How To Apply
Preparing your application to the School of Journalism takes time. We urge you to line up the people who will write your letters of recommendation at least a few months in advance. Personal essays and work samples also require careful preparation. The entirety of your application should reflect your earnest desire, capacity and aptitude to succeed in a career in journalism.
Our application system is online and is accessible from September 6 through December 1. To begin an application, you will need to set up a login and password-protected account on the Berkeley Graduate Division Admissions website. Once you've started your account, you can upload your materials (including transcripts, resume, work samples and essays) at any time before midnight on December 1st.
- 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 December 1 at 11:59pm PST
Overview and Timeline
Application available September 6: UC Berkeley Graduate Admissions website
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)
See "Application Instructions" below for detailed instructions for completing each section.
September - November:
- 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.
- Begin working on the online application.
Deadline: December 1:
All components of the online application need to be submitted by December 1 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Urge recommenders to submit their letters of recommendation by this time.
December - February:
Interviews and writing tests are conducted.
Selected candidates will be contacted for interviews. Personal interviews are required to complete the review process and are conducted by J-School alumni in your area. If an in-person interview cannot be scheduled, the interview will be conducted by phone or 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 give newly admitted candidates a foretaste of life as a Berkeley J-School student.
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 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:
Personal information, contact information, educational background, GPA, program interests, foreign language proficiency, financial aid.
Statement of Purpose (no more than 500 words):
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, 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.
Personal History Statement (no more than 500 words):
Please describe how your personal background and experiences shaped your decision to pursue a journalism graduate degree. In this section, you may also include any relevant information on how you overcame 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.
We require a PDF copy of transcripts from the undergraduate institution that 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 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. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Journalistic Work Samples (3):
Work samples can be written pieces, such as news, non-fiction writing, feature writing, profiles, or research papers; video pieces like documentary films or broadcast news reels; radio/audio/podcast pieces; multimedia forms like video, audio, or photo essays/photo portfolio; 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 documents, or submitted online as a URL to the project. If submitting a URL, be sure to include any additional information needed to access the materials online (e.g. if password-protected or behind a paywall). It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure a working link and full accessibility to materials during the review period of the application.
Upload a PDF of your current resume.
Visit the Cost and Financial Aid page for more information about federal grants, loans, and work-study qualification. Be sure all sections of your application are complete before you click the "Submit" button. Be sure you click the "Submit" button by the deadline of December 1 at 11:59 p.m.
Re-applicants must submit new online applications and fees. It is highly recommended that all components of the new application are fresh. Transcripts from your previous application can be used upon request. If you were not admitted when you applied before, the admissions committee will be looking for evidence that your candidacy is stronger this time.
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.
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. All classes at the school are conducted in English. Please review the Graduate Division website for more details about the TOEFL / IELTS tests.
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.