be considered official.
        • If you have attended a bachelor program in mainland China, although not required, you may submit electronic CDGDC and CHESICC reports in lieu of official, hardcopy academic records IF you would prefer or are having difficulties requesting records. These must be sent directly from CHESICC or CDGDC electronically to MSU Admissions. CHESICC reports may be sent via Parchment to MSU Admissions and CDGDC reports may be emailed (in PDF form) to Please notify Nicole Bond if that is what you are doing and send confirmation once they have been sent.
  • All other materials should be reported electronically through the Applicant Portal or reported via ETS to the University. Supporting materials sent as a hard copy that should be submitted electronically in the Applicant Portal will not be accepted by the department.
  • Submit Your Test Scores. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the 2021 application cycle, Graduate Record Examination Scores (GRE) will be waived.

Go to the Applicant Portal

4. International Students report the following directly to the Office of Admissions:

  • English Language Proficiency. All international students whose first language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English as a condition for regular admission to MSU. This can be accomplished by any one of the following options:
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): A minimum score of 580 (with no sub scores below 55) on the paper version of the TOEFL, or a minimum score of 100 with a no sub score below 21 on the internet-based version of the TOEFL.
      1. Automatic waivers are permitted only for those who have completed a four-year college degree in the United States, at an institution with English as the language of instruction or a M.A. degree at an AAU Tier I Institution.
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): A minimum score of 7 with no sub scores below 6.
    • Michigan State University English Language Test (MSUELT): (English Language Center [ELC], Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA). All admitted International students must take upon arrival. International students are required to take this test prior to enrolling in courses. If you do not pass the test, you will be required to take a semester of English Language courses and you may not be able to enroll for any additional academic courses. Once you have successfully completed the English Language courses you will be moved form provisional to regular status.

All these tests must have been taken within two years of the student’s application to the doctoral program. Scores from the TOEFL, MELAB and IELTS must be forwarded directly to the Office of Admissions from the testing agency.

5. Track Your Application

Email your faculty contacts to inform them that you have submitted your application. Ask them about their current projects to continue a conversation about mutual interests. Track your progress and verify the receipt of documents through the Student Portal. We strive to update the system regularly but during high volume times we ask for your patience.