Creating honest, bold journalism that moves the world is not easy.

At their best, journalists hold those in power accountable.  Today’s journalism is demanding, rigorous and technologically sophisticated. To thrive, we must be curious, creative, relentless, fearless and passionate.

Important
Dates

Application deadline:
December 1, 2020
at 8:59 pm PST

Application available:
September 15, 2020

Admissions Events

Join us for upcoming admissions events

We will be holding drop-in zoom office hours for last minute application questions during the below days and times.

Monday, November 30th, 9:30-11:30am Pacific Time

Tuesday, December 1st, 11:00am-2:00pm Pacific Time

Click here to join the Zoom office hours.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events

Camille Joué, Director of Admissions

Questions?
Contact Us

Hi, my name is Camille Koué, director of admissions. Please contact the admissions team with questions about the program or application by emailing us at  journalism_admissions@berkeley.edu.

You can also schedule an admissions advising appointment.

Sign up now to receive information about applying to Berkeley Journalism, as well as event invitations and special announcements.

Top 11 Reasons to Attend Berkeley

#1

It’s extremely competitive out there.

It helps to have an edge.

#2

Our reputation becomes your reputation.

And ours is stellar.

#3

You’ll do better work, and it will matter more.

We focus on the world’s most critical issues.

#1  It’s extremely competitive out there.

It helps to have an edge.

#2  Our reputation becomes your reputation.

And ours is stellar.

#3  You’ll do better work, and it will matter more.

We focus on the world’s most critical issues.

#4  Our successful alumni will want to meet you.

And they might hire you – or connect you.

#5  We enroll only 60 students per year (maximum).

You’ll get personal attention in a tight-knit community.

#6  Sunny California.

The average February temperature is 60o. True, we once got 8 inches of snow … in 1922.

#7  The thriving Bay Area.

From Silicon Valley to Napa Valley.

#8  A hotbed of curious minds.

UC Berkeley is routinely ranked the top public university in the world.

#9  We’ll help you pay for your degree.

It’s still not cheap, but it’s worth it.

#10  It takes time to learn the skills you’ll need.

That’s why our program takes two years.

#11  You don’t just learn journalism – you graduate as a journalist.

Our Areas of Excellence provide a foundation of knowledge.

Requirements & Prerequisites

Academic
Preparedness

Applicants must have obtained an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution by the time they enroll at UC Berkeley. No specific major is required for admission to Berkeley Journalism.

A minimum 3.0 GPA is required. We do not require the GRE.

For additional information on academic requirements, please visit the Berkeley Graduate Admissions website.

Journalism
Experience

We are looking for people with a passion for reporting. Our students include people with little background in journalism but a strong desire to pursue journalism professionally, career changers, and people with several years of professional experience in reporting who are looking to take their journalism career to the next level. The entirety of your application should reflect your earnest desire, capacity and aptitude to succeed in a career in journalism.

Basic
Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or equivalent
  • Demonstrated aptitude for writing, and desire to produce high-quality journalism
  • Completed online application submitted by the application deadline

How to Apply

Begin your online application by creating a user account and password. Review the entire application so you know what is needed for each component. You can add and edit sections at 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.

Basic Instructions & Key Components of Application

No more than 500 words.

Please describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in journalism, including your journalistic preparation, what specific skills you hope to learn through the Berkeley Journalism curriculum, 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 the Graduate School of Journalism at this point in your career.

The Statement of Purpose is required for all applicants. Please note that the Statement of Purpose should not duplicate the Personal History Statement.

No more than 500 words.

Make sure to address the following two topics in your Personal History Statement:

  1. At the Graduate School of Journalism, we recognize the intrinsic relationship between diversity and excellence in all our endeavors. Diversity refers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, academic and professional backgrounds, political beliefs, and geographic region, to name a few. Given this description of diversity, describe how you would add to the diversity of the Graduate School of Journalism community.
  2. Describe how your personal background and experiences shaped your decision to pursue a journalism graduate degree, and how they have motivated you to become a reporter. Include any relevant information on how you overcame barriers to access higher education, or to achieve your journalistic goals.

The Personal History Statement is required for all applicants. Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose.

No more than 300 words

The admissions team takes a holistic approach to application review and will consider achievements in the context of the opportunities available to an applicant. This essay is optional, and is for anyone who wishes to expand on hardships or unusual life circumstances that may have impacted their opportunities, achievements, and impact. It can be helpful to use this space to provide context for things such as a low GPA, a lack of related work experience, or any other part of the application that you feel might need some additional context.

Appropriate recommenders are any non-family individual who can assess your academic, personal, or professional achievements and speak to your journalistic potential and ability to perform top graduate level work. Your recommenders may include, for example, professors, editors, employers, or community leaders. Students coming right out of their undergrad may decide to lean more heavily on academic letters. If an applicant is further away from their undergrad degree, then that applicant can lean more heavily on more professional letters

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 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 the letters.

We require a minimum of two and a maximum of three work samples.

One sample must be a non-fiction writing sample, such as published or unpublished reporting, profile writing, memoir writing, academic research writing, or another kind of non-fiction writing. Writing samples should be a maximum of five pages.

In addition to your non-fiction writing sample, we require up to two additional samples in any medium. This can include written pieces, audio pieces, photo essays, multimedia pieces, online projects like data-driven stories, in-depth interactive graphics or interactive documentaries; or other abstract new media forms, such as VR, apps, or similar projects.

We have a preference for journalistic work, but it's not mandatory. We understand that some people applying to the program will not have a background in journalism. Ideally your work samples will highlight your ability as a writer and storyteller. Work samples can be published or unpublished. All samples must be in English, have English-language captions, or be accompanied by an English-language transcript.

Work samples can be uploaded as PDF, image or audio files, or submitted as a URL. If submitting a URL, be sure to include any additional information needed to access the materials online (e.g. if password-protected). It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure a working link and full accessibility to materials during the review period of the application. Be sure it’s clear that you are either the sole author/producer of each work sample, or specify exactly what your role was in creating the piece using the provided text box on the application.

Applicants should have a BA or BS from an accredited institution. Applicants must submit transcripts for ALL college-level course work. Applicants must submit transcripts for ALL college-level course work. Please submit separate transcripts for community college courses and study abroad courses. Transcripts can be unofficial but must show degree conferred (if any), the institution’s name, and the applicant’s full name. Transcripts must be loaded into the online application as PDFs and must be legible. Hard copies will be required if admission is offered.

The University requires a minimum 3.0 GPA or its equivalent for all coursework after the first two years, (typically the first 60 semester units or 90 quarter units) of undergraduate study, for US citizens. For international students, the University requires a minimum 3.0 GPA or its equivalent for all undergraduate coursework.

Special Instructions on Calculating your GPA:
Please complete the three required GPA calculations on the application page.

  1. Cumulative undergraduate GPA: This will be listed on your transcript.
  2. Advanced GPA: You will most likely have to calculate this yourself. Calculate your GPA for all grades received after the first two years of college-level coursework. You can use this Application GPA Worksheet to help you.
  3. Major GPA: This may be calculated on your transcript. If not, calculate your GPA for all courses taken in your master field of study.

Upload a one-page PDF of your current resume. Include links in your resume to highlight additional work.

You may upload a 1-3 minute personal video. The video can be submitted as a video file in the Audio/Visual Uploads section of the application or submitted as a URL in the Journalism Program page under the work samples section.

We do not require the GRE.

All applicants from countries/regions in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. 

For Berkeley Journalism, the suggested minimum TOEFL score is 105 and suggested minimum IELTS score is 7.5. However, all completed applications are reviewed even if you score below the minimum. The University is accepting the TOEFL ibt At Home exam. But the University is NOT accepting the ITP, the TOEFL ITP Plus for Mainland China, or the My Best Scores.

Review the information on the Graduate Admissions website for more information on how to apply for a TOEFL/IELTS exemption.

After submitting your application, you may be required to complete an interview and/or writing test. Interviews can be done in person or remotely, and are usually conducted by an alumni of the program.

The writing test is timed. The purpose of the test is to assess your ability to write under a tight deadline.

If you need to complete an interview or writing test, you will be contacted with more information. Interviews and writing tests are conducted up until the end of the application review process. The admissions department will not be able to tell you any information on your application status until all final decisions are emailed out some time between late February and early March.


We interview more students than are ultimately offered admissions, so the offer of an interview should not be seen as an indicator of admission.

Merit-Based Funding

All admitted students are automatically considered for merit-based departmental funding.

Need-Based Funding

To be considered for need-based departmental funding you must complete the Need-Based Funding essay in the application. The purpose of the essay is to determine relative need as compared to other applicants.

Application Fee Waivers

Financial Hardship University Application Fee Waiver

The University's Graduate Admissions department oversees financial hardship fee waivers. Please refer to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division fee waiver page to request a financial hardship application fee waiver. The form to request a fee waiver is included in the payment section of the online application. To be considered, applicants need to select the waiver payment option and upload any required supporting documents before submitting the online application. 

Pipeline Program & Military Service Departmental Application Few Waivers

Applicants who are members of eligible pipeline programs or are U.S. military service members (active duty, reserves, National Guard, and veterans) are eligible to receive an application fee waivers. *Please be sure to request a waiver before submitting your application by completing the below form. We cannot issue fee waivers retroactively for applications that have already been paid for and submitted.*

APPLICATION FEE WAIVER FORM FOR PIPELINE PROGRAMS & MILITARY SERVICE

ELIGIBLE PIPELINE PROGRAMS

National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)

National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)

Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)

Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)

The Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA)

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program (for applicants from from Sub-Saharan African countries)

Federal Student Aid & Outside Funding

Visit the Cost and Financial Aid page for more information about federal grants, loans, and work-study qualification. We strongly recommend that applicants start applying to outside funding as early as possible, as some deadlines are early.

International students, please read over the Financial Aid for International Students webpage.

Additional Instructions for International, Concurrent & Re-Applicants

If you applied to the Journalism department in the last two years, you may re-use transcripts and letters of recommendation upon request. We can upload two of your three letters of recommendation upon request, but require one of the letters to be new. Please contact the admissions department early in the application process to request the upload of past application documents, so that if there is any problem you will have time to request and upload the documents yourself. Email the admissions department at journalism_admissions@berkeley.edu.

Re-applicants must submit new online applications and fees. International re-applicants will also be required to submit a new TOEFL or IELTS score if your score is more than two years old. For exact cut-off-dates, please review the Graduate Admissions website.

Re-applicants include those who have been previously admitted and those who applied but were not admitted. If you were admitted in a past year, you will be able to indicate this on the application.

Journalism and Public Health

For students who are interested in the flourishing field of health-related journalism and communications, the J-School offers a joint degree with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. It enables students to satisfy the requirements of the Master of Journalism and the Master of Public Health concurrently, completing both two-year programs in three years instead of the four that would be required if the degrees were pursued separately.

Journalism and Asian Studies

Asian Studies offers a two-year Master of Arts (M.A.) program that includes a cross-section of cultural, political, and economic coursework related to various regions in Asia. You may concurrently complete a Master of Arts in Asian Studies and a Master of Journalism in three years. Language proficiency is required. Be sure to fill out the Journalism and Asian Studies MJ/MA application form on the Graduate Division website.

Journalism and Law

The concurrent degree program in journalism and law is not currently being offered.

Visit our Concurrent Degree page for more information.

Candidates should be sure they are ready to undertake both demanding programs in a condensed time period before they select either of these options. When choosing which application to complete, you must select the appropriate concurrent degree program application. Concurrent degree applicants are reviewed by the admissions committees from each of the two schools, and must be sure they are following all the application requirements for both programs. It is possible for applicants to get admitted into one of the programs and not the other.

 

TOEFL or IELTS Requirements

An applicant must submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they have a post-secondary degree from an institution in which the language of instruction is English.

The University is accepting the TOEFL ibt At Home exam. But the University is NOT accepting the ITP, the TOEFL ITP Plus for Mainland China, My Best Scores, or Duolingo certificates.

For Berkeley Journalism, the suggested minimum TOEFL score is 105 and suggested minimum IELTS score is 7.5. However, all completed applications are reviewed even if you score below the minimum. Scores must not be more than two years old. For exact cutoff dates, please review the Graduate Admissions website. The University does not accept MyBest Scores.

Review the information on the Graduate Admissions website for more information on how to apply for a TOEFL/IELTS exemption.

For specific questions on eligibility, please contact Graduate Admissions at gradadm@berkeley.edu.

Also, please check out the resources at the Berkeley International Office website.

All classes at the J-School are conducted in English. Please review the Graduate Division website for more details about the TOEFL / IELTS tests.


Information on STEM Classification

Our journalism program has been classified as STEM under the CIP Code 09.0702 – Digital Communication Media/Multimedia.

Students in F-1 visa status may qualify initially for 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). Due to the STEM classification, F-1 students with eligible STEM employment may also have the option to apply for a 24 month STEM Extension of their OPT, allowing a possible total of 36 months of OPT.

You can find more information from our Berkeley International Office. They will help you throughout your F1 visa application through to your OPT and OPT Stem extension application.

F-1 students may also qualify for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) after having completed a full academic year in continuous F-1 status. CPT may be used for internships, employment or field studies which are an integral part of a student's academic program of study, and can also allow paid employment authorization for your required summer internship between your first and second year.

International students can hold campus jobs once they are enrolled at the University. Most commonly, students will work as Graduate Student Instructors (GSI). To be eligible for a GSI position, students must be enrolled in 12 units; must be in good academic standing; and must demonstrate English language proficiency if they do not speak English as a native language. Please read the Graduate Division’s GSI Resource Center webpage for fuller details.

All prospective GSIs who do not speak English as a native language and do not have a bachelor’s degree from a US institution are required to demonstrate English language proficiency before they can be appointed as GSIs. Information on how to fulfill this requirement can be found on the Language Proficiency Program (LPP) web page.

If you already know you need to take a test, please fill out the Language Proficiency Questionnaire, if you have not already done so. Once that is submitted, you will hear back from LPP within a day or so.

With respect to tuition fees, international students pay the same tuition and fees as out-of-state students, but they are do not qualify for U.S. government-sponsored financial aid.

For international students, please make sure you visit the Berkeley International Office for more information.


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 both need- and merit-based aid, but funding is limited. 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 the lower tuition available for in-state students 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.


Transcripts

Graduates of recognized academic institutions outside the United States should hold a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Equivalency is determined by International Evaluators in the Graduate Admissions Office.

English translations of transcripts are required for all languages except Spanish. Academic records should be issued in the original language and accompanied by English translations (usually prepared by your university or Ministry of Education, unless the institution issues original documents in English). If your home institution does not issue documents in English, you may submit translations prepared by certified translators from the American Translators Association

In general, records or transcripts must be issued by the school and include the school’s stamp or embossed seal and the signature of the authorizing official. For more detailed information on acceptable documents, please review the Graduate Admissions website.

Overview & Timeline

September - November

  • Applications are available in early September. Check the UC Berkeley Graduate Admissions website for the exact date.
  • Begin drafting your Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement.
  • Request letters of recommendation.
  • Select/publish your three best journalistic work samples.
  • Obtain an official copy of your transcripts.
  • Polish your resume.
  • Take necessary language proficiency exams (international students only, the suggested minimum TOEFL score is 105 and suggested minimum IELTS score is 7.5. However, all completed applications are reviewed even if you score below the minimum.)
  • Application deadline:
    All components of the online application need to be submitted by the application deadline. Late applications will not be accepted. Urge recommenders to submit their letters of recommendation by this time.

December - February

Interviews and writing tests may be conducted.

February - March

All applicants are notified of their admission status and financial aid package.

March - April

Spring Welcome Visit for all newly admitted students. Spring Welcome Visit is an all-school event designed to give newly admitted candidates a foretaste of life as a Berkeley J-School student.

April

All admitted applicants must accept or reject their admission offer by April 15.

August

Classes begin in late August.