About the Program/Curriculum
Q: How long is the program?
A: We have two full-time master’s degree programs, with a third on the way, and each is a different length. The original Master of Arts in Journalism degree requires three semesters of study starting in the fall and is completed in 16 months. All students are required to do an internship in the summer between the second and third semesters. The M.A. in Entrepreneurial Journalism takes four semesters to finish. We are also seeking approval to create a new one-year, cutting-edge M.A. in Social Journalism, which we expect to launch within the next year.
Q: I’d like to finish my degree sooner. Are classes offered in the summer?
A: Classes are not offered in the summer months to allow students the opportunity to work full-time in an internship with a news organization.
Q: How do I learn more about the school?
A: You may request a brochure be mailed to you by visiting our brochure request page. If you’re in the New York Metro area, we invite you to attend an information session where you will be introduced to the program and give you an opportunity to ask questions. A schedule of upcoming information sessions is listed on the information session page of our website. To set up a tour or an informational interview with an admissions counselor, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 646.758.7700.
Q: Do you guarantee placement in internships and jobs after graduation?
A: Although our Director of Career Services will be working with you to optimize your internship and job search, we cannot guarantee a student’s placement. Recruiters will visit the school to conduct interviews. Plus, an annually sponsored CUNY media job fair will provide you even more access to media outlets. However, students will need to apply for and secure their own internships and jobs, which suit their interests and needs.
Q: Can I attend the school on a part-time basis?
A: We do not offer a part-time program at this time, but we may consider this in a few years. Please check back on our website in the future for updates.
Q: Does work experience count towards number of credits?
A: Professional experience is considered during the admissions review process, but we do not give academic credit for professional experience.
Q: Do you accept transfer credits from other schools?
A: We do not accept academic credits from other schools or journalism degree programs.
Q: Do I have to declare a media track?
A: Because our curriculum emphasizes convergence, students are allowed to take a variety of courses to gain multimedia skills. For example, students who are interested primarily in print can sign up for mostly print-related electives and still take an interactive course focusing on the fundamental skills needed in the Internet medium. There are also opportunities in your elective courses to produce stories in other formats, allowing students to continue honing their multimedia skills.
Q: When do I have to choose my subject concentration?
A: While students do not have to declare a media track, they do need to declare their subject concentration by the end of their first semester. The purpose of the subject concentration is to prepare students for beat reporting. The skills learned: finding and pitching stories, cultivating sources, and gaining subject expertise, will be applicable to any beat students eventually choose to pursue.
Q: I’m interested in multiple subjects like business, arts, and sports reporting.
A: Students will be able to explore different interests in any one of the subject concentrations. For example, students interested in sports can examine the business side of sports in the business reporting subject concentration.
Applying For Admission
Q: When is the application deadline?
A: The application deadline is January 2nd for the following fall semester admission. We do not accept applications for the spring semester.
Q: Where do I send my application documents?
A: All application documents must be sent to the Graduate Center Office of Admissions, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016 or via email: email@example.com. Application documents should not be mailed directly to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Q: Is the GRE required?
A: The GRE is optional. Students are not required to take the GRE to complete their application. However, if a student believes their scores may enhance their application, they may submit their scores to the CUNY Graduate Center (code 2113). It takes us approximately two weeks to receive the official scores.
Q: What is the minimum GPA and GRE requirement?
A: There is no minimum undergraduate GPA or GRE requirement. Our application review process is holistic; we look at candidates from many perspectives, so a relative weakness in one area is not necessarily a disqualifier. We want to know more about you than your grades and standardized test scores, and invite you to tell us about yourself and your interest in our program in your statement of purpose.
Q: What prerequisites do you require? I don’t have any journalism experience.
A: No prerequisites are required. We look for applicants who have a broad liberal arts background, and have demonstrated a commitment to the field, a passion for current events and a strong sense of curiosity. Applicants with little or no reporting experience may want to consider doing informational interviews with a reporter or other news professional, taking an introductory journalism course, or applying for internships with news organizations in their communities.
In New York City and other cities, there are many educational institutions, including community colleges, continuing education programs and professional journalism associations (mediabistro.com, etc.) offering introductory classes in non-fiction writing or reporting. Applicants may want to consider taking a non-degree course in this area to see if they enjoy it, and may submit pieces they write in these classes with their application. This is also a good way to find someone to write a letter of recommendation that will speak to an applicant’s commitment to the field and aptitudes.
Q: I currently work full time in the journalism field, but I haven’t been able to advance in my career and feel stuck. Should I go to graduate school?
A: Going to graduate school is an individual decision. We recommend that applicants assess their job satisfaction and skills when determining whether or not journalism school is right for them. An admissions counselor can meet with you to answer any questions you may have about the program and to discuss your goals and expectations. Please call us at 646.758.7700, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
Q: I’ve done some creative writing and have also written some poetry. Would these be acceptable work samples?
A: We prefer that applicants submit non-fiction writing samples that show some evidence of reporting. We’re interested in seeing work that demonstrates your potential in a program that is geared to preparing you for a professional career in journalism.
Q: Who can provide a letter of recommendation?
A: Instructors, faculty advisors, editors, and supervisors are all individuals who can provide letters detailing an applicant’s journalistic potential.
Q: I’ve been in the working world and out of school for several years. Can I submit letters of recommendation from my employer rather than from a former professor?
A: Yes. In fact, this is preferable.
Q: I noticed that your application is online. How does the process work versus a paper application?
A: Once you’ve registered with a login and password, you need to submit general information including your name and address. You must complete this step to generate a file for your application. Then, you can upload certain items such as your resume and written work samples. All items that cannot be uploaded into your account such as reference letters and audio/visual work samples should be post-marked and mailed by the application deadline in one envelope. These items are then scanned and posted to your application. That means you’ll be able to view each item in your application package on-line as it is processed and entered.
Q: I wasn’t able to print out the signature page after submitting all of my information in the on-line application form. What do I do?
A: Contact the Admissions Office at the Graduate Center by emailing them at email@example.com. They will email you your signature page.
Q: Do you need a transcript from a school where I only took one class?
A: Yes, a transcript is required from every previously attended college/university. We do not need one if the course you took was a language course or an adult education class.
Q: I’m only interested in taking a couple of classes. May I take them as a non-matriculated student?
A: To keep class sizes small, we do not allow non-degree students to audit or attend courses on a non-matriculated basis at this time. However, we do offer a non-credit continuing education program. Please visit our continuing education page for more information.
Q: How long should my personal statement be?
A: We’re interested in learning more about you, your motivations, goals, and personal background. The length in which it takes to answer these questions will differ from candidate to candidate, but we prefer to see statements of 1,000 words or less. We suggest having several readers give you feedback before submitting your personal statement.
Q: What should I include in my personal statement?
A: Candidates should take the opportunity to demonstrate their passion and commitment to the field. Why do you want to be a journalist? Why do you want to come to our school? Tell us about your background and how your unique experiences and personality make you a good reporter.
Q: How many work samples do I need to submit?
A: We request a minimum of three work samples. Each sample can be up to five pages long. An audio/visual piece no longer than five minutes may be submitted in lieu of one written sample.
Q: I applied last year, but didn’t complete my application, and/or was not offered admission. Do you still have my materials?
A: Yes. We will keep all applicant materials on file for two years. Then, when we review your file, we will look at your previously submitted items, along with any new materials you may wish to send in. You will need to fill out a new online application, and submit any new academic transcripts, an updated resume, and at least one new letter of recommendation. Optional materials include a new statement of purpose, and up to three additional work samples.
Q: Does your school offer student/on-campus housing?
A: We do offer housing within the Graduate Center Apartments. You may email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact by phone at 212.817.7605 with questions. A number of rooms are also reserved for our students at the CUNY City College Towers dormitory. For more information, please contact Chris Clarke at email@example.com, or by phone at 917.507.0055. In addition, students may also choose to live in the International House. Our office can also provide information about housing options and connect students interested in sharing housing.
Q: When will I learn of my final admissions decision?
A: We will do our best to get all admissions decisions out by the first week of April.
Q: I only have one official copy of my transcript and I’m applying to multiple programs. Because I’m concerned it would take many months to get copies mailed to you, will you accept a copy?
A: We can accept a copy for review purposes. However, should you be accepted into the program, you would need to provide an original copy of your transcript before you matriculate.
Q: I’m a non-native English speaker. Do I have to take both the GRE and the TOEFL?
A: All applicants who are non-native English speakers and who did not graduate from a college or university where the primary language of instruction is not English, must take the TOEFL. The GRE is optional for all applicants.
Q: My transcripts aren’t in English. Can I send them anyway?
A: You will need to have them translated by an academic credential evaluation service. There are several including World Education Services (WES). You would need to provide them with your official transcripts in sealed envelopes. They will then translate your documents. Once completed, they will give you a sealed envelope with the translation, as well as your original transcript. Do not open this envelope or it will be considered unofficial documents.
Q: My work samples are in another language. Do I need to get my work samples translated by a credential evaluation service, too?
A: We ask that applicants translate their own work into English. You should submit your original work samples with your application, along with your translations.
Q: Can I apply for scholarships or loans?
A: Applicants who are non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents cannot apply for loans. There is a limited amount of scholarship funding available to international students. We encourage students apply for outside funding, given that we will not be able to offer substantial scholarship amounts and the cost of living in the New York is high.
International students will need to submit a form called Request for Certificate of Eligibility & Declaration of Finances and Certification of Finances for International Students to document their ability to support themselves while they’re students. This form can be downloaded once students have created a file in the online application system.
Federal Loans And Scholarships
Q: I’m very much interested in working in the field of journalism but I’m concerned about being able to afford graduate school on a full-time basis. What forms of financial assistance are available?
A: Those who qualify can finance the cost of attendance for the program with the support of federal student loans and work-study, need-based departmental scholarships and by applying for outside scholarships.
Q: What do I need to do to apply for need-based scholarship support, and how much are these awards?
A: In order to be considered for a need-based scholarship from the School of Journalism, you are required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1 for consideration. You may file the FAFSA online. (Be sure to use the federal school code for the CUNY Graduate Center: [G04765] when submitting your FAFSA application).
Awards will range from $1,000 to a maximum award of $75,000, based on student need.
Q: I will need to take out federal student loans. When do I apply and how much money am I able to borrow?
A: Students are encouraged to complete and file the FAFSA by March 1st. Upon receipt of your FAFSA information from the federal processor, the Office of Financial Aid will review your FAFSA application. In addition, a Federal Direct Loan Request Form must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid to complete the loan application process.
If supplemental information is required to complete your aid application, you will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid. You will not receive an award notice until all required documentation has been received. The award notice will detail the types and amounts of financial aid, including federal loans and work-study for which you are eligible.
There are two types of Federal Direct Student Loan: the Subsidized Federal Direct Loan and the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. The interest rate on both loans is fixed at 6.8%. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans are based solely on need as defined by federal law. Loan amounts will vary depending on the student’s need to a maximum of $8,500 for the academic year. No interest accrues while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Repayment begins six months after the student no longer registers at least half-time, withdraws, or graduates.
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are not based on need. Loan amounts vary depending on the cost of the student’s attendance less other financial aid and Subsidized Federal Direct Loan eligibility. The combined maximum for the Subsidized Federal Direct Loan plus the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan is $20,500 for the academic year. Repayment of interest begins immediately on the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan or can be capitalized (i.e., added to the loan principal) at the student’s option. Repayment of the loan principal begins six months after the student no longer registers at least half-time, withdraws, or graduates.
A pre-loan interview is required for first-time borrowers of Federal Direct Student Loans. An exit interview is required when the student no longer registers at least half-time, withdraws, or graduates. Students must have the FAFSA on file before they can be considered for subsidized and unsubsidized federal direct loans.
Some students who are able to demonstrate significant need may qualify for a Federal Perkins Loan. The amount of the award will vary depending on the student’s need and the availability of funds to a maximum of $6,000 for the academic year. The Federal Perkins Loan carries a 5 percent interest rate. No interest accrues while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Repayment begins nine months after the student no longer registers at least half-time, withdraws, or graduates. Students must have the FAFSA on file to be considered for this loan and indicate that they are interested in taking out a loan.
Q: What are the requirements for qualifying for a federal student loan?
A: You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and (1) you must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident; (2) you cannot have defaulted on a student loan; and (3) you cannot have had a recent drug conviction.
Q: What are the interest rates for the Federal Direct Student loans?
A: The interest rate on both the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan is fixed at 6.8% for the life of the loan. The subsidized portion of the loan does not accrue interest while you are enrolled at least half-time and for six months after graduation. The unsubsidized Direct Student Loan begins to accrue interest when the loan is disbursed and students can choose to pay the interest on the loan in monthly installments or allow the interest to capitalize on the principle (i.e. added to the original loan amount) and make no payments while in school.
Q: I’m a single person, living independently from my family. Based on the estimated student budget and my current income, I will have to borrow about $8,500 for my first two semesters of the program, and another $4,000 for the third semester. Fortunately these loans are subsidized. Can you tell me about how much my monthly payments will be after I graduate, when I need to start repaying them, and how long I can spread out this repayment process?
A:Before you enter repayment, you will be granted a six-month grace period. Your grace period will begin after you graduate or withdraw from school. Loan payments will not be required during this period.
When this grace period ends, you will make monthly payments for up to ten years, depending on the amount you have borrowed.
Once you enter repayment, you may choose from several repayment options.
- Standard Repayment: Monthly payments are set at a fixed amount (minimum payment will be at least $50)
- Graduated Repayment: Monthly payments start small and then increase over time. Payments cannot be set lower than is necessary to satisfy the interest accruing monthly on the account
- Income-Sensitive Repayment: Monthly payments are based on your annual income. Payments cannot be set lower than is necessary to satisfy the interest accruing monthly on the account.
As an example, a standard repayment plan at 8.5% for a subsidized Federal Direct loan in the amount of $12,500 will require a monthly payment of approximately $154.00 a month for a period of ten years.
Q: I’m an international student. Are there loans and scholarships for me?
A: International students do not qualify for federal loans and work-study eligibility, and departmental scholarships are very limited. Eligibility for off-campus employment is also limited due to immigration regulations. You can apply for journalism-related scholarships, and we also recommend visiting the International Journalists’ Network Web site for a list of web links to scholarships and fellowships.
International students, who can obtain a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident as a credit worthy co-signer, may be eligible to borrow an alternative loan from a bank. Information about these loans can be obtained at the Office of Financial Aid.
Q: Are there any alternatives to applying for loans to cover my education costs?
A: A wide range of scholarships is available to both domestic and international students, based on merit, need, proposed area of study, and many other specifications. You can find a list of journalism-related scholarship Web sites with their related deadlines. In addition, take a look at one of the free scholarship search engines.
Q: How do I calculate my other costs, including rent and transportation?
A: For a student living on his or her own, the estimated student budget for living expenses, including rent, transportation, food, reporting-related expenses and miscellaneous personal expenses, ranges from $12,500-$17,000 (based on rental costs) for the nine-month academic year. For students who are residing with their parents, the estimated student budget for living expenses is approximately $5,900.
Q: How much does it cost to rent an apartment in New York City?
A: In most areas of Manhattan, you will have difficulty finding astudio apartment for less than $1,300 per month, and apartment shares are usually at least $600 per month. In contrast, there are areas just outside Manhattan (within a 30-40 minute commute) where you can find a decent studio apartment to rent for $850-$1,000 per month, or a room in a shared housing situation for $400-$600 per month.
Q: I’m from out-of-state. Do I have to pay non-resident tuition for all three semesters of the program?
A: If you are a U.S. citizen and are a non-resident, you can petition for in-state residency for the third semester of the program.
Q: I’m concerned about being able to support myself while doing an internship over the summer between the first and second year of the program. So many journalism internships seem to be unpaid.
A: The School will provide approximately $3,000 to each student who has an unpaid internship to assist with living expenses during the summer.
Q: With whom can I speak if I have more questions about my specific financial situation, or if I have other questions?
A: Our admissions staff would be happy to talk with you and will work closely with you to figure out a plan that will suit your particular budget. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 646.758.7700.
You can also visit the Graduate Center’s Financial Aid office Web site.