Master of Science in Journalism

Graduate study in the Department of Journalism comprises a dynamic and practical series of courses that prepare graduates for jobs in digital media and newsrooms. Students from any academic background are welcome. A bachelor’s degree in journalism is not required. 

The Master of Science in Journalism (MS) program is designed to meet the goals of three types of students:

  1. Students who have recently earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism or a related field and want to explore a specific type of journalism in greater depth
  2. Mid-career journalists who want to expand their professional skills in science, technology, data, investigative or immersion journalism
  3. Students who seek to complement their expertise in other areas (including but not limited to science, technology, engineering and math) with journalistic skills for communicating with the public

Students can pursue the degree on campus or, if they choose the focus on Science and Technology Journalism, they can complete the degree entirely online.

The faculty are internationally esteemed practitioners and scholars who offer instruction in a wide range of media subjects and skills, including investigative and immersion journalism, data analysis and visualization, science writing, social media, business reporting, and diversity and ethics in media. Students also have access to the resources of a top research university, such as the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

Students will build a strong personal portfolio including projects that are published and aired through an array of award-winning professional newsrooms overseen by the department and carried by regional, national, and international outlets.

FAQ

What are the application requirements?

Official transcripts from all universities you have attended, an academic statement of purpose, a personal statement, a writing sample and three letters of recommendation are required. Submit your applications here: https://grad.illinois.edu/admissions/apply

Applicants to the MS in Journalism program must have a 4-year bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or one of recognized standing abroad. A grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) is the minimum requirement for admission. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for applicants whose undergraduate degree was earned at a university outside the United States. 

Applicants whose native language is not English must present their official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination as part of their applications. The department follows the Graduate College’s recommendations for English proficiency. (See https://grad.illinois.edu/admissions/instructions/04c for additional information.)

International applicants should consult https://grad.illinois.edu/admissions/countries for additional information about minimum requirements for admission, including information about comparable bachelor's degrees.

What should I talk about in my academic statement of purpose?

You will be asked to write a statement that answers the following questions (recommended length: 750 words max):

  • How has your academic and professional background, including any professional training, prepared you for graduate study?
  • How will our program help you achieve your intellectual and professional goals?
  • What are your academic interests and why do you wish to pursue graduate studies in this specific program?

What should I talk about in my personal statement?

You will be asked to write a statement that answers the following question (recommended length: 250 words max):

Do you have any personal experiences, achievements, strengths, or circumstances not discussed in your academic statement that you would like to include or that you believe will help you succeed in our program? 

What type of writing sample should I submit with my application?

Choose anything that highlights your abilities to clearly communicate about a topic. Any piece of writing will work, whether journalistic (such as a news article, podcast script, press release, or opinion column), academic (such as a paper completed for a college course), or professional (such as a report or white paper). Please limit the length to no more than 1,500 words.

Where can I find more information about applying?

To learn about the application process, go here: https://grad.illinois.edu/admissions/faqs

What’s the deadline to apply?

To start the program in Fall 2023, applications are due March 3, 2023.

Are any scholarships or fellowships available?

Fellowships are available for select MS students. Fellowships are awarded on a quarter-time basis and carry a waiver of tuition and most fees. A limited number of merit-based scholarships also are available. There are no separate applications for fellowships or scholarships.

Whom can I contact if I have additional questions?

The Graduate College at Illinois has detailed information about programs and requirements here: http://catalog.illinois.edu/graduate/graduate-majors/journalism/

You can reach the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Brant Houston, at houstonb@illinois.edu.

You can reach the Department of Journalism at journ@illinois.edu.