Journalism

University of California, Berkeley

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.

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Admissions

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:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. 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
  4. 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 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 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

Unit 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 units needed to graduate is 36.

Curriculum

JOURN 200Reporting the News (first semester)6
JOURN 209Multimedia Reporting Bootcamp (first semester)1
JOURN 211News Reporting Laboratory (first semester)3
JOURN 255Law and Ethics3
JOURN 282Introduction to Visual Journalism (first semester)4
JOURN 294Master's Project Seminar (1 unit in 3rd semester; 1 unit in 4th semester)2
JOURN 297Field Study in Journalism (300 supervised hours)2
JOURN 298Group Study - Special Topics2-4
JOURN 219Mini-Special Topics1

 Additional Required Courses for New Media, Television and Documentary

New Media
JOURN 222Interactive Narratives3
JOURN 216Multimedia Reporting (third and fourth semester)2,3
Select at least one or more for second semester:3-9
Coding For Journalists [3]
Introduction to Data Visualization [3]
Reporting for Television [5]
Television and Documentary
JOURN 283Reporting for Television (Second semester TV/Documentary)5
JOURN 286History of Documentary (second semester required for Documentary, optional for TV)3
JOURN 219Mini-Special Topics (Picture and Sound; third semester)1
JOURN 285Longform Video Reporting and Storytelling (third and fourth semester TV)4
JOURN 284Documentary Production (third and fourth semester Documentary)4

Additional Requirements

  1. One advanced reporting course is required for each semester after the first semester.
  2. 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.
  3. Submission of an approved master’s project with all valid approvals is required by the announced deadline.
  4. Twelve units per semester are required for all Berkeley graduate students.
  5. All courses must be taken at Berkeley; credit from other institutions is not transferable.
  6. 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.
  7. Submission of all required Graduate Division paperwork is required by the announced deadline.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Concurrent degree students may have additional or modified requirements and should confirm requirements with a student affairs officer.

Internship/Field Work/Practicum

The Master of Journalism degree requires two (S/U) units of JOURN 297 Credit (CCN: 48234). 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. Detailed descriptions of the different types of master’s projects appear on an attached sheet (see Master’s Project Media Platform Descriptions).

Successful completion of the master’s project is a requirement for graduation. While we will encourage you to try to publish your project, 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 offers 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.

Professional Experience

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.

Career Services

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 important, 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.

Courses

Journalism

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Orlando Bagwell, Professor in Residence.

Lowell Bergman, Professor. National security, forensic science, terrorism, corporate crime, corruption, tobacco, Symposium in Investigative Reporting.
Research Profile

Lydia Chavez, Professor. Jounalism, reporting, writing.
Research Profile

Mark D. Danner, Professor. Central America, politics, Balkans, foreign affairs, journalism, Haiti, documentaries.
Research Profile

William J. Drummond, Professor. Politics, journalism, reporting, national security, freelancing in both print and radio.
Research Profile

Tom Goldstein, Professor. Journalism, mass communications, writer, reporter, editor.
Research Profile

Richard Hernandez, Assistant Professor. Journalism, new media, Mobile, visual storytelling.
Research Profile

Ken Light, Adjunct Professor. Journalism, photojournalism, documentary photography.
Research Profile

Michael Pollan, Professor. Agriculture, environment, obesity, science, nutrition, journalism, food, cooking, gardening.
Research Profile

Edward Wasserman, Professor. Media ethics, economics and politics of news, professional standards, media history.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Thomas R. Burke, Lecturer.

Andres Cediel, Lecturer.

Marilyn M. Chase, Lecturer.

Edwin C. Dobb, Lecturer.

Deirdre English, Lecturer.

Laura Green, Lecturer.

Shaleece Haas, Lecturer.

Adam Hochschild, Lecturer.

Jennifer Kahn, Lecturer.

Daniel K. Krauss, Lecturer.

Ben Manilla, Lecturer.

Timothy Mcgirk, Lecturer.

Alan Mutter, Lecturer.

Thomas Peele, Lecturer.

Kara A. Platoni, Lecturer.

Jeremy Rue, Lecturer.

Linda Schacht, Lecturer.

Zachary J. Stauffer, Lecturer.

Abbie Vansickle, Lecturer.

James R. Wheaton, Lecturer.

Samantha G. Wiesler, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Joan Bieder, Senior Lecturer SOE Emeritus. History of Jewish communities in South East Asia.
Research Profile

Robert Calo, Professor Emeritus. Journalism, cultural geography, social history, urban affairs, television news production.
Research Profile

Jon Else, Professor Emeritus. Directing, history, film, journalism, writing, documentary, producing, cinematography, nuclear weapons.
Research Profile

Timothy Ferris, Professor Emeritus.

Cynthia Gorney, Professor Emeritus. Ethics, law, journalism, writing, reporting the news, profiles.
Research Profile

Neil Henry, Professor Emeritus. Race, Africa, urban society, journalism, newspapers, community reporting, journalistic values, foreign reporting, sports, fraud.
Research Profile

Thomas C. Leonard, Professor Emeritus. Journalism, the press, role of the press in society, journalists and historians, Americans, American history.
Research Profile

A. Kent Macdougall, Professor Emeritus.

Carolyn Wakeman, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Graduate School of Journalism

121 North Gate Hall

Phone: 510-642-3383

Fax: 510-643-9136

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Dean

Edward Wasserman, PhD

Phone: 510-642-3394

ed.wasserman@berkeley.edu

Assistant Dean

Roia Ferrazares

Phone: 510-643-2678

roia@berkeley.edu

Assistant Dean of Academics

Jeremy Rue

Phone: 510-643-1927

jrue@berkeley.edu

Director of Student Services

Joanne Straley

Phone: 510-643-5058

jstraley@berkeley.edu

Director of Career Services

Pam Gleason

Phone: 510-642-3654

pgleason@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Adviser

Michele Kerr

Phone: 510-643-1174

mkerr@berkeley.edu

Director of Admissions

Camille Koue

Phone: 510-643-0167

ckoue@berkeley.edu

Assistant Dean of Students

Kara Platoni

karaplatoni@gmail.com

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