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 advisor to design specializations in politics, photojournalism, sports, magazine journalism, foreign reporting, or other areas. 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 Any student failing to meet this standard will be withdrawn from the program, although the requirement may be waived by the chair of the department and designated faculty members.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. 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.

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

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

Recommended Focus Areas (choose any six courses)

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 Broadcast Writing/Reporting
  • JO 711 Video Journalism
  • JO 712 Online Radio Newsroom
  • JO 733 Enterprise Reporting/TV
  • JO 734 TV Newsroom

Business and Economics

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

Digital Lab

  • Press Play
  • Computational Journalism
  • JO 515 Multimedia for Photojournalists
  • JO 550 Advanced Online Journalism
  • JO 712 Online Radio Newsroom

International Reporting

  • JO 516 Foreign Reporting
  • JO 545 Reporting Military Affairs
  • JO 708 Foreign Correspondence
  • CM 831 International Communication
  • The Crisis Reporting Fellowship and courses in International Relations are recommended


  • 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 502 Narrative Theory and Practice
  • JO 519 Narrative Radio
  • JO 527 Narrative Nonfiction
  • JO 542 The Literature of Journalism
  • JO 703 Magazine Writing
  • JO 708 Foreign Correspondence
  • JO 719 Feature Writing


  • JO 502 The Art of the Interview
  • JO 503 Journalism Research
  • JO 508 Electronic Copyediting
  • JO 511 Covering Government and Politics
  • JO 534 Broadcast for Nonmajors
  • JO 535 Investigative 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 Digital Photography

Public Policy

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


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