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.

J-SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

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December 1st at 8:59 pm PST
Application available now.

J-SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

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 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?

UC Berkeley requires that all US Citizens who apply to graduate programs have an Advanced GPA of at least 3.0. An Advanced GPA is all grades received after your first two years of college-level course work. This grade calculator from the Graduate School of Education can help you calculate your Advanced GPA. Your Advanced GPA is required to submit the application, however we do not require a GPA calculation worksheet. If your grade is not based on a 4-point scale, as is the case for most international students, please enter your undergraduate cumulative GPA, as determined by your institution.

 

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?

Applicants should have a BA or BS from an accredited institution. Applicants must submit transcripts for ALL college-level course work. 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.

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.

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?

Your three work samples as a whole should highlight your ability as a reporter and storyteller. Please keep in mind that the Admissions Committee is looking for evidence that you have basic reporting skills, which include story identification, thorough background research, fact checking, cultivating appropriate sources and quoting them directly, and storytelling abilities.

Work samples can be unpublished and they can be in any format: print, video, or audio pieces, 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.

Work samples can be uploaded as PDFs, image or audio files, or submitted as URLs. 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.

International applicants can send work samples in another language, so long as an English translation, by the applicant, is provided.

Does the Journalism School accept transfer credit from other institutions?

No.

Does the Journalism School offer summer classes?

Undergraduates may enroll in the Summer Minor Program.  However, we do not offer graduate-level courses during the summer.

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 visit Berkeley AMI which offers workshops and custom training programs for mid-career journalists.

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.

Will it help me to submit more than 3 letters of recommendation?

No. Please ask your three best recommenders to submit letters on your behalf. The admissions committee will not review more than three letters per applicant.

When do the letters of recommendation need to be submitted?

Your recommenders will be able to submit their letters after the December 1st deadline. However, please urge your recommenders to submit their letters as close to the deadline as possible so that we have them by the time your application is reviewed.

What if my recommender doesn't have a corporate email address?

If your recommender does not have a work or corporate email address, using a personal email address (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) will be fine.

Why are their two sections in the application for me to submit work samples?

You only need to submit your work samples one time. The Journalism Program section allows you to submit work samples as PDFs or URLs. The Audio/Visual Uploads section allows you to submit audio and video files. The type of file or link you choose to submit is up to you, we have no preference.

Do I fill out my employment history as well as submit a resume?

Yes. Please fill out the Employment section as well as upload a resume on the Supporting Materials section. No other materials are required for the Supporting Materials section besides the resume.

Will I automatically be considered for funding?

Yes, all applicants are automatically considered for need-based and merit-based funding. All applicants will receive their admissions notice in February. If you are admitted into the school, you will also receive an email around the same time with information on your financial aid package. We also encourage all applicants to apply for outside funding at the same time they apply to graduate school.

What is the time commitment and can I work while going to school?

This is an intensive full-time professional graduate program. It is basically impossible to work full time while in the program. It is hard to work at all during your first semester. After the first semester, the course schedule becomes a bit more flexible and it is possible to work part time. Some of our students freelance, some work on campus as Graduate Student Instructors, and some find other types of part-time employment. The Berkeley Advanced Media Institute and the summer journalism minor will sometimes hire our students to help with their courses. The J-School offers about 15 merit fellowships to second-year students, which you can apply for towards the end of your first year. These are some of the ways our students earn money while attending school, but none of these is guaranteed and you must apply for all of them.