About the Program
UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism is looking for the leaders of the next generation of journalists—strongly motivated individuals with reverence for truth, a hunger to discover and to inform, a deep regard for thorough analysis, and an ardent embrace of civic engagement.
The digital explosion has created an unparalleled appetite for news as more and more people hunger to witness, experience, and learn about what’s happening around them. That’s why, more than ever, our world needs professionals who are committed to reporting on contemporary realities with precision and eloquence. You’ll be prepared not just to make a living, but to make a difference.
Our Master of Journalism degree (MJ) demands a rigorous two-year immersion. That commitment is what’s needed for you to achieve the full range of proﬁciencies you’ll need as a twenty-first-century journalist: narrative writing, audio, photography, broadcast and online video production, multimedia storytelling, data, and investigative-based journalism.
By the end of your second year you will have created a portfolio of ambitious, high-quality work, much of it published—with the help of our exceptional faculty of seasoned journalists. What’s more, a vibrant worldwide network of media professionals, many of them alumni, will be open to you; professionals who fully appreciate what having a Berkeley Master of Journalism degree means. Concurrent degree programs with Law, Asian Studies, International and Area Studies, Latin American Studies, and Public Health are available.
Admission to the Program
The Journalism Program requires two statements (Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement), one PDF of your transcript (official transcript requested if admitted), letters of recommendation, journalist work samples, and resume. All admissions are subject to Graduate Division approval. For full details, see the admissions page on the school's website.
Admission to the University
Minimum Requirements for Admission
The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
- A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
- If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
- Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.
Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree
The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.
Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.
Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.
The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:
- Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
- Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.
Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.
Required Documents for Applications
- Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
- Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
- Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
- courses in English as a Second Language,
- courses conducted in a language other than English,
- courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
- courses of a non-academic nature.
If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from the British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.
Where to Apply
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
Master's Degree Requirements
The Master of Journalism (MJ) degree at Berkeley requires the completion of at least 36 semester units of coursework and the submission of a satisfactory master’s project. A minimum of 24 units must be earned from coursework in the Graduate School of Journalism. All students are expected to graduate in four consecutive semesters.
Total number of units needed to graduate is 36.
|JOURN 200||Reporting the News (first semester)||3|
|JOURN 211||News Reporting Laboratory (first semester)||3|
|JOURN 219||Mini-Special Topics||1|
|JOURN 255||Law and Ethics||3|
|JOURN 294||Master's Project Seminar (1 unit in 3rd semester; 1 unit in 4th semester)||2|
|JOURN 297||Field Study in Journalism (300 supervised hours)||2|
|JOURN 298||Group Study - Special Topics||2-4|
Additional Required Courses for Multimedia, Video Storytelling and Documentary
|JOURN 216||Multimedia Reporting (third and fourth semester)||2,3|
|JOURN 222||Interactive Narratives||3|
|Select at least one or more for second semester:||3-9|
|Coding For Journalists |
|Introduction to Data Visualization |
|Reporting for Television |
|Video Reporting and Storytelling|
|JOURN 219||Mini-Special Topics (Picture and Sound; third semester)||1|
|JOURN 283||Reporting for Television (Second semester TV/Documentary)||5|
|JOURN 284||Documentary Production (third and fourth semester Documentary)||4|
|JOURN 286||History of Documentary (second semester required for Documentary, optional for TV)||3|
|JOURN 285||Longform Video Reporting and Storytelling (third and fourth semester TV)||4|
- One advanced reporting course is required for each semester after the first semester.
- Two units from the JOURN 297 can count toward the 36 units requirement. Therefore, 34 of 36 units required for the MJ degree must be from coursework.
- Submission of an approved master’s project with all valid approvals is required by the announced deadline.
- Twelve units per semester are required for all Berkeley graduate students.
- All courses must be taken at Berkeley; credit from other institutions is not transferable.
- Students may take up to 4 units of JOURN 601 each semester without approval. Approval is required for more than 4 units JOURN 601 in a semester. JOURN 601 units cannot be counted towards the 36 total units requirement.
- Submission of all required Graduate Division paperwork is required by the announced deadline.
- All required classes must be taken for a letter grade except for the JOURN 297. Only one-third of total UC master’s credits can be S grades.
- Up to 12 of the required 36 units for the MJ degree can be from other departments at Berkeley. Graduate-level courses (numbered 200-299) and upper division undergraduate courses (numbered 100-199) are acceptable.
- Concurrent degree students may have additional or modified requirements and should confirm requirements with a student affairs officer.
The Master of Journalism degree requires two (S/U) units of JOURN 297 Credit. The internship requirement is met once a student completes 300 hours of journalistic work under the tutelage of a mentor/supervisor who can vouch for the student's professional progress. A 2-3 paragraph report is due from both the student and the mentor/supervisor at the end of the internship period. You may combine the hours of two different internships. You may also get additional credits during the academic year as needed if an employer requires this.
Capstone/Master's Project (Plan II)
The master’s project represents the culmination of two years of study. It can take many forms: a polished piece of in-depth writing, a long-form television story or series of stories, a series of shorter print stories on a single connected theme, a documentary, a radio, photography, multimedia or editing project incorporating original journalistic content. The faculty added a new category that allows a student to fulfill the master’s project requirement as a community site fellow.
Successful completion of the master’s project is a requirement for graduation. While we will encourage you to try to publish your project, the publication is not a requirement for graduation. Work may originate in another course, such as investigative reporting, magazine writing, multimedia, or television. In other words, it does not have to be a special project developed for the master's tutorial alone. However, the quality of the final project must be more polished and substantial than the work originally produced for another course.
Professional Development Activities
The program’s career services offer a full complement of career planning workshops and opportunities for professional development including resume building, interviewing skills, and branding. Students learn about internship and job opportunities throughout the year and are coached to make their best decisions.
To work in journalism, students need professional experience. One of the solid benefits of Berkeley’s two-year program is our students’ unmatched opportunities to get hands-on experience both inside and outside the classroom—covering news and developing enterprise projects for their courses and for individual and group projects, and producing freelance work as reporters or interns for scores of media outlets in the Bay Area and nationally.
Students first build skills and confidence through the J‑School’s own publications and broadcasts. In the fall of their first year, students learn the basics of reporting while contributing to Richmond Confidential and Oakland North, the School’s hyperlocal websites, and creating specialized content for the topical reporting classes. Later, they write long-form articles intended for publication; they produce broadcasts for Berkeley’s student radio station, and they develop magazine-style and theme-based television shows that are showcased throughout each semester and welcomed by web-based sites and broadcasters with whom the school has collaborative relations.
Opportunities abound at local news operations, startups, network affiliates, and national news organizations—among them the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Al Jazeera America, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press.
Our students are well supported when the time comes to plan their moves to internships or jobs in the field. The J‑School maintains an extensive database of the best and newest internship and job opportunities drawn from industry newsletters, internet job listings, and contact lists in print, broadcast, and new media. We cull the most interesting prospects and distribute them to students in frequent email bulletins and a weekly internal newsletter. What’s more, individual faculty make it a point of pride to keep their own networks fresh and vibrant, and routinely link students to promising opportunities.
Most importantly, we work one-on-one with students. Students fill out questionnaires and meet regularly with our career services director to discuss their aspirations and changing interests, and to develop a strategy to achieve those objectives through freelancing, part-time school year internships, full-time summer internships between the first and second years of the program and finally, a rewarding job—or a demanding startup opportunity—in the the media workforce.
We offer workshops to prepare students for interviewing, writing CVs and cover letters, clip selection, job-hunting strategies and making the most of their first internships or jobs. Each year, print, broadcast, and new media organizations send representatives to Berkeley to recruit and interview our students.
Our commitment to students doesn’t end at graduation. We are now developing a comprehensive career resources program for students and alumni so that we can provide long-term alumni career services. At the same time, we value and cultivate relationships with graduates who can serve as mentors and contacts for our students.
More information can be found on our website.
Faculty and Instructors
+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.
Geeta Anand, Acting Professor. Investigative reporting, narrative non-fiction, healthcare, international reporting.
David Barstow, Professor. Reva and David Logan Distinguished Chair of Investigative Journalism.
Lowell Bergman, Professor Emeritus. National security, forensic science, terrorism, corporate crime, corruption, tobacco, Symposium in Investigative Reporting.
Andres Cediel, Professor. Immigration, documentary film, video, human rights, climate change, forensic science.
Lydia Chavez, Professor Emeritus. Jounalism, reporting, writing.
Elena Conis, Associate Professor. Science, health, environment, public health, medicine, history.
Mark D. Danner, Professor. Central America, politics, Balkans, foreign affairs, journalism, Haiti, documentaries.
William J. Drummond, Professor. Politics, journalism, reporting, national security, freelancing in both print and radio.
Richard Hernandez, Assistant Professor. Journalism, new media, Mobile, visual storytelling.
Ken Light, Adjunct Professor. Journalism, photojournalism, documentary photography.
Michael Pollan, Professor. Agriculture, environment, obesity, science, nutrition, journalism, food, cooking, gardening.
Edward Wasserman, Professor. Media ethics, economics and politics of news, professional standards, media history.
Thomas R. Burke, Lecturer.
Marilyn M. Chase, Lecturer.
Deirdre English, Lecturer.
Adam Hochschild, Lecturer.
Jennifer Kahn, Lecturer.
Carrie Lozano, Lecturer.
Thomas Peele, Lecturer.
Kara A. Platoni, Lecturer.
Jeremy Rue, Lecturer.
Zachary J. Stauffer, Lecturer.
Abbie Vansickle, Lecturer.
James R. Wheaton, Lecturer.
Samantha G. Wiesler, Lecturer.
Joan Bieder, Senior Lecturer SOE Emeritus. History of Jewish communities in South East Asia.
Robert Calo, Professor Emeritus. Journalism, cultural geography, social history, urban affairs, television news production.
Jon Else, Professor Emeritus. Directing, history, film, journalism, writing, documentary, producing, cinematography, nuclear weapons.
Timothy Ferris, Professor Emeritus.
Tom Goldstein, Professor Emeritus. Journalism, mass communications, writer, reporter, editor.
Cynthia Gorney, Professor Emeritus. Ethics, law, journalism, writing, reporting the news, profiles.
Neil Henry, Professor Emeritus. Race, Africa, urban society, journalism, newspapers, community reporting, journalistic values, foreign reporting, sports, fraud.
Thomas C. Leonard, Professor Emeritus. Journalism, the press, role of the press in society, journalists and historians, Americans, American history.
A. Kent Macdougall, Professor Emeritus.
Carolyn Wakeman, Professor Emeritus.
Graduate School of Journalism
121 North Gate Hall
Edward Wasserman, PhD
Director of Student Services
Tracy Pascua Dia, PhD
Director of Career Services
Graduate Student Advisor
Director of Admissions