10 Best Graduate Programs in Journalism

10 Best Graduate Programs in Journalism
1Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York, New York
2University of California-BerkeleyBerkeley, California
3Northwestern UniversityEvanston, Illinois
4New York UniversityNew York, New York
5University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia, Missouri
6Stanford UniversityStanford, California
7The University of Texas at AustinAustin, Texas
8University of Maryland-College ParkCollege Park, Maryland
9Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, New York
10University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, Illinois

This is a ranking of the 10 Best Graduate Programs in Journalism in the US. This ranking is designed for students to make the most informed college and degree decisions.

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These journalism programs let students from different educational or professional backgrounds focus on Journalism. Students usually deepen their knowledge in a specialty area.

These programs fit many different types of students. Programs can accept recent graduates, graduates from years ago, and working journalists. Some programs gear themselves toward those who have never reported a story.

Most programs are customizable. You can choose one that uses a scholastic approach in reporting. Or opt for hands-on training in student media or professional internships. You may also get published in portfolios which are reviewed by faculty.

Most of these programs allow students to specialize in a subject area or media format. Students can choose between magazine, news, broadcast or digital journalism, for example.

Related Journalism Rankings:

  1. 10 Best Bachelor’s in Journalism Programs
  2. Best Investigative Journalism Master’s Degrees
  3. 17 Best Communication Management Programs

Many programs are only a year in length and require full-time attendance. Most value hands-on experience so students can produce high quality work on deadlines. Expect to be reporting often.

If you want to produce news stories at a national scale, a graduate journalism degree could be right for you. Whether reporting on politics or fashion, intensive training will elevate your skill level. A graduate degree arms you with fantastic resources and launches your career forward.

10 Best Graduate Programs in Journalism Ranking Guidelines

The Ten Best Graduate Programs in Journalism

1.Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, New York

The Columbia Journalism School offers three graduate options. These programs are the Master of Arts in Journalism, Master of Science in Journalism, Master of Science in Data Journalism. These options open the door to journalists of all experience levels, even those with no experience.

Any student can delve into their own area of interest. Students in the M.A. program often have three to 15 years of experience. These students want to go deeper into a journalistic subject area. They advance their skill level and careers in the process.

Students in this program concentrate in: Arts and Culture, Business and Economics, Politics, and Science.

Students in the M.S. Journalism program often have zero to three years of experience. They are either looking to change their career or elevate their work. Students can specialize in Stabile Investigative Program or the Documentary Program. Students in the M.S. Data Journalism program also have zero to three years of experience.

These students are specifically interested in reporting data-driven stories. They work across media platforms as they hone their reporting skills and take computational data courses.

Students can customize their course load to meet their career goals. Students can take advantage of Columbia’s New York location. Columbia is able to place students in some of the best journalism fellowships in the country.

Credit requirements: Vary by program

Selected courses: Algorithms, Book Writing, City Newsroom, Covering American Politics, Journalism of Ideas

Enrollment options: The MS in Journalism offers full or part time enrollmentProgram length: Students may take nine months to two years to complete the MS in Journalism. Students complete the MS in Data Journalism is three semesters.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must have a previous bachelors degree in any field. Students must submit a written test, multiple recommendations, essays on personal and professional interest, resume, samples of past journalistic work, and official transcripts. The Journalism School does not accept transfer credits from other institutions for students in the M.S. or M.A. degree programs.

Accreditation: Columbia Journalism School receives accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

2.University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley, California

The Master in Journalism (MJ) program at Berkeley requires a rigorous academic commitment.

The curriculum includes a required summer internship to ensure students are practicing. First semester students begin reporting and producing local news features with multimedia tools.

Then, as students choose their intended media platform, they deepen their areas of command. Students choose between the following platforms of study: Audio Documentary, Narrative writing, New media, Photo-journalism, and Video journalism.

Small classes allow professors, who are practicing journalists, to serve as mentors. They teach in-depth classes on topical reporting such as: Health reporting Investigative reporting International reporting Science and technology reportingMaster’s students emerge with a robust portfolio by the end of their two years.

They finish their time at UC Berkeley with a master’s project specific to their platform. Concurrent Master’s degrees are also available.

This allows student to complete two Master’s degrees together such as: Journalism and Asian Studies, Journalism and Law, and Journalism and Public Health.

Credit requirements: 36 semester units of course work

Selection of courses: Public Records/ Data Journalism, Introduction to Visual Journalism, Reporting and News Labs, and Law and Ethics.

Program length: Two yearsAdmissions and transfer credit information: Prospective students must have a previous undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Most students have between two and five years of professional work experience in journalism. This might include work in student media.

Students submit their resume, official transcripts, recommendation letters, personal statement, and sample of journalistic work. No credit from any previous institution can transfer.

3.Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Medill’s Master of Science in Journalism degree gives students skills to launch their career in journalism or new media.

Students select a subject area or method specialization to study. Students begin by completing their core courses with a selected intro course the summer before their first fall on campus.

Specializations in subject area or method include: Health, Environment and Science, Magazine Media, Innovation and Content Strategy, Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs, Social Justice and Investigative Reporting, Sports Media, Video and Broadcast.

The curriculum in the program varies on the chosen field of specialization. Students can gain professional experience and spend 10-12 weeks abroad in an optional fifth quarter.

Graduates join thousands of alumni working at the top of their field across the country. Notable graduates include “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin and Editor-in-Chief at Mother Jones Magazine, Clara Jeffery.

Credit requirements: Four quarters

Selection of courses:
  • Foundations of Interactive Journalism
  • Feature and Magazine Writing
  • We the People: Demographic Reporting
  • Advanced Health and Sciences Reporting

Program length: One year

Admissions and transfer credit information: Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree and submit their academic transcripts, GRE or GMAT test scores, resume, essays, optional work samples, and recommendations. Applicants will also undergo an admissions interview. Admissions does not accept transfer credit into this program.

4.New York University

Carter Journalism Institute

New York, New York

The Master of Arts in Journalism at the Carter Journalism Institute lets students study based on their topical or methodical interest. Students learn from top-notch faculty.

Current faculty members have written books, published for acclaimed papers and magazines, and produced documentaries for organizations like the National Public Radio.

The list of concentrations in the Master’s program include: Business and Economic Reporting, Cultural Reporting and Criticism, Global and Joint Program Studies, Literary Reportage, Magazine and Digital Storytelling, News and Documentary, Reporting the Nation, and New York Science, Health and Environmental Reporting.

Students have the chance to pair their 16-months of coursework with publication opportunities. They may publish both pre-professionally and professionally. They can also apply for fellowships offered in conjunction with the University.

One such opportunity is the Reuter-NABJ Fellowship, which includes a summer internship at Reuters. All programs include a master’s project or thesis. The News and Documentary track culminates with each student producing a thirty-minute documentary.

Credit requirements: 36 to 48 credits

Selection of courses:

  • Writing the Long Form Narrative
  • First Amendment Law
  • Writing Social Commentary
  • Advanced TV Reporting
  • Press Ethics

Admissions and transfer credit information: The Carter Institute accepts students with bachelor’s degrees in any field. Students will submit a personal statement, undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores and recommendations. The Institute accepts clips (published examples of applicants’ work) submitted with applications, and recommend that applicants submit any clips they have.Admissions accepts up to eight transfer credits.

Accreditation: The Carter Institute receives accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

5.University of Missouri-Columbia

Columbia, Missouri

The Missouri School of Journalism offers the following graduate programs:

  • Master of Arts in Journalism
  • Master of Arts in Journalism Accelerated Program
  • Journalism Doctorate of Philosophy
  • Online Master of Arts in Journalism

Students who benefit from these programs include those preparing for careers in news media and strategic communication, professionals with media experience who hope to switch to a new area, and students who want to pursue academic careers in journalism.

The master’s program offers a complete set of real media experiences. Students can contribute to the only network affiliate television station in the country used to train students. Students have several opportunities to pad their portfolios including writing and editing for the daily community newspaper or joining the local magazine. Students may also study at the campus-based NPR affiliate. Students can take their studies to a global scale as they hone in on their theses or master’s projects. The school also offers educational programs located in Washington, D.C., New York, and Brussels.

Credit requirements: 37 credits minimum, 30 credits for the accelerated master’s program.

Selection of courses:

  • The Literature of Journalism
  • Media Sociology
  • Problems in Journalism
  • Mass Media Seminar
  • Photography in Society

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must submit unofficial copies of all transcripts, three essays as specified on the School of Journalism website, resume, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. For the online program, admissions does not require GRE scores. However, students must have three years professional experience in a journalism or communication field.

Accreditation: The Missouri School of Journalism receives accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

6.Stanford University

Stanford, California

The Master of Arts in Journalism program at Stanford University focuses on a data-driven approach. Students begin their professional training with data collection and interpretation.

Journalism and data technology students might enjoy its multi-media data approach.

The program’s cornerstones include:

  • Beat reporting
  • Data reporting
  • Multimedia storytelling
  • DSLR videography
  • Investigative reporting
  • News app building
  • Feature storytelling
  • Localizing national stories

In addition to journalistic principles, students gain expertise in many software programs.

Students learn programs such as:

  • Python
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Jekyll
  • WordPress
  • GitHub

At the end of the program all students complete a master’s project. Students choose subject areas to develop long-term stories and critique them at length. While they are not required to publish, the faculty must review and approve their project.

Credit requirements: Minimum of 45 credits

Selection of courses:

  • Public Affairs
  • Data Journalism
  • Perspectives on American Journalism
  • Becoming a Watchdog
  • Advanced Digital Media Production
  • Building News Applications
  • The Politics of Algorithms

Program length: One year

Admissions and transfer credit information: The Master’s in Journalism program admits around 15 students per academic year. Admissions does not require GRE test scores. Interested students must submit official transcripts, three journalistic samples, resume, and three letters of recommendation. The program does not accept any transfer credit.

7.The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

The School of Journalism offers two graduate programs. The Master of Arts in Journalism and the Doctorate in Journalism.

The Master’s program splits into two options: the Professional Track and the Research and Theory Track.

The Professional Track is for students coming from another field of study or who have past professional experiences. The program prides itself on applying accountable journalism principles across beats or media. The curriculum requires two semesters of coursework and a summer internship at a professional media outlet.

The Research and Theory track is for students with undergraduate degrees in journalism or professional journalism experience. Students in this program plan to enter a doctoral program. They at least want to gain a foundational expertise for a separate media-related career. This degree program ends in a thesis.

The doctoral program is a longer-term program, culminating in a dissertation. It is research intensive. Students study quantitative and qualitative approaches to research as they learn practical and inventive analyses of data.

Different clusters of study include:

  • Political communication
  • Audience research
  • News engagement
  • Visual journalism
  • Cultural race and gender studies

Credit requirements: 30 credits for Master’s Professional Track plus an internship. 30 credits for Master’s Research and Theory Track plus a thesis. 57 credits required for Doctoral program.

Selection of courses:

  • Qualitative Methods
  • Mass Communication Theory
  • Reporting Texas
  • Business of News
  • Lifestyle Journalism

Enrollment options: The Master’s program is full time.

Program length: Students complete the Master’s program within two semesters.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit their academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, resume, statement of purpose, and a visual storytelling portfolio. Admissions requires writing samples for doctoral applicants. Admissions does not require, but strongly encourages writing samples for master’s applicants.

Accreditation: The School of Journalism receives accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

8.University of Maryland-College Park

College Park, Maryland

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism offers both a Master of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Journalism.

The Master of Arts is for scholars and academics. It is research-oriented, culminating in a thesis. Students complete classes on theory and methods. This program requires past experience.

The Master of Journalism is a flexible, non-thesis program for students aiming to work as professional journalists. It culminates in a review of students’ journalism portfolio by faculty. Students choose to specialize in a specific medium, but are able to tailor the program to their interests.

Broadcast or multi-platform students may also specialize in investigative, computational/data or sports. Students complete the program with a six-credit capstone course. They may take this course in one of the Capital News Service (CNS) bureaus on campus, in Annapolis or Washington, D.C.

A semester in the award-winning Howard Center for Investigative Journalism is also available.

Credit requirements: 30 credits for the Master of Arts, 36 credits for the Master of Journalism.

Selection of courses:

  • News Videography
  • Seminar in Mass Media History
  • Advanced Online News Bureau
  • Long Form Broadcast Journalism

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit undergraduate transcripts, a statement of purpose, the graduate application, three letters of recommendation, three writing samples or multimedia samples, and optional GRE scores. Admissions does not accept transfer credit to these programs.

Accreditation: The Philip Merrill College of Journalism receives accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

9.Syracuse University

The Newhouse School of Public Communications

Syracuse, New York

Syracuse University offers a Master of Arts Professional Degree Program in: Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications, Broadcast and Digital Journalism, and Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism.

All degrees prepare students to publish their work across media forms.The Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program trains students to work online, on air, or in print.

Each student customizes their curriculum with the program director and a faculty member in their area of interest.

Topics of study include:

Music Theater Film Visual arts Television Popular culture Fashion Architecture and design

The Broadcast and Digital Journalism program is for students with or without experience. It exposes them to hands-on training paired with select academic courses. Students work in a variety of roles in the electronic newsroom. Students will anchor, report, shoot and produce. Working faculty members guide students in their near constant reporting in small classes.

Classes begin the summer before the program in the Boot Camp. In the summer following the academic year students travel to Washington, D.C. to report on politics at major news stations and outlets. The Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism program builds students’ writing and editing skills.

Students learn to write top-notch stories on deadline. Students write and create multimedia stories for publication. They have opportunities at the school’s news magazine site or at local media outlets. Students write for and run about a dozen student publications.

Students graduate after their capstone project. This includes creating and launching a digital publication on a responsively designed website, working on enterprise reporting projects, or completing a professional internship and professional project.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours in arts journalism or magazine, newspaper and online journalism, 40 credit hours in broadcast and digital journalism.

Selection of courses:

Capstone: Arts Writing Workshop NYC Arts News Reporting Cultural Issues Multiplatform reporting and writing

Program length: Most students complete the program in 12-14 months.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Interested students must submit an online application, resume, transcripts, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, optional GRE scores, and a video interview submission. For the arts journalism program, students also must submit three writing samples on arts or culture. For the broadcast and digital program, students must submit at least two writing samples.

Accreditation: The Newhouse School of Public Communications receives accreditation from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

10.University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Illinois

The Department of Journalism in the College of Media offers the Master of Science in Journalism (M.S.) and the Master of Journalism (M.J.).

The Master of Journalism program is a fifth year option for undergraduate students enrolled in the University.

The MS in Journalism program helps students who are looking for a professional terminal degree, or who already have experience in the field.

Undergraduate students may also take the MS program as a fifth year option.

Both programs combine a small college approach with a research university.

Students study in small classes alongside experienced professors. Students learn the principles of journalism and its history and trends. Students gather news in various methods, specializing in one major form.

Students graduate with a working understanding of the changing world of professional journalism.

Selection of courses:

  • Multimedia Editing and Design
  • Social Media Theory and Practice
  • Audio Journalism

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must meet a 3.0 GPA requirement and submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, a personal statement and writing samples. Admissions requires GRE scores for applicants without an approved post-secondary degree. Admissions does not accept transfer credit into these programs.

10 Best Graduate Programs in Journalism Ranking Guidelines

Successful Student ranks colleges and degree programs for the benefit of students. In this ranking, we looked at’s ranking of schools in Journalism. ranks schools by the influence of their faculty and alumni in publications in Journalism. We then selected graduate programs in particular, and looked at their degree options and academic prestige to make our final ranking.