Department of Journalism Studies - PhD research

Why do your PhD with us?

Our research focuses on how communication with the public is undertaken, whether directly or through the media. With journalism and public and political communication at the heart of our enquiry, we draw from various other disciplines such as sociology, history, political theory, politics and law. We produce high-quality outputs. We engage with policymakers both nationally and internationally. And we use our impact to improve the quality of mediated information in various contexts, locally and globally.

Research in the Department of Journalism Studies is supported by our two research centres.

Centre for Freedom of the Media

The Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) is a global, interdisciplinary research institute which aims to:

  • contribute to the development of policies to protect media freedom and public interest journalism whenever they are under threat in areas of conflict, instability or tension
  • inform and advise governments, policymakers and stakeholders internationally on countering threats to media freedom, bringing about positive changes to laws, policy and practice and raising standards of journalism safety.

CFOM works with international organisations such as UNESCO, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the African Media Initiative and Fondation Hirondelle. Professor Jackie Harrison, chair of CFOM and head of Journalism Studies, has been awarded the first UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity.

View the CFOM website

Centre for the Study of Journalism and History

Over the past ten years the Centre for the Study of Journalism and History has established itself as a forum for interdisciplinary research on journalism and history. The institute has organised more than ten international conferences, bringing together experts from over 20 countries to set up dialogues about using journalism both as a source for understanding the past, and for clarifying ideas about the public sphere, language and discourse. The centre is particularly interested in developing robust methodologies for exploiting digital archives of journalism content. Current members have attracted almost £1million in external funding. Recent published work includes Tabloid Century by Bingham and Conboy (2015) and the Routledge Companion to British Media History (2018), edited by Conboy and Steel.

The centre has a thriving postgraduate research community and a rich set of digital and physical resources and encourages applications in any area of relevance to its current research projects.

All our students are very welcome to engage with our research centres and with the Communication, Media and Journalism research group (CMJ). This is a community within the Department of Journalism Studies which comprises our PhD students and research-active academic staff, and a place where ideas can be exchanged. It is supported by a seminar series which brings guest speakers to Sheffield from across the world. It is an exciting and vibrant research community and we’re looking forward to you becoming part of it.

Expand the links below to find out more about what the department offers PhD students.

Excellent supervision and support

PhD supervision meeting between student and academic

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.

Students around the Information Commons

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).


What next?

Our programmes of study are reviewed annually to make sure they're current and relevant. Changes may be made in response to discoveries made through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability and variations in student numbers.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on these webpages, for the reasons detailed above, changes may need to be made to programmes of study and fees after you have applied for a place. Where these are substantial in nature, we'll inform you as soon as we can.