MS in Journalism

The MS in Journalism program is designed to produce graduates trained to analyze and explain the complex events of our times, as well as raise journalistic standards in all media. Journalism students at Boston University learn about the profession by covering local, state, and national government as well as various political, business, and cultural activities. Assignments are under the direction of experienced, accomplished journalists who are current or recent leaders in professional journalism.

Students have the opportunity to pursue a specific area of interest. They work with an assigned academic advisor to design a focus in politics, photojournalism, sports, magazine journalism, foreign reporting, or other areas listed below. A range of interests can be explored with the help of University faculty and other resources during the additional semester, including further enhancement of skills they have gained through previous journalism courses, such as multimedia, magazine, radio, and—of course—writing.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for a Master of Science in Journalism may enroll as either full- or part-time students in the Journalism program, which focuses on the full spectrum of writing and reporting skills. The degree requires 12 courses (48 credits).

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average each semester, in addition to earning a minimum grade of B– in COM JO 721 Journalism Principles and Techniques, to continue in the program. Any student failing to meet this standard may be dropped from the program, although the requirement may be waived by the chair of the department in consultation with appropriate faculty members. In such cases, the student is considered to be on probation, and any subsequent failure to achieve the mandatory academic standards will result in dismissal without review.

The Department of Journalism places a great emphasis on student performance in COM JO 721 Journalism Principles and Techniques, the most intensive writing and reporting laboratory course in the core curriculum. It challenges the student under real-life pressures and deadlines and serves as an excellent indicator of a student’s pre-professional ability and suitability for the working newsroom.

Students select electives from 500-level or above courses in the College of Communication. Students who have strong interests in a special field are sometimes permitted to substitute a course in their area of interest from graduate-level courses in other schools and colleges of the University. Students must receive an approved petition to receive credit for courses taken outside of the College of Communication. Students are advised to attain petition approval prior to the start of the course.

With approval via petition, graduate students in the Journalism program may also receive credit for appropriate 300-level courses. Students are advised to attain petition approval prior to the start of the course.

Journalism Curriculum

Required Courses (24 credits)

  • Graduate Seminar in Journalism (2 cr)
  • JO 706 Journalism Toolkit (2 cr)
  • JO 525 Media Law and Ethics
  • JO 704 Online Journalism
  • JO 721 Journalism Principles/Techniques
  • JO 737 Internship
  • JO 955 Professional Project

Recommended Focus Areas (choose any six courses—24 credits)

Students are encouraged to cluster courses within one or more recommended focus areas. Throughout their careers, journalists are called upon to tackle a number of issues and stories; as such, a cross-platform knowledge of the industry is essential.

  • JO 502 The Art of the Interview
  • JO 519 Narrative Radio
  • JO 707 TV Reporting
  • JO 711 Video Journalism
  • JO 712 Online Radio Newsroom
  • JO 733 Enterprise Reporting/TV
  • JO 734 TV Newsroom
  • FT 544 Documentary Production


  • JO 501 Introduction to Business and Economics Reporting
  • JO 502 Economics Reporting
  • JO 503 Journalism Research
  • JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • Questrom School of Business courses (with advisor approval via petition)


  • Press Play
  • Computational Journalism
  • JO 550 Advanced Online Journalism
  • JO 712 Online Radio Newsroom


  • JO 503 Journalism Research
  • JO 516 Foreign Reporting
  • JO 545 Reporting Military Affairs
  • CM 831 International Communication

The Pulitzer Crisis Reporting Fellowship and courses in International Relations are recommended with advisor approval.


  • JO 703 Magazine Writing
  • JO 500 Media Criticism
  • JO 504 Arts Criticism
  • JO 512 Editorial Design
  • JO 520 Advanced Editorial Design
  • JO 533 The Essay
  • JO 542 The Literature of Journalism
  • JO 718 Magazine Workshop
  • JO 719 Feature Writing


  • JO 519 Narrative Radio
  • JO 527 Art of Narrative Nonfiction
  • JO 542 The Literature of Journalism
  • JO 703 Magazine Writing
  • JO 516 Foreign Reporting
  • JO 719 Feature Writing


  • JO 502 The Art of the Interview
  • JO 503 Journalism Research
  • JO 508 Multi-Platform Story Editing
  • JO 511 Covering Government and Politics
  • JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • JO 542 The Literature of Journalism
  • JO 719 Feature Writing


  • JO 513 Advanced Photojournalism
  • JO 522 Professional Photo Portfolio
  • JO 515 Multimedia for Photojournalists
  • JO 537 Advanced Visual Storytelling


  • JO 511 Covering Government and Politics
  • JO 523 The Presidency and the Media
  • JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • JO 545 Reporting Military Affairs
  • JO 546 State House Program
  • The Washington, DC Program and electives in Political Science are recommended with advisor approval via petition


  • JO 502 The Art of the Interview
  • JO 514 Sports Journalism
  • JO 519 Narrative Radio
  • JO 532 Sports Journalism Seminar
  • CM 536 Sports Communication
  • JO 536 British Broadcast Journalism in Historic Perspective
  • JO 524 Sports Broadcast
  • JO 719 Feature Writing
  • Courses in Sports Management and Law may be taken with advisor approval