MS in Journalism

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 and/or a 48-credit enrollment.

In addition, each student must submit a professional project or thesis that, in the judgment of the faculty, makes an original contribution to the study of mass communication. Students have three options: a professional project of 5,000 words that demonstrates substantial accomplishment in original reporting for newspapers; two nonfiction, professional-quality magazine articles, each approximately 2,500 words long; or a series of related reports published or suitable for newspaper publication totaling 3,500 words. Students choosing the professional project must submit their pieces by the department deadline. Substantial rewriting is usually required.

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 and COM JO 722 Advanced Journalism Seminar, to continue in the program. Any student failing to meet either of these standards will be dropped 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 and COM JO 722 Advanced Journalism Seminar, the most intensive writing and reporting laboratory courses in the core curriculum. They challenge the student under real-life pressures and deadlines and are therefore excellent indicators of his or her 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.

Journalism Curriculum

General Assignment Concentration

Students who focus their MS broadly by choosing general assignment journalism will be expected to complete 12 courses (48 credits) designed to achieve three major goals: 1. mastery of the basics of journalism and a full understanding of the history, principles, ethics, laws, and practices of the profession; 2. working knowledge of several of the mainstream specialties in journalism; and 3. the ability to work in more than one format or medium.

Core Requirements (4)

  • COM JO 525 Media Law and Ethics
  • COM JO 721 Journalism Principles and Techniques
  • COM JO 722 Advanced Journalism Seminar

Choose one from the following:

  • COM JO 503 Journalism Research or
    COM JO 807 Advanced Journalism Research

Subject Area Requirements

Choose three from the following:

  • COM JO 501 Intro to Business and Economics Reporting
  • COM JO 516 Foreign Reporting
  • COM JO 545 Reporting Military Affairs
  • COM JO 514 Sports Journalism
  • COM JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • COM JO 724 Science Newswriting II
  • COM JO 502 Political Reporting (Washington)
  • COM JO 737 JO Internship
  • COM JO 954 Washington Newsroom (8 credit)
  • COM JO 511 Covering Politics (Statehouse)
  • COM JO 546 Filing for Newspapers (Statehouse) (8 credits)

Format Requirements

Choose three from the following:

  • COM JO 506 Writing Columns and Editorials
  • COM JO 513 Advanced Photojournalism
  • COM JO 534 Broadcast News for Non-Majors
  • COM JO 540 Online Journalism
  • COM JO 538 Feature Writing
  • COM JO 519 Narrative Radio

Electives

Choose two from the following:

  • COM JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • COM JO 506 Columns and Editorials
  • COM JO 502 Special Topics–Profile Writing
  • COM JO 504 Arts Criticism
  • COM JO 509 Literary Journalism
  • COM JO 703 Magazine Writing


International Reporting Concentration

Students pursuing an MS in journalism with an international reporting concentration are generally preparing for assignments as foreign correspondents. Students will be expected to take 12 courses for a total of 48 credits. Preparation includes: 1. mastery of the basics of journalism and an understanding of the history, principles, ethics, laws, and practices of the profession; 2. depth in this chosen area of expertise—possibly language skills and two or more courses focused on a region, country, or topic area such as Third World Development, Islam, or international terrorism; and 3. the ability to work in more than one format.

Core Requirements (4)

  • COM JO 525 Media Law and Ethics
  • COM JO 721 Journalism Principles and Techniques
  • COM JO 722 Advanced Journalism Seminar

Choose one from the following:

  • COM JO 503 Journalism Research or
  • COM JO 807 Advanced Journalism Research

Subject Area Requirements: (4 or 5)

  • COM JO 516 Foreign Reporting (Required)

Choose three or four of the following:

  • COM JO 545 Reporting Military Affairs
  • COM JO 501 Introduction to Business and Economics Reporting
  • COM CM 831 International Communication (Alternative to London)
  • CAS-IR (Regional or Topical Courses) (A CAS economics class can substitute for an IR course.)
  • CAS-IR (Regional or Topical Courses)
  • CAS-IR (Regional or Topical Courses)

Format Requirements

Choose one or two from the following:

  • COM JO 506 Writing Columns and Editorials
  • COM JO 513 Advanced Photojournalism
  • COM JO 534 Broadcast News for Non-Majors
  • COM JO 540 Online Journalism
  • COM JO 703 Magazine Writing

Electives

Choose two from the following:

  • COM JO 500 Media Criticism
  • COM JO 502 Special Topics—Profile Writing
  • COM JO 509 Literary Journalism
  • COM JO 514 Sports Journalism
  • COM JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • COM JO 724 Science Newswriting II

London Summer Course (done in first and second sessions)

  • COM CM 744 International Mass Media I (Subs for IR course)
  • COM CM 745 Comparative Political Systems I (Subs for IR course)
  • COM JO 737 Reporting on Britain II (Subs for IR course)

London students must do all JO core courses and three concentration courses, plus at least one format course.


Political Reporting Concentration

Students who would prefer to use their MS for political reporting will be expected to complete 12 courses (48 credits) designed to achieve three major goals: 1. mastery of the basics of journalism and a full understanding of the history, principles, ethics, laws, and practices of the profession; 2. working knowledge of political reporting; and 3. the ability to work in more than one format or medium.

Core Requirements (3)

  • COM JO 525 Media Law and Ethics
  • COM JO 721 Journalism Principles and Techniques

Choose one from the following:

  • COM JO 503 Journalism Basic Research Methods or
    COM JO 807 Advanced Journalism Research

Subject Area Requirements:

Washington
  • COM JO 502 Political Reporting
  • COM JO 737 Internship
  • COM JO 954 Washington Newsroom (8 credits)

Plus

One subject-area CAS-Pol elective or

Statehouse
  • COM JO 511 Covering Politics
  • COM JO 546 Filing for Newspapers (8 credits)

Plus

Two subject-area CAS-Pol electives

Format Requirements

Choose one or two from the following:

  • COM JO 513 Advanced Photojournalism
  • COM JO 519 Advanced Radio
  • COM JO 534 Broadcast News for Non-Majors
  • COM JO 538 Feature Writing
  • COM JO 540 Online Journalism

Other Print Electives

Choose two or three from the following:

  • COM JO 500 Media Criticism
  • COM JO 502 Special Topics—Profile Writing
  • COM JO 506 Writing Columns and Editorials
  • COM JO 516 Foreign Reporting
  • COM JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • COM JO 545 Reporting Military Affairs
  • COM JO 724 Science Newswriting II


Magazine Concentration

Students who focus their MS on magazine journalism will be expected to complete 12 courses (48 credits) designed to achieve three major goals: 1. mastery of the basics of journalism and a full understanding of the history, principles, ethics, laws, and practices of the profession; 2. working knowledge of major elements of writing for magazines; and 3. the ability to work in more than one format or medium.

Core Requirements (4)

  • COM JO 525 Media Law and Ethics
  • COM JO 721 Journalism Principles and Techniques
  • COM JO 722 Advanced Journalism Seminar

Choose one from the following:

  • COM JO 503 Journalism Research or
  • COM JO 807 Advanced Journalism Research

Concentration Courses. Choose five of the following:

  • COM JO 500 Media Criticism
  • COM JO 538 Feature Writing
  • COM JO 509 Literary Criticism or
  • COM JO 703 Magazine Writing
  • COM JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • COM JO 718 Magazine Workshop

Format Requirements

Choose one of the following:

  • COM JO 506 Writing Columns and Editorials
  • COM JO 513 Advanced Photojournalism
  • COM JO 519 Narrative Radio
  • COM JO 534 Broadcast News for Non-Majors
  • COM JO 540 Online Journalism
  • COM JO 703 Magazine Writing

Electives

Choose two of the following:

  • COM JO 500 Media Criticism
  • COM JO 501 Intro to Business and Economics Reporting
  • COM JO 511 Covering Politics
  • COM JO 514 Sports Journalism
  • COM JO 516 Foreign Reporting
  • COM JO 545 Reporting Military Affairs
  • COM JO 724 Science Newswriting II
  • COM JO 737 Internship
  • COM JO 504 Arts Criticism


Sports Reporting Concentration

The MS concentration in sports reporting in print journalism is designed to provide students journalistic skills, a deeper understanding of sports in societal context, and to give them as well some experience working in more than one format. Students are also encouraged to use at least one elective to explore other journalistic topics from a rich menu of courses offered. Students must take 12 courses for a total of 48 credits.

Core Requirements (4)

  • COM JO 514 Sports Journalism
  • COM JO 525 Media Law and Ethics
  • COM JO 721 Journalism Principles and Techniques
  • COM JO 722 Advanced Journalism Seminar

Subject Area Requirements (4)

  • COM JO 532 Sports Journalism Seminar
  • SED HM 510 Sports Psychology or
    SED HM 710 Sport Theory in Social Systems (If these classes are not available during a semester, other courses maybe substituted by approved petition.)
  • COM JO 737 Journalism Internship
  • COM CM 536 Sports Communication (If these classes are not available during a semester, other courses maybe substituted by approved petition.)

Format Requirements

Choose two from the following:

  • COM JO 513 Advanced Photojournalism
  • COM JO 519 Narrative Radio
  • COM JO 524 Sports Broadcast Journalism
  • COM JO 534 Broadcast News for Non-Majors
  • COM JO 540 Online Journalism
  • COM JO 703 Magazine Writing
  • COM JO 506 Writing Columns and Editorials
  • COM JO 707 Writing/Reporting for Broadcast News

Electives

Choose two from the following:

  • COM JO 501 Intro to Business and Economics Reporting
  • COM JO 516 Foreign Reporting
  • COM JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting
  • COM JO 705 Science and the Mass Media

Consult the Courses section for other options.