Applying to the Information and Media PhD Program

Apply for a Ph.D. in Information and Media

Applications are reviewed by the IMPhD Steering Committee and the three participating units. This is a competitive review with applicants ranked among all that apply for a given year. Admission is for 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 January 1. Late applications are considered on a case-by-case basis after that date.

Step 1: Meet Our Faculty

Launch the IMPhD faculty directory on this page and follow the linked faculty bios to locate two or three members of our faculty with interest similar to yours. You may want to email them about your plans to apply for doctoral study at MSU, your interests and ask about their current projects. Use that information when writing your academic statement. View the faculty.

Step 2: Start Your Application

Visit this web page to start your application:

To help us connect you to our faculty please indicate in your application which of our units (AD+PR, Journalism, or Media and Information) fit you best. Designate multiple units if you see a fit in more than one and the faculty you would like to work with.

The fee is $65 for domestic students, $75 for international students, and can be paid with credit card, check (US funds), or money order (see application for details). Please remember to write down the application ID number for you will need this for the next step. Note: you will provide the email addresses for your recommenders in the next step.

Step 3: Upload Information to the Student Portal

When you receive your email confirmation you will receive a link to the Student Portal to complete your application. The IMPhD major code is 1500.

The portal requires online submission of the following (no hardcopies will be accepted):

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic or professional work and are willing to assess your aptitude for graduate work. Once you have listed your recommenders and their email addresses the system will generate an email to your recommenders explaining the process to submit their letters electronically (NO HARDCOPIES accepted).
  • An 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.
  • A 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.
  • A Resume: Include all activities that account for your time since earning a bachelors 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.
  • Indicate your area of interest: Advertising and Public Relations; Journalism; or Media and Information.

Step 4: Send Your Transcripts

One original paper copy of official transcripts and degree certification documents for all college work should be sent directly from the institution to Nancy Ashley at the address below.

Note: For applicants submitting transcripts from Chinese institutions: All transcripts and degree certification documentation from Chinese institutions must come from the China Qualifications Verification (CDGDC). We will not accept materials sent directly from the student or degree granting institution. Only materials sent from CDGDC directly to our office will be considered "official". You will need to submit your transcripts and degree certificates to the CDGDC for review and request that they send a full and official report to the department. Should you be admitted to our program while completing your last semester of study, you will need to repeat the process and submit the materials for review once your degree has been conferred.

Step 5: Submit Your Test Scores

Graduate Record Examination Scores (GRE) are required. When submitting scores use the university code 1465. There are no fixed minimum scores but GRE results are a factor in our admissions decisions.

For International Applicants ONLY: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. For the paper version, a minimum score of 580 with no subscore below 55 is required. For the Internet based test a total score of 93 with no subscore below 21 is required. When submitting scores use the university code 1465. 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 an MA degree at an AAU Tier I institution.

All admitted International students must take MSU’s English Language test upon arrival on campus. 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 from provisional to regular status. For more information about the ELC test visit their website at

Step 6: 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 your patience.

All questions should be directed to:

Nancy Ashley
Academic Programs Coordinator
Information and Media PhD Program
404 Wilson Road
Room 340 Communication Arts & Science
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: 517-432-1526
Fax: 517-355-7710

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