Master's Programs

MS and MJ

Graduate studies in the Department of Journalism comprise a dynamic and practical series of courses that prepare graduates for the rapid changes taking place in traditional newsrooms and digital media.

The faculty are internationally esteemed practitioners and scholars who offer instruction in a wide range of media and skills in investigative and immersion journalism, news design, science writing, social media, ethics and data analysis and visualization. Students also have the opportunity to take courses in world-renowned colleges on campus, including information science and computer science. The Department also offers dual master degree programs with the Illinois College of Law and the Gies College of Business.

Students will build a strong personal portfolio including their master’s projects that are published and aired through an array of award-winning professional newsrooms overseen by the department and carried by regional, national, and international outlets.

The Department offers two graduate degrees: The Master of Science in Journalism (MS) and the Master of Journalism (MJ). The MS is offered as a standalone degree. The MJ is pursued concurrently with the BS in Journalism degree.

Master of Science in Journalism (MS)

The MS program is designed to meet the goals of three types of students: 1) students who have recently earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism or a related field and want to explore a specific type of journalism in greater depth, 2) mid-career journalists who want to expand their professional skills in multimedia, investigative, narrative or immersion journalism, and 3) students who either hold or are pursuing a terminal degree in selected fields (including but not limited to science, technology, engineering and math) seeking to complement their expertise with journalistic skills for communicating it to the public.

Applicants to the Master of Science in Journalism degree must have a 4-year bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or one of recognized standing abroad. A grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) is the minimum requirement for admission to the Master of Science programs. For international students, a minimum score of 600 is required on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (250 on the computer-based test). IELTS scores must be 6.5 and 6 or higher on any/all sub-sections.

Master of Journalism (MJ)

The Department of Journalism offers the MJ degree as part of a 4+1 program focused on the development of a broad range of professional skills for undergraduates enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Journalism program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Students can apply for the BS/MJ program in the first semester of their junior year; admitted students select their remaining undergraduate journalism elective courses according to a plan of study that reserves certain upper-division courses for the graduate portion of their program.

Applicants to the MJ program must be University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students in the BS in Journalism program with a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.40 and have junior standing (at least 60 but no more than 89 credit hours) to be eligible to apply. Because the master’s program has an enrollment ceiling, some applicants with grade point averages of 3.4 or higher may not be admitted.


I'm an undergraduate journalism major at Illinois. Can I do either master's program?

Yes. Undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Journalism at the University of Illinois are eligible to apply for either the Master of Science in Journalism program or the Master of Journalism program (a combined 4+1 program leading to the BS/MJ degree).

Your decision about which program to pursue depends on your goals and when you intend to apply. Students who want to take the broadest possible array of professional skills courses should opt for the BS/MJ. Those looking to specialize in a particular area of journalism or who want the option to take more theoretical courses should opt for the MS. 

Another important difference: When you apply. For the BS/MJ, students apply when they have earned at least 60 but no more than 90 credit hours—typically sometime in their junior year. For the MS, students apply when they are getting ready to graduate with their BS in Journalism. Note that the BS/MJ is a combined degree program, meaning that you receive your BS and MJ at the same, at the same commencement ceremony.

I am a professional journalist. Which program is right for me?

The Master of Science in Journalism program.

I have a bachelor’s degree, but not in journalism. Am I eligible to apply for a master’s program

Yes. You can apply to the Master of Science in Journalism program.

What are the application requirements?

Official transcripts from all universities you have attended, a statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation are required. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for applicants whose undergraduate degree is in a field other than journalism. 

International applicants should consult for minimum requirements for admission, including information about comparable bachelor's degrees.

Applicants whose native language is not English must present their official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination as part of their applications. The department follows the Graduate College’s recommendations for English proficiency. (See for additional information.)

What should I talk about in my personal statement?

Both the MS and MJ programs place a strong emphasis on journalism, and candidates who are accepted are most often those with a demonstrated interest in practicing journalism. So, your personal statement should address (in about 350 words) why you want to study Journalism and why Illinois is a good place for you to do that. Also, all applicants should supply a writing sample.

Where can I find more information about applying?

To learn about the application process, go here:

What’s the deadline to apply?

While most students are admitted to begin in the fall semester, you may apply for either fall or spring admission. Application deadlines for the MS and MJ are the same.

For the spring semester of 2022, applications are due October 15, 2021.

For the fall semester of 2022, applications are due February 15, 2022.

Are any scholarships or fellowships available?

Fellowships are available only for select MS students. Fellowships are awarded on a quarter-time basis and carry a waiver of tuition and most fees. MJ students may not hold assistantships or other tuition and fee waiver-generating appointments. A limited number of merit-based scholarships are available for BS/MJ and MS students.

I still need more information about master’s programs in Journalism. Where else can I go?

The Graduate College at Illinois has detailed information about programs and requirements here:

You can reach the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Brant Houston, at

You can reach the Department of Journalism Office Manager, Jennifer Jones, at