Degree Requirements

The Master of Journalism (M.J.) degree at Berkeley requires completion of at least 36 semester units of coursework and a satisfactory Master’s project. A minimum of 24 of those units must be earned from coursework in the Graduate School of Journalism. All students are expected to graduate in four consecutive semesters. In the course list below, the reference to semesters indicate the terms when the courses should be taken.


Required Courses

5 units Journalism 200 Reporting the News (first semester)
3 units Journalism 211 Reporting the News Lab (first semester)
1 unit Journalism 209 Multimedia Bootcamp (first semester)
1 unit Journalism 219 Print Bootcamp (first semester)
3 units Journalism 282 Introduction to Visual Journalism (first semester)
3 units Journalism 255 Law and Ethics (third semester)
2 units Journalism 297 Reporting Internship (300 supervised hours)
2 units Journalism 294 Master's Project Seminar (1 unit in 3rd semester; 1 unit in 4th semester)
Additional Required Courses for New Media, Video Reporting and Storytelling and Documentary


New Media

2 units Journalism 222 Interactive Narratives: Future Storyforms (second semester)
3 units Journalism 216 New Media Master's Project Workshop (third and fourth semester)
Then, select at least one or more for second semester:

3 units Journalism 220 Introduction to Coding Interactives
3 units Journalism 221 Reporting with Data
5 units Journalism283 Video Reporting and Storytelling


Video Reporting and Storytelling

5 units Journalism 283 Video Reporting and Storytelling (second semester)
1 unit Journalism 219 Picture and Sound (third semester)
4 units Journalism 285 Longform Video Reporting and Storytelling (third and fourth semesters)



5 units Journalism 283 Video Reporting and Storytelling (second semester)
3 units Journalism 286 History of Documentary (second semester)
1 unit Journalism 219 Picture and Sound (third semester)
1 unit Journalism 219 Videography (third semester) (elective)
4 units Journalism 284 Documentary Production (third and fourth semesters)


Additional Requirements

1. One advanced reporting course is required for each semester after the first semester.

2. Two units from the J297 Reporting Internship can count toward the 36-unit requirement. That means 34 of 36 units required for the M.J. degree must be from coursework.

3. Submission of an approved Master’s project with all valid signatures is required by the announced deadline.

4. Twelve units per semester are the minimum required for all U.C. Berkeley graduate students. Maximum units per semester are 14.5. The student's adviser, head graduate adviser or the Dean can approve unit loads beyond 14.5.

5. All courses must be taken at Berkeley; credits from other institutions are not transferable.

6. Students may take up to four units of J601 Master’s Study each semester without approval. Approval is required for more than four units of J601 Master’s Study in a single semester. J601 Master’s Study units do not count toward the 36-unit degree requirement.

7. All required Graduate Division paperwork must be submitted by the announced deadline.

8. All required classes must be taken for letter grades except for the J297 Reporting Internship. Only one-third of total UC Master’s degree credits can be S grades.

9. Up to 12 of the required 36 units for the M.J. degree can be from other departments at U.C. Berkeley. Graduate-level courses (numbered 200-299) and upper-division undergraduate courses (numbered 100-199) are acceptable.

10. Concurrent-degree students may have additional or modified requirements and should confirm what those requirements are with a School student affairs officer.

Information subject to change.

Archive: Class of 2018


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 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.

What GPA is required in order to be considered for admission?

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.

What transcripts are required?

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.

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?

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.

Does the Journalism School accept transfer credit from other institutions?


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.