Journalism schools, also known as ‘J-schools,’ have done well regarding placement numbers in this difficult economy. Part of the reason for the employer demand is that journalism schools have been emphasizing new technologies through courses such as digital news design and data visualization. At their core though, journalism schools teach a skill set (finding and assessing information, and presenting it clearly and concisely) that is valuable in many fields. In addition to working in news media, J-school graduates can be found in public relations, marketing, publishing, politics and government, and virtually any other setting that involves the relay of information. That said, many students enter journalism schools because they were bitten by ‘the journalism bug’ and will never be happy in any other profession.

Journalism schools can help working reporters bring their work to a higher level of professionalism and help prepare them for more challenging and rewarding positions. For others, a master’s in journalism can be a means of changing careers. For anyone, J-school can help sharpen reporting and writing skills, provide a venue for producing published work, and open contacts with people working in what tends to be an insiders’ industry.

The following table lists some of the most highly regarded journalism programs at U.S. colleges and universities.

MS, MS Data & MA (1 yr FT, PT possible for MS)
App. deadlines: Dec 16

Est. GRE: N/A

(Columbia Journalism doesn’t consider the GRE or other standardized test scores.)

Master’s in Journalism (1 yr FT, beginning w/2-month ‘boot camp’ in July/Aug)
Doctoral programs also offered.

App deadline: Jan. 15

Avg. GRE:
Quant 156
Verbal 153
Writing 4.0

Note: Most, but not all masters programs require the GRE!

MSJ (1 yr FT, starts in June and September)

App deadline: Dec. 3 (summer), Jan. 3 (fall)

Est. GRE:
Quant 153
Verbal 156
Writing 4.4

Notes: GMAT also accepted. Some applicants can earn exemptions from the GRE!

M.A. Duration: 3-5 semesters if FT, PT options (thesis and non thesis options)
Ph.D. also offered.

App deadlines: Jan. 1 (Ph.D.) Mar 1 (M.A.)

Est. GRE:
Quant 152
Verbal 156
Writing 4.5

M.J. (2 yrs FT)
App deadline: Dec 3

The GRE is only required if you wish to be considered for the FLAS fellowship

MS (2 yrs)
Ph.D. offered as well.

App deadline: Feb 1
(Dec. 31 for int’l applicants)

Est. GRE:
Quant 151
Verbal 154
Writing 4.3

MS Journalism (1 yr FT)

App deadline: Jan. 5

Est. GRE:
Quant 150
Verbal 155
Writing 4.5

You usually don’t need an undergraduate degree in journalism or previous journalism experience to be accepted to the top journalism schools. Admissions committees look more at career goals, motivation, and broader life experience. You do, of course, need competent verbal skills. All journalism programs demand a great deal of writing, much of it done on the spot.

Some journalism schools have two ‘sides,’ one oriented toward practice and the other toward research. Think carefully about your career goals. If you want to be a practicing journalist, a master’s program oriented toward professionals is right for you. If you think you might want to go on to do mass communications research, or to teach journalism at the university level, you will probably want to go on a Ph.D. program some day. In that case, you’re well advised to pick a master’s program that will provide the scholarly training you need to perform at that level.

Please note the data and graph were last updated in November 2018.