Coursework & Degree Requirements
Information subject to change.
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.
3 units Journalism 200 Reporting the News
3 units Journalism 211 Reporting the News Lab
2 units Journalism 298 Reading and Review
1.5 units Journalism 255 Ethics
1.5 units Journalism 256 Law
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
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 review and approval 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. The maximum count of J601 units that can be taken are 12 units.
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.
The first semester coursework is designed to immerse students in challenging, fast-paced reporting in multiple platforms, on tight deadline and in many different kinds of situations. Learning outcomes for all first-year students will include the basic knowledge of digital storytelling techniques as well as the use of multimedia equipment and editing software to produce multimedia content.
First semester courses are set for the student and include:
J200/J211 Reporting the News and News Lab
J215 Web Skills
J298 Public Records/Data Journalism
To increase the proficiencies of all our students in communicating through pictures and sound, incoming students are also required to take video training classes in their first semester.
J282 Introduction to Visual Journalism
Second, Third and Fourth Semesters
During their second, third and fourth semesters, students pursue coursework in their primary media platform alongside courses in other media platforms and reporting interests.
During the summer between the first and second year of study, the student will complete 300 hours of supervised journalism. Internships are typically completed at a range of media outlets in all media platforms. Recent internships for our students include: Al Jazeera America, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, PBS NewsHour, Phnom, Penh Post, The Oregonian, Time Asia, Reuters, Alaska Public Radio, KQED in San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle, Univision Investigative Unit, Center for Investigative Reporting, National Public Radio.
While the J-School faculty believes that the best internship experience happens in a workplace where journalism is being practiced, alternative routes to successfully completing the internship requirement are on occasion approved if the student already has extensive news reporting experience. An application process for alternative internships is made available during the student’s second semester.
The master’s project is work of original reporting completed during the second year of study under close supervision of a faculty adviser. It can take many forms and allows for students to experiment within the following media platforms or combination of platforms:
Projects are single half hour films, conceived, written, directed, shot, and edited by students, using our HD video equipment and facilities. They must be at once bold, original, and aimed at a wide general audience. While some documentaries involve extensive travel, use of archive material, and complex production, others are produced with simple clarity close to home. We have few restrictions on style, subject, or genre, but all projects must be resolutely documentary in nature, journalistically sound, and suitable for broadcast to a large nationwide primetime audience on commercial, public, or cable television, or via digital distribution.
The project requires one piece or series of pieces totaling, 3,500 to 5,000 words in length, it should be publishable quality, and based on extensive reporting and interviews.
The project requires the creation of a website or other digital product that utilizes various media forms such as video, audio, text, photographs, graphics, interactive databases, data visualizations, mobile applications, social media and animated graphics. The project can be a multimedia story that has multiple segments tied together with an intuitive navigation scheme and compelling overall design; a continuously published news site or blog featuring original and curated content, or a prototype for a new concept or innovative idea related to digital journalism.
Photography (or Photojournalism)
The project requires the initial production of 30 to 45 original documentary images of formal exhibition quality. The final production should include a bound booklet of 11-14 prints, either digital or silver, with a cover image, title page, and photographs sequenced with explanatory or essay text.
Project requires at least 29 minutes of programming on one topic and can be either one piece or a series of programs on significant topics.
The project requires the production of three well reported long form video stories of 6 to 12 minutes in length, or the equivalent: One magazine length (6- 12 minutes) story and one longer piece (15-22 minutes); a series of shorter 2-5 minute stories; the design and construction of a Web platform for student video in addition to one or more video stories.