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College of Creative Arts and Media: Reed School of Media and Communications

Journalism, MSJ

WVU’s Master of Science in Journalism program provides you with an advanced understanding of media disciplines, preparing you for careers in the industry or academia.

You may choose an Area of Emphasis (AOE) in Advocacy and Public Interest Communication, Digital Publishing, Media Solutions and Innovation, Reporting and Writing, Television or Visual Journalism.

Students have the opportunity to work with faculty on research projects and to participate in and help lead web-based, immersion journalism projects, such as 100 Days in Appalachia.

Your Degree Plan

Intro

The MSJ program will provide you with an advanced understanding of media disciplines, preparing you for careers in the industry or academia.

To graduate from WVU with a Master of Science in Journalism (MSJ) degree, you must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of acceptable course credit. Students may take up to six credit hours toward their thesis or professional project. The full-time course load for MSJ students is nine credit hours per semester. Typically, students complete their degrees in two years or less.

All MSJ students must successfully complete the following courses in this sequence:

  • JRL 600 Introduction to Graduate Studies (1 hr)
  • JRL 604 Mass Media and Society (3 hrs)
  • JRL 620 Advanced Journalistic Writing and Research (3 hrs)
  • JRL 689 Graduate Ethics Seminar (3 hrs)

Nine additional credit hours should be taken in the Reed School of Media and Communications; students may choose to pursue one of the optional Areas of Emphasis. All remaining credit hours should be taken outside of the School. Students should note that the majority of credits submitted for the degree must be in courses numbered 500 or above.

Coursework must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. The thesis and professional project are graded as S or U (satisfactory or unsatisfactory).

Except for thesis, professional project and internship credit hours, no student will be permitted to take a course on a pass-fail or satisfactory-unsatisfactory grade basis without prior approval of the director of graduate studies.

Tailor this major to your interests by focusing your coursework in one of these areas:

  • Advocacy and Public Interest Communications

    Choose three of the following course options: Interactive Media and Audience Building, Advocacy Communication, Crisis Communication, Audience Development/Engagement or Public Interest Communication

  • Digital Publishing

    Choose three of the following course options: Interactive Marketing Communications, Experimental Journalism, Multimedia Storytelling, Visual Storytelling for the Media, Data Journalism for a Better Story, Ethics in an AI Society, Digital Publication, Social Media Video or Multimedia News Publication

  • Media Solutions and Innovation

    Choose three of the following course options: Interactive Marketing Communications, Experimental Journalism, Multimedia Storytelling, Visual Storytelling for the Media, Interactive Media and Audience Building, Data Journalism for a Better Story, Ethics in an AI Society, Audience Development/Engagement or Multimedia News Publication

  • Reporting and Writing

    Choose three of the following course options: Investigative Reporting, Adventure Travel Writing and Photography, Sport Journalism, Science/Health Journalism or Nonfiction Storytelling

  • Television

    Choose three of the following course options: Live Sports Video Production, Digital Publication, Social Media Video, Advanced Video Reporting and Producing, Multimedia News Publication or Audience Development/Engagement

  • Visual Journalism

    Choose three of the following course options: Multimedia Storytelling, Visual Storytelling for the Media, International Media, Interactive Media and Audience Building, Digital Publication, Social Media Video, Advanced Video Reporting and Producing or Multimedia News Publication

Tailor this major to your interests by focusing your coursework in one of these areas:

  • Teaching/Research

    The teaching/research track is generally a program for those who wish to pursue a PhD, to teach at the college/university level and to conduct research in areas of mass communications.

    Students in this track normally take research and theory courses both inside and outside the Reed School of Media and Communications, as well as social science courses. The program culminates in a thesis, which is a scholarly theoretical study of an important aspect of mass communications.

  • Professional

    The professional track is designed primarily for those who wish to become excellent practitioners in some field of media and communications and who have less desire to teach or to become researchers. Students in the professional track normally take courses that will help them to become better practitioners.

    The program culminates in a professional project, which helps a student to extend their practical and theoretical knowledge about a given aspect of media and communications and should be a non-routine project on which the student could work as a professional.

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

  • Accelerated Program

    Journalism offers the option to earn a bachelor's and master's degree in an accelerated time frame.

    Accelerated Program Details
  • Honors

    Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

    Explore Honors

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • Merit-based graduate assistantships are available to teach laboratories and assist professors with their courses and research.
  • Student organizations offer opportunities to engage in University activities and connect with other students and professionals nationwide.
  • Through the 4+1 program, top-performing undergraduate students may enter the MSJ program in their senior year.

Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

All students in the Master of Science in Journalism (MSJ) degree program must complete a thesis or professional project involving original work in the student’s area of interest.

Students in the teaching-research track normally take research and theory courses both inside and outside of the Reed School of Media and Communications, statistics and social science courses. The student’s program culminates in a thesis, which is a scholarly study of an important aspect of mass communication.

Students in the professional track typically take communication and outside area courses that will help them become better practitioners. Each student eventually researches and writes a professional project, which helps them expand knowledge about a given aspect of mass communication and is a large-scale project on which the student might work as a professional.

There are many steps to writing a thesis or producing a professional project. Students should review the Thesis/Professional Project Process documentation for complete details. Each student must select a Graduate Committee Chair, who will provide guidance on developing the initial idea into a preliminary thesis or professional project proposal. Once the proposal is complete, each student must assemble a Graduate Committee, the governing body of the student’s thesis or project.

Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

MSJ → PhD

Since the MSJ program was launched in 1961, a number of our graduates have earned doctoral degrees. Some have come home to teach at WVU, and others have gone on to make an impact on the future of the industry at institutions across the world, including:

  • Boise State University
  • DePaul University
  • Michigan State University
  • Ohio University
  • University of Hartford

Places and Spaces

Learn about all of the places and spaces you'll learn in.

Featurette - Media Innovation Center - 37654 S MSS 0008 XX

Media Innovation Center

The Media Innovation Center is an open-door, cross-discipline media space that provides the latest digital and interactive tools to develop original, story-based, digital media experiences. Our co-innovation philosophy and embrace of innovation for social change leads our belief that every community should have the access, tools and skills to shape its own story, identity and future.

Explore the Media Innovation Center
  • Virtual Tour
    It's the next-best thing to being here – you can virtually tour residence halls and the WVU Morgantown Campus.
  • Student Life
    You will have it all here — epic traditions, quality academics and a supportive community that feels like home.
  • Visit
    Experience WVU in person and start imagining life as a Mountaineer!

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission into a graduate program at WVU an applicant must submit official, bachelor's degree transcripts from a regionally accredited institution and hold a GPA of at least 2.75. WVU operates decentralized admissions. Decentralized admissions allows each graduate program to set its own application requirements in addition to the University requirements.

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Learn how to join the WVU family.

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