MS in Journalism

Our master’s program in journalism is designed to produce graduates who are trained to analyze and explain the complex events of our times, as well as raise journalistic standards in all media forms. Throughout your career as a journalist, you will be called upon to tackle a number of issues and stories; as such, a cross-platform knowledge of the industry is essential. You will become a content expert across all media while sampling electives from a variety of areas, including public policy, photojournalism, science, sports, magazine, foreign reporting, and more.

First-semester courses emphasize reporting, news judgment, writing, and visual skills as you plunge into the history, law, ethics, and techniques of traditional journalism and gain an introduction to digital media. In later semesters, you’ll work with a faculty advisor to tailor your program from courses across the College of Communication and the University. Under the direction of a senior faculty member, you’ll produce a professional-quality final Master’s Project that will showcase your skills and interests.

Learning Outcomes

  • The student will understand the realities of modern journalism.
  • The student will understand the need for clear and concise writing and accuracy, regardless of the delivery platform.
  • The student will gain the ability to create stories under time constraints and challenging circumstances.
  • The student will evaluate sources and resources from which news is generated and prepared for dissemination.
  • The student will practice identifying and dealing with those sources, assessing their accuracy.
  • The student will gain an understanding of the historical, legal, and ethical issues affecting 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 (50 credits). Full-time students complete this program in three semesters of enrollment. Part-time students can enroll in up to eight credits per semester and complete this program in six or more semesters.

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 a minimum grade of B– in JO 955 Professional Project to continue in the program. Any student failing to meet these standards may be dismissed 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.

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

Journalism Curriculum

Required Courses (26 credits)

  • COM JO 700 Graduate Symposium in Journalism (2 cr)
  • COM JO 704 Online Journalism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 710 Digital Toolkit (4 cr)
  • COM JO 721 Journalism Principles/Techniques (4 cr)
  • COM JO 725 Media Law and Ethics (4 cr)
  • COM JO 737 Internship (4 cr)
  • COM JO 955 Professional Project (4 cr)

Recommended Journalism Elective Courses (choose any six courses—24 credits)

Students are encouraged to select courses across 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.

Students may choose electives (500+ level) that are not listed below.

The same elective courses are not offered every semester. Other special topics courses may be offered on a semester basis.

Curriculum Offerings

  • COM FT 544 Documentary Production (4 cr)
  • COM JO 500 Media Criticism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 502 Special Topics (4 cr)
  • COM JO 503 Journalism Research (4 cr)
  • COM JO 504 Arts Criticism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 505 Race and Gender News (4 cr)
  • COM JO 506 Columns and Editorials (4 cr)
  • COM JO 508 Multi-Platform Story Editing (4 cr)
  • COM JO 511 Covering Government and Politics (4 cr) JO 511 and JO 546 are taken concurrently
  • COM JO 546 State House Program (8 cr) JO 511 and JO 546 are taken concurrently
  • COM JO 513 Advanced Photojournalism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 514 Sports Journalism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 516 Foreign Reporting (4 cr)
  • COM JO 519 Narrative Radio (4 cr)
  • COM JO 520 Advanced Editorial Design (4 cr)
  • COM JO 521 Data Journalism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 522 Filmmaking for Journalists (4 cr)
  • COM JO 523 The Presidency and the Media (4 cr)
  • COM JO 527 Narrative Nonfiction (4 cr)
  • COM JO 530 Drafts of History (4 cr)
  • COM JO 533 The Essay (4 cr)
  • COM JO 535 Investigative and Project Reporting (4 cr)
  • COM JO 537 Advanced Visual Storytelling (4 cr)
  • COM JO 539 Global Health Storytelling (4 cr)
  • COM JO 541 Art of the Interview (4 cr)
  • COM JO 542 The Literature of Journalism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 543 Rescuing Lost Stories: Writing Nonfiction Narratives from the Archives (4 cr)
  • COM JO 544 Trauma Journalism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 547 Sports Storytelling (4 cr)
  • COM JO 548 Podcasting (4 cr)
  • COM JO 550 Advanced Online Journalism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 702 Advanced Science Writing (4 cr)
  • COM JO 703 Magazine Writing (4 cr)
  • COM JO 707 TV Reporting (4 cr)
  • COM JO 711 Video Journalism (4 cr)
  • COM JO 712 Online Radio Newsroom (4 cr)
  • COM JO 719 Feature Writing (4 cr)
  • COM JO 734 TV Newsroom (4 cr)
  • Computational Journalism (4 cr)

Courses in Sports Management and Law may be taken with advisor approval.

Questrom School of Business courses may be taken with advisor approval and in consultation with the Questrom School of Business.

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

The Washington, D.C. Program and electives in Political Science are recommended with advisor approval via petition.