Online Master’s in Journalism

By Derick de Souza

Updated March 15, 2024

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Journalists are professionals who write features and news stories, proofread, research, file articles, and more. The master’s in journalism online helps students to advance their knowledge of the field by equipping them with the latest technical know-how in digital and traditional media applications, thus keeping them up to date with the fast-paced world of converging journalism and media today. An online master’s in journalism provides an understanding of how work is published in various professional media outlets, leading to advanced leadership roles with opportunities for a higher salary.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects around 4,900 openings for news analysts, journalists, and reporters annually, on average, over the decade 2021-2031[1].  Upon graduating, students can take up roles such as social media manager, editor, media producer, advertising and public relations specialist, press secretary, and more. 

Online Master's in Journalism

Find the Best Online Master’s in
Journalism Programs

A good university must be accredited, have experienced faculty, a solid reputation, excellent teaching and research facilities, and be affordable. The Find Best Degrees team evaluated many journalism master’s programs and colleges offering them across the country, and using a unique ranking methodology, below is a  list of institutions with the best online master’s in journalism degrees: * 

Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
Harvard University Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 $52,456 97%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from an Online Master’s
Degree in Journalism

A journalism degree involves studying the values and skills one needs to develop, interpret, and report the news. The online master’s in journalism can be pursued online, offline, or through hybrid learning modes. It allows students to become proficient reporters and storytellers with expertise in editing, writing, media analytics, in-depth knowledge, and more. The program equips them with the skills to pursue diverse careers or further doctoral studies. A journalism master’s program offers specializations like media management, health communication, interactive media, etc. The degree leads to careers such as reporters, media analysts, managers, storytellers, content writers, and editors, among others.

Curriculum and

Those pursuing a master’s journalism online are generally provided with a comprehensive curriculum that involves taking courses in writing, research, and communication-oriented subjects. Most colleges have courses in media technology that orients students to a more innovative digital environment, which is widely prevalent today. The courses focus on developing specifics like writing, critical reading, research, and investigation. Even though the coursework would differ from institution to institution, some of the standard core courses one finds across different journalism master’s programs are:

Journalism and Communication Study

This course helps students understand how the theories of journalism are used to realize various news that spreads easily. From an academic point of view, communication studies look at reasoning and arguing, persuasion, rhetoric, etc., to know how to target a person’s emotions or the larger audience to convince them to subscribe to a specific message or product. 

Media Research and Analysis

This course involves interpretation, critique, and examination of the structure, composition, and operation, as well as the different channels of communication that either control or own these media. Students learn to understand quantitative and qualitative forms of media analysis and draw on narratives, along with the weaknesses and strengths of both these types of research. 

Communication or Journalism Technology Tools

This course includes exploring how technology is currently used in Journalism and its role in shaping media today. One understands the relationship between technology, society, and culture, emphasizing emerging media. It involves learning about essential communication and collaboration tools needed to work in the field. 

News Reporting and Writing

This course enhances professional journalistic practices in storytelling and news reporting, keeping in mind today’s digital media environment. Students understand how to evaluate, research, gather research, write, and edit for multiple media platforms. The course often includes a requirement to work in a multimedia production lab. 

Feature Writing

This course teaches various writing styles and techniques required for feature essays, editorials, blogs, writing, and in-depth stories in health, religion, national and international affairs, businesses, politics, entertainment, etc. It involves the requirement of a news production lab. 

Some of the other standard courses one can find in an online journalism master’s degree include:

  • Multimedia Reporting and Mobile Field Production
  • Community, Citizen, and Civic Journalism
  • Journalistic Judgments and Sociology of News
  • Media Audiences and Content Strategy
  • Journalism and Mass Communication Research Methods
  • Applied Research in Journalism
  • Creative Project
  • Issues in Media Law and Ethics
  • Emerging Media and Design Thinking
  • Social Media and Internet Marketing
  • Story, Popular Culture, and Worldview

Many online degrees also require students to complete a capstone project by drawing on the skills and knowledge gained from previous coursework to design comprehensive projects related to their study.

To understand more about a master’s program, read the Guide to Master’s Programs.

Learning Outcomes and
Skills Gained

The journalism master’s program helps students keep up with recent trends in journalism and understand how to work in multiplatform journalism domains. Studies in this program will also learn various laws and ethics-based topics relating to communication and understanding concepts like intellectual property rights, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, etc., that can be directly applied to their professional practice. The advanced knowledge and skills that the degree imparts to students benefit their careers. They are regarded as highly valued professionals as they show many skills learned from their master’s, like the ability to:

  • demonstrate valuable knowledge and understanding of technologies that are most important for reporters working in the field;
  • demonstrate efficient communication and build rapport with fellow professionals and laypersons when working collaboratively as a team;
  • pursue a story, find a new perspective, and ethically investigate facts befitting the profession;
  • professionally critique the writing of others and provide valuable feedback to improve or edit reports;
  • pitch oneself effectively to others and gain the confidence of the audience to establish oneself as a credible professional;
  • demonstrate knowledge about broad areas from politics to data science, and show an open mind to acquire new information; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of various digital media tools, and scrutinize the upcoming trends of digital platforms of news.

Types of Degrees
Students Can Obtain

There are generally two types of online journalism master’s degrees available to students in the United States: a Master of Arts or MA Journalism and a Master of Science or MS Journalism.

Master of Arts in Journalism

The Master of Arts in Journalism or MA in Journalism is a more popular degree and emphasizes a multimedia, convergent approach to news reporting and storytelling. Students learn about complex news stories, which increases their understanding of major public events across various platforms like multimedia, broadcast, and print. It is provided online, on-campus, and in hybrid formats and culminates with a capstone and internships. 

Master of Science in Journalism

The Master of Science in Journalism or MS in Journalism helps expand students’ practical skills and knowledge in a specialized area of journalism and the media industry. It is a two-year program that provides a comprehensive set of technological tools to prepare for the workforce. This degree is ideal for those seeking new skills and even for professionals from nonmedia fields who want to make a career change. 

Areas of Specialization for
Journalism Students

Specializations dive deeper into a particular aspect of a subject. Specializing in one area of journalism can lead to niche jobs and better pay. Some concentrations available in a master’s degree in journalism online are:

Area of SpecializationDescriptionCareer Options
News Reporting and Editing This concentration helps students get a foundation and ability to focus on forms of editing and reporting. The study topics included in this specialty are writing, video recording, graphic design, communication law, ethics, and photography, which present helpful news to different audiences. News copy editor, broadcast journalist, news producer, news reporter, news editor, freelance writer, photojournalist, magazine feature editor, and political risk analyst
Public RelationsThis concentration is ideal for those who want to understand branding communication and public relations. Students learn about applying the concepts of journalism in real-time situations. The specialization also covers aspects of media monitoring and press relations.Journalist or copywriter in organizations related to branding, media planning, event management, advertising and market research, and corporate communications
Sports JournalismThis specialization introduces students to writing and editing, ethics, video and audio production, and news reporting, specifically to sports. They learn sports history in the United States and contemporary issues in sports management.Sports journalist in newspapers, media productions, broadcast media, public relations and communications, marketing, advertisements, etc.
Digital Content/MediaThe specialization helps ensure students are adept in digital editing, production, social media management, and editing. One learns about the theory and practice of media studies and the latest in digital media innovations.Web content manager, ad copywriter, digital content writer
Creative WritingThis concentration helps students understand critical elements to develop writing, editing, multimedia storytelling, research, and interviewing skills. It covers various aspects of creative writing genres like narrative essays, memoirs, and short stories.Authors, bloggers, children’s writers, critics, communications consultants 

Full-Time and Part-Time

As with most educational degrees, the time required to obtain a journalism master’s degree would depend on the student’s availability and ability to complete the program’s coursework and fulfill other requirements. On average, it takes about two years to complete a master’s in journalism if pursued full-time; part-timers may require three to four years. Here is a quick summary of the timeline to complete the online journalism master’s:

  • Full-time online master’s in journalism: about two years
  • Part-time online master’s in journalism: three to four years
  • Credits required for an online master’s in journalism: between 36 and 45

Accelerated Journalism

For students who want to spend less time in school, accelerated degree programs are an excellent choice. An accelerated master’s in Journalism helps complete the degree in less than the usual two years. Students can fast-track their studies by taking on a heavier courseload or opt for an integrated bachelor’s and master’s degree, requiring 4+1 years instead of 4+2. New York University and Northwestern Medill are among the universities that offer accelerated online master’s in journalism programs.  

Requirements for Getting into a Master’s
in Journalism Online Program

To enroll in an online master’s in Journalism degree, applicants are usually required to hold an undergraduate degree, preferably in journalism or a related discipline. Still, most schools accept students with bachelor’s degrees from fields other than journalism. While each university has its own admissions criteria, here are some standard admission requirements for a master’s in journalism online:

  • Application form and prescribed fee
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (typically required)
  • 2 or 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement
  • Pre-requisite coursework like writing, reading, or other courses (often preferred)
  • Professional experience in fields of communication or journalism (often preferred)

No GRE Online Master’s in
Journalism Programs

Most universities require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores to enroll students into their master’s programs. The GRE score demonstrates a student’s academic caliber and ability to study and research independently. In recent times, many institutions are forgoing the GRE requirement entirely or making it optional for students to submit their scores while applying. New York University, Missouri School of Journalism, and Regent University are examples of universities offering online journalism master’s degree no GRE programs. 

How to Ensure a Master’s in Journalism
Online Program Is Accredited

Accreditation is an important part of higher education. It guarantees students and future employers that the quality of education or the program meets or exceeds the standards set by a competent accrediting body. The official Council for Higher Education Accreditation and Department of Education websites allow students to check an institution’s accreditation status. 

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) accredits master’s in journalism online programs at universities in the United States.  Additionally, institutions are usually accredited by one of six regional accreditation bodies:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

To know more about accreditation and its importance, read the guide to college accreditation.

Where to Find Free Online Courses for Journalism
Master’s Students

Many students seek free courses to help them improve their skills and better understand their subject. Although free journalism courses and tools are not accredited or recognized by academic institutions, they can assist students with assignments and provide additional insights. Many of these courses cover topics like journalism’s evolution, challenges faced in the field, etc. Here are a few examples of free journalism courses:

CourseDescriptionProvided by

Data Journalism and Media Standards

This course explores the main concepts for understanding data usage in journalism and describes how to access and request data. One can summarize the different obstacles in using data and outline the responsibilities of a free society and press. The course also outlines how to go about investigative journalism according to international standards.  
Visualization for Data JournalismIn this course, one learns about the visual display of quantitative information, articulating errors, and identifying deception in data visualization. Learners also understand the process of transforming data into meaningful information. Coursera
Fake News, Facts, and Alternative FactsThrough this course, one learns to distinguish between news and other formats of information. It also helps candidates evaluate credible information chains and examine news stories from many angles. Learners understand many logical fallacies influencing our interpretation of information. Edx

Ways to Pay for a Master’s
in Journalism Online

With rising tuition costs and mounting educational expenses, paying for college has become increasingly difficult. Fortunately, online journalism master’s degree students can fund their education and obtain external financial aid from a variety of sources, including:


Scholarships are financial awards given to students based on their academic performance. They are frequently awarded to deserving students by federal and state governments, colleges and universities, charities, for-profit organizations, community groups, and individuals.


Grants are similar to scholarships in that they are awarded based on an applicant’s financial need rather than merit. Tuition and other educational expenses can be covered with grant funds.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate students can choose to work as graduate assistants or research assistants to assist professors with academic work or research. In both cases, they are compensated with a stipend or a fee reduction in exchange for their efforts.

Student Loans

Several banks and financial institutions make loans available to those who do not qualify for federal assistance. Loans have interest and, if not repaid on time, can lead to debt.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a form that students can use to see if they are eligible for federal financial aid and other types of funding. Read the FAFSA guide to learn more about FAFSA.

Another way to apply for monetary assistance is through the College Scholarship Service Profile.

Scholarships for Master’s in
Journalism Students

Scholarships are given to deserving applicants who want to pursue journalism and mass communications careers. Students can apply for one or more scholarships to help pay for tuition, thereby reducing their financial burden. Some online master’s in journalism scholarships students can apply for are:

Scholarship Description Amount/AwardApplication Deadline
ACES ScholarshipThis scholarship is awarded to applicants who aspire to work with news in journalism and demonstrate passion and talent for language. They must commit to editing written materials and demonstrate effectiveness in engaging writing. $3,500, along with the opportunity to attend a national conferenceTBA in the summer
2023 Dennis and Shirley Feldman FellowshipThis scholarship recognizes students pursuing graduate studies in journalism and gives a one-time award that covers the postgraduate tuition costs. Applicants must already be enrolled or applying for admission to an accredited master’s degree in journalism. $5,000April 15
Wes Vernon Broadcast Scholarship and ApplicationThis scholarship aims to create more diversity within the domain of broadcast journalism. The award can be renewed for three years, and more than $20,000 in total educational expenses can be covered. It is open to students at any stage of their academic or professional journey in journalism. $5,000 annuallyFebruary 15

Career Opportunities and Salaries
After Graduating

The American Journalist conducted a survey showing that job satisfaction in journalism increased from 23.3% in 2013 to 28.9% in 2022[2]. This demonstrates that journalism careers can be rich and rewarding. One can take up diverse roles after the online master’s in journalism degree, such as:

  • Reporter
  • Photojournalist
  • Videographer
  • Data Research Analyst
  • Content Manager
  • Copywriter
  • Editor
  • Investigative Journalist
  • Sports Journalist
  • Social Media Expert
  • Digital Marketing Content Creator

Here is a closer look at some careers an online master’s in journalism can lead to:

Occupation Job Description Skills RequiredMedian Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2031)
News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists[3]News analysts, reporters, and journalists research topics that have been assigned to them. They develop relationships with contacts and experts who can provide leads and tips on the articles they have worked on and analyze and interpret that information.Communication skills, interpersonal skills, technological skills, persistence, stamina$48,370-9% (decline)
Technical Writers[4]Technical writers determine the user’s need for technical documentation. They often create graphical representations like diagrams to show users how different products work. They work with technical staff to make instructions and products more accessible.Critical-thinking skills, writing skills, technical skills, detail-oriented, teamwork, imagination$78,0606% (as fast as average)
Editors[5]Editors read content and correct punctuation, grammatical, and spelling errors and then rewrite texts that to make them more readable, enjoyable, and accessible for readers to comprehend. They also develop content and story ideas according to editorial policies and publication styles.Creativity, detail-oriented, interpersonal skills, writing skills, good judgment$63,350-5% (decline)
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers[6]Public relations and fundraising managers help develop organizations’ or individuals’ identities and images. They also help identify their target audience and determine the best way to reach out to them.

Interpersonal skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, problem-solving skills, speaking skills, writing skills 
$119,8608% (faster than average)
Public Relations Specialists[7]Public relations specialists write press releases, prepare different data for the media, and respond to requests. They also help clients communicate efficiently with the public by evaluating promotion programs and advertising strategies.Interpersonal skills, organizational skills, problem-solving skills, writing skills, speaking skills$62,8008% (faster than average)
Writers and Authors[8]Writers and authors choose appealing subjects for readers and write biographies, fiction or nonfiction scripts, and other pieces. They also write advertising copy for broadcasts, the internet, magazine, and newspapers while working with editors or clients to refine materials for publication.Adaptability, creativity, determination, persuasion, social perceptiveness, critical-thinking skills, writing skills$69,5104% (as fast as average)

Certifications and Licensing for Online Master’s
Students in Journalism

Although it is not mandatory for graduates of journalism master’s degrees to obtain certifications, professional certifications demonstrate competency or knowledge in a specific skill and area. Therefore, getting one increases an individual’s chances of better career prospects and pay. Here are a few professional certifications to explore:

Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC)

The CPTC certification is given through the Society for Technical Communication. It is a three-tiered professional certification providing foundation, practitioner, and expert knowledge. It demonstrates to employers that one understands and knows some of the best practices in technical communication and can apply them in the field.

Advancing Your Communication Strategy in DE&I Certificate

This certification can build an individual’s professional development and give them a strategic understanding of communication planning, advancing equity, inclusion, and diversity issues in their profession and workplaces. It helps in enhancing effective public relationship outcomes. 

Content Marketing Certificate Program

This certification enables professionals to transition from traditional communicators to legitimate content marketing experts. It teaches how to strategically create and align a content marketing plan with relevant business goals. 

There is no mandated licensing requirement for becoming a Journalist in the USA. In the U.S., freedom of the press keeps states from regulating journalists. A bachelor’s degree is a basic necessity to start a career in journalism.

Additional Resources for Master’s
Students in Journalism Degree

A master’s degree in journalism online equips students with adequate knowledge of and skills in journalism; however, it is prudent to use additional resources to gain broader perspectives and deeper insights. To that end, tapping into the many resources professional organizations offer will go a long way in ensuring that one is up to date with the latest in journalism. Here are some key organizations to explore:

Title/Resource Job Description
Society of Professional JournalistsThis national organization recognizes the achievements of journalists and the practices of various media organizations through its award programs. They also educate journalists on the best skills, innovations, and techniques and create products and services that promote ethical practices in journalists.
The National Press ClubThis organization helps members study, work, or participate in activities that help them produce, create, or distribute news or other content. The members of this organization include public relations professionals, writers and authors, students and educators, journalists and media professionals, and more; therefore, gaining membership will help expand one’s professional network.
News Leaders AssociationThis organization aims to increase the quality of professional journalism by supporting the first amendment by keeping its members informed of any legislative and legal developments. They also initiate educational programs about the rights and freedom guaranteed by the first amendment.
American Society of Journalists and AuthorsThis organization helps members learn from accomplished colleagues and industry experts. They allow them to enhance their craft of writing and widen their network by connecting with editors, agents, publishers, and communications managers.
Investigative Reporters and EditorsThis organization provides members access to different reporting tip sheets and other materials through their resource center. They offer specialized training and host conferences worldwide. They create forums through which journalists can share news stories and sources.

FAQs About Online Master’s in
Journalism Programs

Why should you do a master in journalism degree online?

Online programs offer similar benefits as a traditional degree in journalism with the same learning outcomes. In most instances, online and offline programs share the same faculty, but online programs offer more flexibility to working students.

Is a journalism master’s worth it?

What is the advantage of studying journalism?

Do you need an undergraduate degree in journalism to get a master’s degree?

What can I do with a master’s in journalism online degree?

How much does an online master’s degree in journalism cost?

Author Bio:

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.