The University of Sheffield
Department of Journalism Studies

Research degrees in journalism

Our research work is influential, particularly on freedom of the media, the history of journalism and its political dimensions. We also focus on international developments in journalism and the relationships between national cultures and the news.

We take a multidisciplinary approach to research. Our staff have backgrounds that link journalism with other areas of academic study, such as politics, sociology, cultural studies and history. They also bring a depth of professional experience from organisations like the Guardian, the BBC, the Sunday Times, Yorkshire Television, the Press Association and the Independent on Sunday.

We've invested heavily to ensure that research students at Sheffield have access to high-quality workspace and IT facilities. Digital archives of newspapers, periodicals and political broadcasts provide a rich resource for researching media past and present. Senior figures from the media often visit as guest speakers.


Join the team

We currently have around 20 students at varying stages of research degree studies. Their work is supported by superb study facilities, and by PhD supervisors who command a reputation both at home and internationally.

If you're interested in joining them, we'd love to hear from you. Here are our research specialisms in a little more detail. If your idea resonates with any of these areas, please get in touch.


The history and practice of journalism

In addition to hosting the Centre for the Study of Journalism and History, staff in the department can support areas of research which cover aspects of popular culture, tabloid journalism, representations and identity. Some particular focal points are newspapers in the 19th and 20th centuries and the history of political broadcasting.

Media freedom and censorship

As well as hosting the Centre for Freedom of the Media, we examine how and why journalists worldwide experience varying degrees of independence from government. We are also interested in research that focuses on media and press freedom more broadly. This includes engaging in theoretical and historical studies that have a bearing on contemporary issues of media and specifically journalistic freedom.

The language of journalism

We're interested in the linguistic choices made by media organisations and journalists when they report on the news. Research based on discourse analysis can throw a new light on debates around impartiality and balance.

Media, journalism, civil society and politics

Different media shape political and social landscapes, and are shaped by them. Our research unpicks the workings of these processes in various nations. We also examine the civil power of the news and political communication.

Regulation, ethics, the law and media education

This strand of research scrutinises ethical issues in journalism, the role of journalists' training, and the influence of national cultures in forming journalists' views, ethics and values.

The news media in Europe and Europe in the news media

How is Europeans' perception of their continent shaped by the press? We examine issues of European identity in media coverage, analysis of EU regulation, and other matters concerning Europe and the role of journalists.

Communication Information News Messages

A student researching online

Microphones held by reporters

Overhead view of students working in the Information Commons

Let's discuss your ideas

Your first point of contact to discuss a research degree is Martin Conboy. Email or telephone 0114 222 2505 (+44 114 2505 from outside the UK).

You can talk about your proposal informally to begin with. Later we'll ask you to submit a research proposal of 1,500 to 2,000 words. This should include a working title, indicative reading and a research plan for three years.