With just a few days before the December 1 deadline to apply to the Newhouse School‘s doctoral program in Mass Communications, we asked students in their first year of the program to discuss their experiences so far.
Newhouse admits a maximum of five doctoral students a year. This year’s first-year cohort has four students: Angie Chung, Myojung Chung, Laura Osur, and Jaime Riccio. All received their master’s degrees at top institutions, Angie at Northwestern, Myojung at Harvard, and Laura and Jamie here at Syracuse University, in the Newhouse School’s Media Studies program.
All four said that one of the best things about the Newhouse doctoral program is its small size, especially when combined with its collegial environment.
“The best part of the Newhouse Ph.D. program is the collaboration between students within the program and between faculty and students,” Jaimie said. “Some doctoral programs come with a big disclaimer that says “‘WARNING: Extreme competition ahead.’ Here, the program is so competitive externally because we all work together internally.”
“There are lots of benefits to having a small program,” she said. “The first years get to know the second and third years really well, and that’s been invaluable. I love how friendly, supportive, and generous everyone is.”
The first-years identified two other key attributes of the program: its flexibility in terms of coursework, and the way it engages them in meaningful research right from the start.
“I love the flexibility of the program; it allows you to explore what you are really interested in,” Angie said. “Newhouse has great courses, and you can also take many different classes outside of Newhouse.”
All four first-years are already involved in high-level scholarship, many through the research methods class that kicks-off the program, taught by the world-renown Dr. Pamela Shoemaker, as well as in direct collaboration with other professors.
For instance, Myojung is conducting a quantitative content analysis for Dr. Shoemaker’s class that compares the U.S. and Chinese media coverage of the Arab Spring. She’s also working on a Q study of national image in South Korea with Dr. Dennis Kinsey, the chair of the doctoral program, and is explicating the concept of national image in her theory class with Dr. Carol Liebler.
All the work relates directly to Myojung’s interests and will likely find its way into several conference papers and publications.
For those of you finishing up your applications, some of whom will soon have to decide whether to accept offers from the program, Jaime has this advice: “Jump at this opportunity! You won’t regret it. I’ve been here for both my Master’s and now my doctorate and my peers and professors continue to offer knowledge that I haven’t discovered yet and opportunities that I wouldn’t find elsewhere.”