*When completing your application, make sure to read over the specific information below, and to include the requested information in your essays and application materials.*
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 for all college-level coursework after the first two years, for US Citizens. For international students, a 3.0 GPA is required for all college-level coursework.
The most important thing is that applicants demonstrate both a passion for reporting and a basic reporting skill set. Most of our students have between two and five years of professional work experience in journalism. Most of our students coming in straight from undergraduate programs have a combination of reporting experiences, including internships, jobs and school papers. The entirety of your application should reflect your earnest desire, capacity and aptitude to succeed in a career in journalism.
- Bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or equivalent
- Demonstrated aptitude for news reporting and/or nonfiction narrative writing
- Completed online application submitted by the application deadline
Overview and 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.
All admitted applicants must accept or reject their admission offer by April 15.
Classes begin in late August.
Key Components of the Application
- Statement of Purpose (no more than 500 words)
- Personal History Statement (no more than 500 words)
- Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Journalistic Work Samples (3)
- Required Tests
- Interviews and Writing Test
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.
Parts of the Application:
Statement of Purpose (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.
Personal History Statement (no more than 500 words):
Make sure to address the following two topics in your Personal History Statement:
- 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.
- 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.
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. 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.
Journalistic Work Samples (3):
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 written 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 unpublished. 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.
- Cumulative undergraduate GPA: This will be listed on your transcript.
- 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.
- 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.
We do not require the GRE.
All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. 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. If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution. Click here for more information on how to apply for a TOEFL/IELTS exemption, but please note that our department minimum scores are higher than the University's.
Interviews and Writing Test:
You may be required to complete an interview and/or writing test. Interviews are usually done in person with an alumnus in your area. If an in-person interview is not possible, a video or phone interview can be scheduled.
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, which runs through February. 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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Re-applicants must submit new online applications and fees. Updated test scores and new letters of recommendation should be submitted with your new online application.
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.
Concurrent Degree Applicants
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. Candidates should be sure they are ready to undertake both demanding programs in a condensed time period before they select this option. 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.
Visit our Concurrent Degree page for more information.
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 or translations/captions need to be submitted along with non-English work samples.
All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. 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.
If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution. Click here for more information on how to apply for a TOEFL/IELTS exemption, but please note that our department minimum scores are higher than the University's.
Please refer to the Graduate Admissions page for more information on admissions requirements for international students, but please note that our department minimum scores for TOEFL/IELTS are higher than the University's. For specific questions on eligibility, please contact Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please check out the resources at the Berkeley International Office website.
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.
TOEFL and Transcripts
International students must demonstrate language proficiency through either the TOEFL or IELTS test. 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. All classes at the school are conducted in English. Please review the Graduate Division website for more details about the TOEFL / IELTS tests.