Our PhD offer

At the Department of Journalism Studies, communication and journalism are at the heart of everything we do.

Studying
Off

We understand journalism and communication broadly and in exciting, innovative ways.

Our supervision expertise lies in the following areas:  

  • Data journalism 
  • Humanitarian crisis communication 
  • Journalistic (un)freedoms, journalism safety and the issue of impunity 
  • The role of unmediated communication, the visual and performative arts as well as the factual and fictional media in peacebuilding 
  • Journalism in crisis, conflict and post-conflict/peacebuilding 
  • Mediated identity narratives, memorialisation and collective memory
  • The role of news journalism in society and political regimes past and present 
  • Strategic communication and public diplomacy 
  • The mediation of terrorism and extremism as well as of conflict, peace and reconciliation  
  • Polarization and depolarization in public discourse 
  • The use of the visual in news reporting such as the pocket cartoon
  • Humour in political communication and international relations
  • Public perception of international politics
  • Environmental communication/journalism

The exciting part? Our research is genuinely interdisciplinary with our members of staff coming from politics, history, sociology, law and many other areas. We have a vibrant research culture, high REF ranking and an impactful policy agenda. Our departmental research centre - Centre for Freedom of the Media - is internationally recognised for its research excellence, its powerful advocacy and its impact – the UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity is a genuine testament to CFOM’s standing. CFOM also hosts the Hub for the Study of Hybrid Communication in Peacebuilding which brings together academics and non-university organisations that share a deep interest in the fundamental role of communication in peaceful cooperation. 

Joining us means joining a vibrant research community, becoming part of an international and multicultural PhD cohort and maybe even having the opportunity to work with our departmental research centre. You will gain an invaluable set of research skills to build your career on – within or beyond academia. 

A PhD is likely to be the most challenging type of academic work you have ever done – but it will also be the most rewarding. 

Find out more

You can undertake a PhD with us in one of two ways

From 1 April onwards we will have two PhD programmes. The first encourages you to produce a traditional doctoral thesis of 80.000-100.000 words making you the expert in your chosen topic. Our newest programme is a PhD with a practical element. You will write a substantially shorter doctoral thesis, illustrate your findings and convey them to a specific audience by developing a practical element.

Traditional PhD

PhD with a practical element

Excellent supervision and support

As a PhD student in the Department of Journalism Studies you'll  be supported by PhD supervisors who command a reputation both at home and internationally. Your supervisors will make sure you get the skills and training you need and keep your research on track.

You will be assigned at least two supervisors with research interests that overlap with and complement your own. Your supervisors will meet with you regularly to check your progress, discuss your ideas and your training needs, and provide feedback on your work. If any problems arise, they'll be your first point of call.

You will also have a personal tutor who you can speak to about pastoral issues, who provides an additional point of contact and source of support if problems arise.

Use the University's Find a Supervisor tool to identify potential supervisors for your PhD.

Great facilities

If you decide on Sheffield as the place for your PhD studies you'll get access to an excellent range of facilities and support to support your research.

Being a University of Sheffield student gives you access to several exceptional quality libraries, including the award-winning 24/7 Information Commons, and the archives, maps, and special collections held at Western Bank Library. You will have the benefit of a top quality, innovative Careers Service staffed by experts who will listen to and respond to your needs. Find out more about the University campus facilities.

All University of Sheffield students are given unlimited free storage on Google Drive, and the University has a contract with Google to ensure this storage meets our security requirements. In addition, students get 10GB of storage on the University Filestore, with the option to request more. The Filestore is secure, password protected, regularly backed-up, and accessible both on and off campus. You'll get access to a range of up-to-date software packages, with more specialised software available if required. You will be able to access wi-fi internet not only throughout the University of Sheffield but also at other university sites around the UK, via the Eduroam system.

Here in the Department of Journalism Studies you'll have dedicated office space in a beautifully refurbished building, accessible at all times of the day.

PhD training in the Faculty of Social Sciences

As part of the Faculty of Social Sciences you'll have access to world-class training alongside your doctoral study. The Social Sciences Doctoral Training programme is tailored to your individual needs to ensure you have the right skills you need to develop your research.

The training programme is designed to exceed current UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) training and development guidelines, and gives all PhD students in social sciences access to ESRC-funded White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership cohort activities, regardless of your source of funding.

Bespoke methods training is designed and given through the Sheffield Methods Institute, which has world-class research expertise in qualitative and quantitative methods. All our students receive interdisciplinary training and experience opportunities via the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership, and additional discipline-specific training is provided by individual departments.

Teaching opportunities

Our PhD students have the opportunity to undertake teaching on the department's undergraduate programmes during their time with us. You can also undertake training through the Sheffield Teaching Assistant scheme, and through this you'll have the opportunity to gain professional recognition as an Associate Fellow or Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA or FHEA).

Find a PhD

Search for PhD opportunities at Sheffield and be part of our world-leading research.