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, 2023

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 the application is not paid for, it will not move on to the review process.
  • Please remember to write down your application ID number because it is needed for the next step.
  • 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:

When you receive your email confirmation of receipt of the MSU Graduate Application you will also receive a link to the MSU Graduate Application Portal. Please go to this portal and create your MSU Graduate Application account. 

The MSU Graduate Application system will require online submission of the following (NO HARD COPIES accpeted):

  • 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. 
    • Domestic (United States) Institutions
      • Transcripts from domestic institutions can be sent electronically from the institution to the Academic Program Coordinator, Nicole Bond.
    • International Institutions
      • Official copies of ALL records from all postsecondary schooling attended/attending. Mark sheets, transcripts, certificates, and diplomas, must be submitted as official documents directly from each institution. In most cases, these documents will need to be sent in official, sealed, issuing institution envelopes. 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 below on your behalf. The documents need to be in a sealed envelope from the institution in order for it to be considered official. 

        Records must show courses taken, grades earned, and must be translated into English if the original records are in another language. Translations must be done by the issuing institution, a certified translator in the country of study, or by an American Translator’s Association certified translator in the US. The original record should be also included.

        Note that MSU requires final, degree-granting academic records to be sent as proof of degree award. Many international transcripts do not indicate degree award information, and therefore MSU requests applicants send official copies of their final degree diplomas as proof of degree award.

        For applicants who have been awarded degrees - final, official records should be sent during the application process. For applicants completing degree programs during the application process, the latest, official, available academic records should be sent, with final records sent as soon as possible after admission.

        Review MSU's International Transcript Requirements for country-specific transcript information. Transcripts can be sent through the online services listed below or by mail. If sending by mail, any hard copy of academic records must be sent in an official, sealed envelope from the issuing institution itself. 

Submit Your Test Scores. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the 2022 application cycle, Graduate Record Examination Scores (GRE) will be waived.

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. Test scores should be sent from the testing agency directly to MSU. Most testing authorities are able to send scores electronically. In the rare case that a physical copy must be sent, it should be sent to;
    • Office of Admissions
      Hannah Administration Building
      426 Auditorium Road, Room 250
      East Lansing, MI 48824-2604

 MSU is currently accepting the following tests for international students applying for Fall 2022: 

  • 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.