How To Apply
- Application Available Now:
- UC Berkeley Graduate Admissions
- September - November:
- Begin drafting your 3 personal essays.
- Request letters of recommendation.
- Select/publish your three best journalistic work samples.
- Obtain an official copy of your transcripts.
- Polish your resume.
- Begin working on the online application.
- Deadline: December 1:
- All components of the online application need to be submitted by December 1, 2013 11:59 PM PST. Urge recommenders to submit their letters of recommendation by this time.
- December - February:
- Interviews and Writing Test are conducted.
- Selected candidates will be contacted for an interview. Personal interviews are required to complete the review process and are conducted by an alumnus in your area. If an in-person interview cannot be scheduled, the interview will be conducted over the phone or by videoconference. After the interview is completed, a timed writing test will be administered.
- All applicants are notified of their admission status.
- Spring Welcome Visit for all newly admitted students. Spring Welcome Visit is an all-school event designed to show newly admitted students what it's like to be a Berkeley J-School student.
Begin your online application by creating a user account and password. Peruse the entire application so you know what is needed for each component. You can add and edit components any time before the deadline, so you’ll want to save the link to your application for easy access to the Berkeley Graduate Division website.
Key Components of the Application:
- Essays (3 total, 750 words or less for each one)
- Statement of Purpose
- Please describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals. Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you. You may also want to include the reasons you would like to attend Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism at this time in your career.
- Personal History Statement:
- Please describe how your personal background and experiences inform your decision to pursue a journalism graduate degree. In this section, you may also include any relevant information on how you have overcome barriers to access higher education, evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others, evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality, or evidence of your leadership among such groups. The Personal History Statement is required for all applicants. Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose. You may want to include the reasons that you have decided to become a reporter.
- Reflection on Contemporary Journalism:
- Please submit an essay reflecting on the state of contemporary journalism. This essay should contemplate changes to the media industry and how this has affected news gathering, news reporting, individuals, institutions, and society.
- Scan and upload a PDF of your transcript. An official hard copy will be required if admission is offered.
- Letters of Recommendation (3):
- Submit your recommenders' contact information online. Your recommenders will be notified electronically once you complete this section. Be sure to remind recommenders of the December 1 deadline.
- Journalistic Work Samples (3):
- Upload PDFs or provide URLs to your online work samples. Two of the three work samples must be text based. All work samples should be produced by you alone.
- Upload a PDF of your current resume.
- Be sure all sections of your application are complete before you click the "Submit" button.
- Be sure you click the "Submit" button by the December 1, 11:59PM deadline.
Review Parts of the Application below for more details.
- General Information:
- Personal information, contact information, educational background, GPA, program interests, foreign language proficiency, financial aid.
- Statements (3): 750 words each
- Statement of Purpose – Describe your aptitude and motivation.
- Personal History Statement – Describe how your personal background and experiences inform your decision to pursue a journalism graduate degree.
- Essay on Journalism – Reflect on the state of contemporary journalism.
- We require a PDF copy of transcripts from the undergraduate institution which awarded your Bachelor's degree. Transcripts from other institutions are required if they include credits towards your Bachelor’s degree that are not reflected on the same transcript that shows the completion of your degree. Request a copy of your transcripts, scan and upload the PDF document in the transcript section of the application. Hard copies will be required if admission is offered.
- Letters of Recommendation (3):
- We prefer recommendations from professional journalists who know your work and can comment on your work ethic, reporting proficiency, and commitment to journalism. We do not accept paper letters of recommendations. Requests for letters of recommendation are sent automatically through the online application. Recommenders will respond to this request and submit their letters directly to your online application file. You will be able to view the status of the receipt of your recommendations through your online account, but you will not be able to see the content of your letter. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
- Journalistic Work Samples (3):
- Submit three work samples as PDF documents or as URLs. These should best reflect your journalistic and research skills. Two samples must be text-based. Published work is preferred. Lengthy samples are admissible, but may not be viewed in their entirety. Your third work sample may be in the format of your choice: audio, video, multimedia, or an online photo essay/portfolio. Submissions should represent your journalistic sensibility. Be sure that it’s clear that you are the sole producer of your work. The admissions committee will judge your reporting skills, so you will want to select pieces in which your reporting is immediately and comprehensively evident.
- Upload as a PDF document.
- Financial Aid:
- Visit the Cost and Financial Aid page for more information about federal grants, loans, and work-study qualification.
- Re-applicants must submit a new online application and fee.
- It is highly recommended that all components of the new application are fresh. Transcripts from your previous application can be used upon request.
- The admissions committee will scrutinize how you have improved your reporting skills since the submission of your last application.
The J-School offers concurrent degrees with Asian Studies, Law, and Public Health. Please be sure you are ready to undertake two Master's programs in a condensed time period before you select this option. Concurrent degree applicants are reviewed by the admissions committees from each department. It should be clear how and why the applicant is pursuing both degrees simultaneously. Furthermore, applicants must be sure they are following all of the application requirements for both departments.
Visit our Concurrent Degree Page for more information about the concurrent programs and how to apply.
We welcome applications from international students. Admission is competitive. Candidates who have demonstrated professional journalism experience and fluency in English are favored. All work samples should be in English.
Resources for International Students
- Berkeley Graduate Division
- Please review Berkeley Graduate Division's information for international applicants
- Berkeley International Office
- BIO can help international applicants with questions about visas, travel, and housing in the U.S.
- Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Berkeley offers a combination of need and merit based aid. Most students receive between $10,000 and $20,000 in aid. Students graduate with an average of $20,000 in student aid debt. Funding is limited for students. Some financial aid options are available from the Berkeley International Office (BIO). Additionally, internship information is available at the Career Center.
Establishing California Residency to receive in-state tuition in your second year is unfortunately not an option for international students. However, students who qualify under the provisions of the Dream Act are eligible for in-state residency tuition.
- TOEFL and Transcripts
- International students must demonstrate language proficiency through either the TOEFL or IELTS test. All reporting at the school is performed in English. Please review the Graduate Division website for more details about the TOEFL / IELTS tests.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need a degree in a speciﬁc major to be considered for admission?
- The J-School admits applicants with a wide variety of Bachelor's degrees, from Anthropology to Zoology. An applicant with a technical or science background can approach reporting from a unique perspective. Your performance as an undergraduate is important, just as your commitment to reporting is important.
- Are there any prerequisite courses that I need to have taken?
- No specific prerequisite coursework is required beyond the successful completion of your bachelor's degree.
- What counts as journalism experience?
- The admissions committee looks for your dedication to becoming the best reporter you can be. Applicants who demonstrate solid reporting skills and a strong work ethic are favored. The most impressive applicants report stories that have not been previously reported, provide significant value to the community, lack personal bias, show meticulous research, sharp interviewing skills, integrity, and good judgment. Many do this while having an unrelated day job. Research and expertise in technologies and specific topics (eg biochemistry, data visualization) are also impressive to the admissions committee.
- If I don't have any journalism experience, do I have a chance of being admitted?
- If you have not done any reporting, then it is more difficult to be a successful applicant. However, the admissions committee looks closely at other qualifications and achievements that indicate you are a strong candidate. Also, those who produce journalistic work during the months before the deadline are impressive, and sometimes unpublished research papers or journalistic work can be as strong as published work. Finally, if you need more samples of work, one of the best ways to learn and improve your reporting techniques is to ask a journalist to mentor you. A good mentor will allow you to pitch him/her story ideas, show you storytelling techniques, and help you with the editing and connections you need to get your work published.
- What GPA is required in order to be considered for admission?
- Berkeley Graduate Division requires a 3.0 GPA for admission. Occasionally an exception can be made if professional experience outweighs the significance of an applicant's performance in college. There is a text box on the application that you can use to provide an explanation about your grades. You can use this to explain why your grades do not reflect of your merit for a Master of Journalism.
- What transcripts are required?
- An electronic copy of your transcript that shows the official completion of your Bachelor's degree is required. Most international applicants will be required to upload an electronic copy of an official diploma in addition to transcripts.
- I took the GRE, should I submit my scores even though they are no longer required?
- The GRE is important if you are applying for the FLAS fellowship or if you are applying for a concurrent program that requires it. Otherwise, you do not need to take or report a GRE score.
- What are acceptable work samples?
- We expect journalists to be sensitive to language and to organize their thoughts clearly and coherently. We ask that the three work samples demonstrate these qualities. Two of the three submissions must be text-based samples, but the third can be audio, video, multimedia, or a photo essay/portfolio. A video sample must be solely produced and directed by the application. Audio samples should be accompanied by a script. International applicants can send work samples in another language, so long as an English translation, by the applicant, is provided. Academic writing samples and research papers are acceptable.
- Does the Journalism School accept transfer credit from other institutions?
- Does the Journalism School offer summer classes?
- No. The Journalism School does not offer graduate-level courses during the summer. Other Berkeley departments offer classes, and Master of Journalism students are welcome to enroll in these.
- Can I apply to be a part-time student? Does the Journalism School offer any correspondence/online courses?
- The program is a two-year, full-time Master of Journalism program. We only admit students each fall semester. For workshops and short courses, please contact Vicki Hammarstedt.
- How will the program work for me if I am interested in Documentary?
- All applicants will be evaluated equally by the admissions committee. You must be a student in our journalism program before being considered for advanced documentary coursework. Enrolled students can begin taking Introductory TV Production courses in their first semester. At the end of the second semester, the students who show the most dedication and merit have the opportunity to enroll in advanced documentary classes.