Study at the J-School
The application is available now through the Berkeley Graduate Division website.
Admission to UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism is highly competitive. We typically receive between 250 and 350 applications each fall for the 60 places that will be available the next year. Our faculty admissions committee pays particular attention to work samples, letters of recommendation, personal essays, interviews, and writing tests, as well as to undergraduate transcripts.
We favor applicants who demonstrate an aptitude for reporting and a flair for story-telling in the demanding, rigorous and technologically sophisticated world of contemporary journalism. The most important attribute a candidate can have is a dogged determination to pursue stories of public significance, report them thoroughly, and get them right.
Students will have ample opportunity to develop proficiencies across media once they get here. What we look for on their applications are the predispositions that dedicated reporting requires: passion, values, civic commitment, and imaginative approaches to unearthing and explaining contemporary realities for the benefit of the public.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
No specific prerequisite coursework is required beyond the successful completion of your bachelor's degree.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Undergraduates may enroll in the Summer Minor Program. However, we do not offer graduate-level courses during the summer.
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 visit Berkeley AMI which offers workshops and custom training programs for mid-career journalists.
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.