Journalism Graduate Program Overviews

Students interested in continuing their education in journalism can complete a master's or doctoral degree. Learn about graduate programs in journalism, including broadcast journalism, as well as job outlook and salaries in this field.

Essential Information

Many graduate journalism programs require applicants to have strong oral and written communication skills, and in some cases, applicants with undergraduate degrees in journalism may have a better chance of being admitted to these programs. Within master's degree programs, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on training through internships or on-campus newspapers and news stations and a thesis may be available, while doctoral candidates must write and defend a dissertation.

Prerequisites for graduate journalism degrees vary. For an M.A. in Journalism, you will need a bachelor's degree, writing sample and letters of recommendation. For an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation and GRE scores are recommended. Candidates for a Ph.D. in Journalism should have strong writing, analytical and public speaking skills.

Master's Degree in Journalism

Journalism students often concentrate in a specialty area such as editorial news, electronic communications, public relations, advertising or broadcast journalism. The coursework in journalism master's degree programs gives students a solid foundation in all facets of reporting, news research and editorial writing. Students often have opportunities for hands-on experience through school newspapers and internships with outside organizations. Common courses include:

  • Magazine journalism
  • Current events research
  • Writing editorials
  • Interviewing news subjects
  • Sports reporting

Master's Degree in Broadcast Journalism

Master's degrees in broadcast journalism teach students the skills and technology necessary for careers in television and radio news reporting. Students learn how to apply standard journalism practices to multimedia news outlets. Programs often focus on ethics, accuracy and news presentation in addition to multimedia technology. Coursework emphasizes the technical, creative and performance aspects of the field. Students learn to operate equipment, research and write news items and deliver the news through broadcast formats. Courses may include:

  • Television news production
  • Radio news production
  • News writing for broadcast media
  • Investigative reporting for broadcast journalism
  • Broadcast journalism ethics

Doctoral Degree in Journalism

Doctoral programs in journalism emphasize the theoretical and research aspects of the field. Candidates are required to demonstrate a high degree of competency in research methodology and must complete and defend a dissertation. Students who graduate from a doctoral program in journalism often choose an area of specialization like mass communication theory and public relations. Doctoral degree programs in journalism often admit fewer than ten students each year. Students may want to take classes in mass media theory, communications and creative writing before applying to a journalism doctorate program. Ph.D. courses may include:

  • Media studies research methodology
  • Theories of mass communication
  • Media content analysis
  • Social research statistics
  • Quantitative media research

Popular Career Options

Earning a master's degree in journalism prepares graduates for jobs with newspapers, magazines, websites and other news outlets. People who graduate from master's degree programs in broadcast journalism are qualified for careers both broadcasting and presenting the news, and graduates of doctoral degree programs are prepared for research, media consulting and university teaching positions. Common career for all three programs are listed below:

  • News reporter
  • Newspaper editor
  • Magazine writer
  • Television news producer
  • Anchorperson
  • Investigative reporter

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In 2015, reporters and correspondents earned a median salary of $36,360 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and broadcast analysts earned $65,530. The BLS projects a job decline rate of 8% for reporters and correspondents from 2014-2024; broadcast analysts are projected to fare worse, with a 9% decline.

A graduate degree in journalism can prepare students to work in a myriad of areas of the field, from broadcast to print. While the BLS projects a decline of job growth for this industry, for those who enjoy communications and are determined, it can still provide meaningful employment.

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