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Journalism, MSJ

Offered in: CHICAGO

The graduate program in Journalism is designed for students who plan to have or are continuing with careers in news media, including print, broadcast, online, and magazines. For more information about this program, visit the program website at

Undergraduate courses in media are not required for admission to the program. The first courses in the program (JOUR 400 and 401) are designed to provide a foundation for more advanced work. Students with acceptable undergraduate degrees in media fields may be waived from JOUR 400 and/or 401 by the department chair or the head of Journalism.

The Master of Science in Journalism offers classes only at the Chicago campus.


Admission to the journalism program depends on previous academic success and work experience. Any admission with a grade point average below 3.0 will be probationary, requiring grades of B (3.0) or higher in the first two courses of the program.

Domestic applicants with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher, or a graduate degree in any discipline, will be granted unconditional admission. If the grade point average is between 2.7 and 3.0, probationary admission will be given and enrollment limited to two courses for the first term.

Appeals after denial. If the student's grade point average is below 2.7, the applicant will be denied admission but may appeal by preparing an appeal packet for the department chair including a detailed work history, three letters of recommendation (employers, faculty, etc.), an essay explaining career interests and objectives in the field of journalism, and writing samples. All material should be submitted to Graduate Admission, which will forward the materials and the student's transcript to the department's faculty for review. The applicant also may be asked to submit the results of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Faculty will review all submitted documents and determine whether to admit the student on probation.

International students. International students for whom English is not the first language must submit transcripts of college work, results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Written English (TWE). The department recommends that international students also take the Roosevelt University English Language Program placement test before beginning graduate courses. Admission is based on a combination of these measures.

Additional skills courses. In some cases, the faculty may require further evidence of English composition and/or mathematics skills. Students with deficiencies in these skills may be required to take designated undergraduate courses prior to admission.

Waiver of JOUR 400 or 401. Students whose undergraduate degrees were in journalism may apply for a waiver of JOUR 400 and/or 401 as their first courses in the graduate program. Contact the department chair for guidelines on applying for such a waiver. If JOUR 400 and/or 401 is waived, the student must complete 33 semester hours for the degree.

The program only admits students for the fall term of each academic year.


Graduate students must complete all courses required for their programs, including required undergraduate or English Language Program courses, with a grade point average of B (3.0) or higher. No grade below C- can be counted for graduate credit and no more than six semester hours of C grades may be counted in the total credits accepted for the master's degree. Although a grade of C is acceptable within the stated guidelines, this indicates work below the level expected of graduate students.

First-term courses. A student who receives a grade of C+ or lower in JOUR 400 or 401 must repeat that course for a B- or higher before continuing in the program. A graduate course can only be repeated once; no more than two courses can be repeated in graduate studies.

Probationary admission. A student admitted on probation will be limited to two courses (six semester hours) in the first term of enrollment and must receive grades of B (3.0) or above in these first two courses to remain in the program.

A student who is admitted on probation and falls into probation again in a future term is subject to dismissal from the program.

Journalism internship requirement. JOUR 499 Graduate Internship is a required experience for students pursuing the Master of Science in Journalism degree. Students should meet with the department's internship coordinator early in their programs to begin planning for their internships. Exceptions to the internship requirement are made only for students whose current employment is full time in media. Talk with the department chair or the head of Journalism if you are employed full time in media and wish to develop an alternative to a traditional internship.

ELP and other language-skills courses. Excellent communication skills, including proficiencies in spoken and written English, are vital for success in this program, even for those who expect to work in other languages. International students who take the Roosevelt University English Language Program courses must be enrolled in the ELP 111 level before beginning graduate courses.


To earn the MSJ, most students must complete 36 semester hours of course work with an average of B (3.0) or higher. Students with acceptable undergraduate degrees in journalism may be waived from JOUR 400 and/or 401. These students complete a total of 33 semester hours for their degree.

Transfer credit. No more than six hours of transfer credit for approved graduate-level journalism courses will be accepted from another institution. Students should submit transcripts of their previous graduate work to the department for university review and official posting to their Roosevelt transcript as soon as possible after their enroll at RU.

Six-year rule. All course work and other requirements for the degree must be completed within six years of the student’s admission to the program. Exceptions are granted only in unusual circumstances.

Substitutions of required courses.Students who have taken any of the required courses as undergraduates or at other institutions will be required to substitute electives to reach the total hours required.

  JOUR 400 News Fundamentals: Editing* .....3
  JOUR 401 News Fundamentals: Writing/Reporting* .....3
  JOUR 405 The State of the News Business* .....3
  JOUR 411 Advanced Reporting Methods .....3
  JOUR 463 Law and Ethics .....3
  JOUR 480 The Journalism Project .....3
  JOUR 489 New Media and Technology .....3
  JOUR 499 Graduate Internship .....3

One of these two courses is required.

  JOUR 431 Public Opinion and Propaganda .....3
  JOUR 470 Media Criticism .....3

Remaining courses (for most students, nine semester hours) are taken in electives or in a concentration.


* A student who receives a grade of C+ or lower in this course must repeat it as soon as the course is offered again.

A student who has not completed an internship, practicum, or other final project must maintain continued registration during fall and spring semesters until completion of the project by registering for the appropriate zero-credit course (course number followed by “Y“). Students who have not maintained continuous registration for internship, practicum, or other final project will be required to register for all intervening fall and spring semesters prior to graduation.


Students may declare a three-course concentration from the list below or pursue general electives. Concentrations focus course work on practical experience for media-related careers.


  JOUR 454 Publication Design .....3
  JOUR 455 Magazine Writing .....3
  JOUR 457 Magazine Production .....3

Public Relations

This concentration consists of three courses in the graduate IMC program. IMC 409 should be taken first.
  IMC 409 Methods of Integrated Marketing Communications .....3
  IMC 471 Principles of Public Relations .....3
  IMC 474 Crisis Communications .....3


  JOUR 425 Photography .....3
  JOUR 428 Digital Photography .....3
  JOUR 454 Publication Design .....3


Choose any three courses from this list or other approved writing/reporting courses as available.
  JOUR 422 Feature Writing .....3
  JOUR 429 Personal Memoir Writing .....3
  JOUR 434 Writing for Radio .....3
  JOUR 452 Editorial and Column Writing .....3
  JOUR 455 Magazine Writing .....3
  JOUR 456 Literary Journalism .....3
  JOUR 462 Reporting/Writing Topics .....3