Graduate Admissions

Journalism MA

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Be Enrolled Part-Time?
Yes. Part time students must be enrolled for at least six credit hours during fall and spring semesters.  Though several graduate courses are only offered once a year or are sequential, part time students can still complete the program in two years.  All students have four years from their initial enrollment to complete the entire program including thesis project.
When Do Classes Meet?
Most of the required courses are offered during the day only—when a bulk of public affairs meetings are scheduled such as city council, county board, board of education and the courts. Students carrying a full load of courses (a minimum of 9 credit hours) would expect to be on campus at least two or three days each week. Occasionally, students have multiple courses scheduled from 9am to 9pm on a single day. Courses that meet once a week are routinely offered each weekday with Friday and Saturday the least scheduled. 
How Is the Program Structured?

Under the direction of faculty with award-winning professional news experience and advanced academic study, the program combines the principles and practices  of public affairs journalism in a sequesnce from hyper-local to international news. While providing an essential academic base in practical political science, the program emphasizes first-hand reportorial experience with the latest digital equipment - in the living laboratory of global Chicago's metropolitan area and in regular visits to Springfield, the state capital, as well as opportunities to practice in Washington, D.C. and internationally. 

What Kind of Background Does a Successful Applicant Typically Have?
Typically students admitted to our program have a solid liberal arts background in English, language arts, social science or humanities—any of which may have been their major.  Many of them, while not necessarily majoring in Journalism, have had news media experience on campus or elsewhere. We also have students who have an undergraduate degree in Journalism or Communication who want to polish their skills and enhance their knowledge of the discipline, particularly the public affairs aspects. All should be strong writers regardless of what journalistic career path they wish to pursue.
Are There Any Program-Specific Scholarships Available?
Yes, our department is fortunate to be able to offer John Fischetti Scholarships to qualified applicants at the graduate level.

For a complete listing of College-wide scholarships, click here.

What Facilities Are Available to Your Students?
Dedicated Mac-equipped newsroom with upgraded hardware and software in Fall 2012. Nearly all graduate seminars and reporting courses are held in this designated space designed for graduate student use.
Who Are the Core Faculty?
For a listing of full-time faculty, click here.
Where Do Your Students Find Jobs Upon Graduation?
Among those graduates who have kept in touch with Columbia, about one half are employed in the communications field within six months of graduation. The most successful graduates are those students with a realistic career plan who make significant contacts while still in school through routine reporting assignments as well as internship experiences. Here are some examples of where our graduates are working:
Class of 2009
  • Reporter, WBEZ-FM
  • Reporter, Kankakee Daily Journal
  • Reporter, Cedar Rapids Gazette
  • Writer/Columnist/Web Designer, Fra Noi (Ital.-Amer. publication)
  • Producer, FOX News Chicago
  • Producer, WTTW-TV, Chicago /Facilities Coordinator, “Chicago Tonight”
  • Web producer, Harpo Productions
  • Communications coordinator, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
  • LEED Green Associate, Environmental Design International
Classes of 2004-2008
  • BuzzFlash online news source writer
  • Realtor Magazine, Chicago
  • WVON,Chicago executive director of weekly news show
  • CNN-TV, Atlanta reporter now associate producer at WVON, Chicago
  • Crain’s Chicago Business
  • The Taos (New Mexico)News reporter
  • Founder, Boheme Verite; reporter/web producer, Kypost.com, WCPO.com
  • Managing editor, Ivan R. Dee, Publishing
  • WFLD-TV writer/producer
  • WLS-TV per diem news writer
  • WBEZ-FM freelance correspondent
  • WDJT-TV, Milwaukee, reporter now WGN-TV, Chicago reporter
  • WKOW-TV, Madison, 5 O’Clock producer
  • KABC, Los Angeles assignment editor and planning editor
  • Chicago Sun-Times Prep Sports Desk editor and supervisor
  • Content Licensing Manager, High Beam Research; Managing Editor, 35th Street Review
  • Public Affairs Specialist, State Farm Insurance, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Gazette (Maryland community newspapers) staff writer
  • Bucks County Courier Times staff writer now NYC Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs
  • Sheboygan (Wis.) Press reporter
  • Windy City Times, lead news reporter; columnist; podcaster
  • Daily Southtown reporter
  • Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations account executive
  • Holland (Mich.) Sentinel reporter now U.S. Army public relations
  • Chicago Sun-Times Wire (and sports) reporter
  • Doctoral student/teaching assistant at Southern Illinois University
  • KTVO-TV, Kirksville, Mo. General assignment reporter
  • Dinero Inc. magazine managing editor
  • Harpo Productions publicist
  • Sports Nippon Newspaper (Japan) foreign correspondent for Chicago White Sox
  • Assistant editor, Great Southern Publishers, St. Simons Island, Ga.
  • WJOB-AM, Hammond, Ind. reporter
  • University of Utah donor relations coordinator
  • Communications, PR for Renaissance Schools Fund, Chicago
  • Special Education student teacher, Roosevelt University
  • Illinois staff assistant to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
  • Freelance author of children’s nonfiction, Rosen Publishing Group, New York
  • Freelance writer for Chicago Scene magazine
  • Freelance sports writer for Pioneer Press
  • Freelance researcher, Advertising Age magazine
  • Media relations intern, YMCA USA
  • Contributor to TheStreet.com and The Beachwood Reporter

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