Best Journalism Graduate Programs for Aspiring Journalists

Journalism graduate schools allow students to gain experience with a variety of media outlets, including television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and websites. Find out about the rankings, degree offerings and other special features for some of the best journalism graduate programs.

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Graduate level journalism degrees are available across the country but are not all created equal. The following schools offer some of the country's best programs in this field.

School Overviews

The University of Missouri at Columbia, Northwestern University and Arizona State University offer top-ranked journalism graduate degree programs for aspiring journalists. Northwestern provides master's degree options, while the University of Missouri at Columbia and Arizona State University have master's and doctoral programs. Students can choose from a variety of specializations, and opportunities for hands-on experience are frequently integrated into the programs.

The following schools have been ranked by U.S. News and World Report and Princeton Review as some of the best schools with graduate level journalism programs.

University of Missouri - Columbia

School Highlight: The journalism department at the University of Missouri offers an online Master's program ideal for professionals with three or more years of experience.

In 2016, the University of Missouri was named a Best Midwestern College by Princeton Review. The university's School of Journalism offers two degree programs for graduate students. The school offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Journalism with more than 20 degree specializations. Areas of study include advertising, strategic communication, news design, environmental reporting, photojournalism, investigative reporting and magazine editing. The traditional master's degree requires two years of study, though a 5-year program is also available for students who want to obtain a bachelor's and master's degree in a shorter time span. Students in the master's degree program participate in traditional courses, media labs and a capstone experience.

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Journalism is also available for students pursuing research or teaching positions in the field. The program can be completed in three years and requires students to conduct extensive research in one area of journalism. Ph.D. candidates can study political communication, persuasion, history of media, mass communication, and other models. Graduate students in both degree programs learn journalism skills through work with local radio stations, a commercial television station, a daily newspaper, three magazines and four school websites.

Northwestern University in Evanston, IL

School Highlight: Northwestern journalism graduate students have the opportunity to take part in the program's Chicago Newsroom, DC Newsroom, or Global Residency Program.

Northwestern University is one of the top-ranked schools in the nation. In 2016, U.S. News and World Report ranked the private university the 12th best school, while Princeton Review included Northwestern in its list of Best Midwestern Colleges. The Medill School of Journalism offers master's degree programs for both students and experienced journalism professionals.

Students in the traditional M.A. in Journalism program learn reporting, editing and presentation skills through courses and capstone projects in broadcast journalism, interactive publishing, magazine editing and business reporting. The program is divided into four quarters and can be completed in 12 months. It allows students to write, edit and organize news stories in an actual newsroom environment. The school was awarded a Pacemaker Award for best college newspaper in 2016.

Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ

School Highlight: The master's degree program can be completed in 12 months, with students completing a capstone experience through the program's news divisions in Phoenix, Washington, DC and Los Angeles.

In 2016, U.S. News and World Report ranked Arizona State University at the top of the country's most innovative schools. The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications offers a master's degree in sports journalism as well as mass communications. The program teaches classic reporting skills as well as the use of modern technology and new media. Located in downtown Phoenix, the school is surrounded by one of the nation's largest media markets, giving its student access to facilities and burgeoning stories. A mid-career Master of Mass Communication program is also offered for working professionals; students in this program have access to courses in fields such as business and natural sciences, allowing them to develop a specialty as they advance in their careers.

A Ph.D. in journalism is also offered at Arizona State University. This program prioritizes theoretical and methodological approaches to journalism; it is best suited for students aiming to focus on academic work centered on the field of journalism.

Top Journalism Graduate Schools

  • Boston University, located in Boston, Massachusetts, offers graduate level journalism studies. Graduate students here have access to special training in global crisis reporting, and they may be eligible for a fellowship to travel and study crisis response and reporting.
  • Located in Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University is distinguished by giving students the opportunity to study and practice journalism from international locations like London, Paris, Beijing, Japan and Chile.
  • New York University, in New York City, provides a studio 20 graduate program which focuses on combining editorial journalism and web development in a project-based environment.
  • Temple University can be found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its Master of Journalism program is intended for students who majored in a field outside of journalism as undergraduates.
  • The University of California in Berkeley offers a Graduate Investigative Reporting Program which provides training in investigative reporting. Post-graduates can pursue a salaried fellowship in investigative reporting for a year which includes benefits, editorial guidance and a $10,000 travel stipend.
  • A graduate certificate program in multimedia journalism is offered by the University of Maryland in College Park. It can be completed in two semesters of Saturday classes and is intended for working professionals
  • The University of Southern California in Los Angeles distinguishes itself with a master's program focused on journalism about the arts.
  • Journalism master's students at the University of Texas at Austin can choose from four specialization tracks: accountability journalism, culture/entertainment/sports, visual storytelling, and international journalism.
  • The University of Wisconsin at Madison presents journalism Ph.D. students with an individualized curriculum based on their research interests.

Graduate level programs in journalism are offered at schools across the country, some offering specialization options targeted to new media. Some of the best schools with these programs include the University of Missouri at Columbia, Northwestern University and Arizona State University.

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