Master of Arts in Journalism FAQ



Who applies for the JRN MA program?

Applicants include, but are not limited to:

  • Anyone interested in becoming a professional journalist.
  • Those who want a career in academia and/or plan to apply to a Ph.D. program.
  • People who want to learn or enhance their journalism and communication skills.
  • Current MSU BA students interested in pursuing an MA Journalism through the dual-degree program.
  • Thus, students in the MA program were applicants who did or did not have a background in journalism education and plan to go into the industry or academia. 

Graduates of our MA program get jobs where?

  • The journalism field is the news industry -- and more.
  • Alumni become journalists in multimedia, online and print news outlets; public and commercial TV and radio stations; public relations, nonprofit organizations, government, and other communication arenas, as well as many other avenues that employ their creatives skills. They also become professors in national and international universities or researchers in industry. Many alumni pursue successful careers that use their journalism skills in other industries.



1. Do I need a degree or experience in journalism prior to enrolling in the JRN Master's program?

  • No. We tailor programs to students with diverse interests, skillsets, and educational backgrounds. 

2. Is the GRE required?

  • No. We are waiving Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

3. My undergraduate GPA (Grade Point Average) is below 3.0. Can I still apply?

  • Yes. While MSU likes to see at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, we look at the applicants holistically, considering their GPA, life, and work experiences. Sometimes we look to see how an applicant did their last two years of school or their GPA in their major. If you are concerned about your GPA, please explain it in your application essay or contact the J-School Graduate Director.

4. Who should write my letters of recommendation?

  • Ask a professor, academic adviser, internship coordinator, employer or anyone who knows you and your work well enough to articulate your potential as a master's student and/or journalist. Do not ask family members or friends. Letter writers should assess your communication skills as well as your abilities to think critically and work independently. If you are an undergraduate applying for the Journalism linked BA-MA program, we ask that a minimum of 2 of your letters come from J-School faculty. 

5. What should my Statement of Purpose state?

  • The committee reviews the statement closely to determine if our program will fit your career goals. Thus, please state the reason you want to pursue a master's degree in Journalism or how this program fits into your future goals. While it's OK to incorporate past experiences, focus your statement on what you would like to learn in our program, which faculty align with your interests and what you hope to do after graduation or future career plans.

6. What is the deadline for applications?

  • A fall admission deadline is April 1 to be considered for funding.
  • A spring admission deadline is Nov. 1 to be considered for funding.
  • Otherwise, we have a rolling deadline throughout the year.

7. Where do I send my transcript?

  • Domestic institution transcripts can be sent electronically from the institution to the Academic Program Coordinator, Nicole Bond, at 
  • International transcripts must be sent directly from the institution in a sealed envelope to the following address: Office of Admissions Hannah Administration Building 426 Auditorium Road, Room 250 East Lansing, MI 48824-2604

8. I am an MSU undergraduate interested in the program. What do I need to know?

9. I am an international student. What application materials are required?

10. I am a non-MSU domestic student. What application materials are required?



1. Is the program more theoretical or practical?

  • Our program is created to accommodate both interests.  Courses focus on theory and/or skills. We have lines of study for those who want to learn theory for academic research or practical skills for a career in journalism and/or communication.  

2. What concentrations do you offer?

  • Environmental, Science and Health Journalism
  • International Journalism
  • Students can also use their elective credits to focus on their own area of specialization.



1. How long will it take to earn an MA degree in this program?

  • Dual/Linked MSU students may transfer 9 credits; thus they can earn their degree in as little as 3 semesters or one year, depending on what they plan to do in summers.  
  • Non-MSU students can earn their MA degree in 4 semesters or as little as two years, depending on what they plan to do in summers.  
  • Our program is designed to be completed in two years. Many motivated students achieve completion in less time. Some students take classes while working full-time and take longer. No problem. The university requires that master's students complete their program within five years. 

2. What's part time vs. full time?

  • Full-time: 9-credits
  • 3/4 time: 7-8 credits
  • 1/2 time: 5-6 credits
  • Less than 1/2 time: 1-4 credits



1. How much will it cost to attend the program?

2. Where can I find housing?



1. How much does it cost to be in graduate school?

2. Is funding available to help with costs? If so, what types of funding do you offer?

  • Funding is dependent on our budget and the number of students who have graduated and are no longer using their funding.
  • It is best for students to have their funding resources determined before applying.  One should not depend on the program for funding.

3. Does the program offer assistantships?

  • Sometimes there are hourly work opportunities within the School, but full-scale assistantships are rare.

4. Are scholarships available?

5. Is support available for students who seek funding for academic conferences or for project work?

  • Yes. Funding is potentially available through the J-School or College. Contact the Grad Studies Director ASAP to secure funding, as it is often awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.