Degree Requirements and Core Courses
The course of study for the M.A. in Journalism degree is challenging and requires full-time attendance. Students complete 45 units of course work in three semesters, participate in a comprehensive summer internship, and produce a substantial final or capstone project.
The curriculum is built upon a core of seven common courses, followed by a wide range of courses in different media formats and options for subject matter concentrations. The core courses stress the foundation skills and knowledge that all good journalists must have, including reporting, writing and editing skills, and analytic thinking needed to deal with complex subjects. Other core courses cover journalistic ethics and legal issues, broadcast fundamentals, and fundamentals of interactive media such as online journalism, multimedia presentation, web site design, and blogging.
All students learn the multimedia skills every journalist is expected to have in today’s converged newsroom. Students may concentrate in print, video, broadcast TV, documentary, photo, audio, or interactive journalism, but they are also free to mix and match media courses, depending on their interests and career goals. They may customize their media course schedule in the second and third semesters.
Students get their media instruction inside the classroom and from one-on-one contact with professional writers, broadcasters, multimedia experts, and photographers. These media coaches not only give individual guidance on course assignments but they help students draft pitches and get their work published or shown in media outlets beyond the School.
In their second semester, students will choose a subject matter concentration, selecting from:
Students will take three courses in their subject concentration that build upon one another. However, they will also have the flexibility to take a course that interests them in another concentration or select from a handful of electives.
The purpose is to develop an expertise in an area that could be pursued following graduation. Once students develop the skills required to be an analytic journalist in one specialty area, those skills can be applied to covering any specialty or beat area in the future.
Paid Summer Internships
Internships are critical when you’re seeking a job in journalism, so we make sure our students are equipped. As part of the curriculum, all students are required to work in a full-time professional media internship during the summer between their second and third semesters. What makes our internship program unique is that we guarantee all students will receive a minimum of $3,000. If the media employer doesn’t pay, we do. We know of no other school that does that.
Our students have interned at top media outlets all over the world, and in many cases their internships have led to real jobs.
To graduate, students must complete a “capstone” project – a professional-level piece of work – in any media format they choose. A broadcast piece will be at least a nine-minute segment prepared to air on CUNY TV. For the print format, it will be a publishable article of at least 3,000 words. An interactive project will be a major web site package that is multimedia and interactive or a new media product developed by the student. Print and new media capstone projects will be posted on the NYCity News Service web site operated by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Between the first and second semesters, the School offers a variety of optional enrichment courses for students who choose to take advantage of them. Examples include workshops in freelance writing, copy editing, travel reporting, food writing, covering personal finance, Excel for journalists, time management, and Flash.
Fourth Semester Option
All students now have the option to stretch their studies into a fourth semester. They may choose to pursue this option for any of the following reasons:
• To take additional media courses or electives at the J-School that don’t fit into a three-semester program.
• To take related courses at other CUNY colleges. For instance, a student in the international concentration may want to study Arabic or Chinese at City College; someone in the J-School’s business & economics program may want to take MBA-level classes in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.
• To allow more time to complete their M.A. in Journalism degree requirements.
• To take advantage of the new Entrepreneurial Journalism Program that will offer an extra semester of coursework to prepare graduates to launch their own journalistic enterprises.
• To participate in an exchange program at a journalism school abroad.
• To more easily accommodate a professional internship during the school year.
• To complete the course of study for an M.A. in Entrepreneurial Journalism, or to earn an Advanced Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism on top of an M.A. in Journalism degree.
Please note that students who pursue this option must pay full tuition for the extra semester. Any student in good academic standing may apply. For maximum flexibility, those who are interested in a fourth semester should consult their academic adviser as early as possible, but no later than the end of the second semester.