Journalism

Graduate degree in Journalism: Mass Communication 

Key information and application deadlines:

Admission for Spring 2019 is Oct. 31.

Admission for Fall 2019 is May 20, 2019 (rolling admissions means the sooner you apply, the faster you will be given our decision).

For more information, contact the Journalism Department Office, 818-677-3135, or by

The Department of Journalism offers an MA degree in Mass Communication, which trains students in both analysis of the media as well as the production of media content. In both areas, there is an emphasis on media’s role in social change. 

Our graduate faculty come from around the world and have expertise in areas such as immigration and news, citizen journalism, ethnic media, refugee media practices and visual communication.  

What kind of final projects do students produce?

Students can opt to produce media content or they can carry out research projects. Examples of media work include documentaries about robot journalism; immigrants from El Salvador; the rise of activist girls; and Black women’s hair.  Other media project examples include the creation of an app to help schedule group travel and a graphic novel about a refugee-serving institution. Recent research projects include a study of smart city initiatives in Medellín, Colombia, and studies of refugee media practices in Scandinavia. 

What sort of jobs do students get?

We have graduates working as a producer at public radio’s Marketplace, as an editor as Sage Publications, Deutsche Welle news agency in Germany, BBC in London, marketing and public relations in the healthcare and entertainment industries.

Common application questions: 

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in journalism to apply?

While most of our applicants major in a media-related field such as journalism, public relations, communication, cinema/television, etc., we can accept other majors. Consult with the Graduate Program Coordinator, who is a professor in the Journalism Department. 

What grades should I have?

We expect a GPA of 3.0 (“B”).  If you have worked professionally in the journalism or related fields, this can be waived. If your GPA is lower, consult with the Graduate Coordinator.

Do you require the GRE?

No.

How long does the program take?

Most students finish in two years. 

How do I apply?

  1. Apply online at CSU APPLY.
  2. Send via email or post two letters of recommendation from professors who have taught you and can judge your ability to do graduate level work.  If you have been out of school for a while, your supervisors at work can write letters instead. Letters from politicians, celebrities and other luminaries are less effective. Ask someone who knows you and your work. 

Send these to: 

Graduate Program Adviser
Department of Journalism
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St., Mail code: 8311
Northridge, CA 91330-8311
 
 
Send via email or post an approximately 1 page letter that explains why you want to enter our program and what experiences you have had that make you a strong candidate. This might include media jobs held, internships, projects carried out as a student that involved producing original media content or research, etc.  

Send these to:

Graduate Program Adviser
Department of Journalism
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St., Mail code: 8311
Northridge, CA 91330-8311

or melissa.a.wall@csun.edu

How many classes will I take?

Usually 10 (30 credit hours). For information about course offerings, check the CSUN catalog. 

Additional Information:

1. Required Seminars (18 units)

JOUR 400 Mass Communication Law and Ethics (3)

JOUR 585 Theory of Mass Communication (3)

or MCOM 612 Journalism Practices (3)

or MCOM 693A-Z Selected Topics in Journalism and Mass Comm (3)

MCOM 600 Seminar in Research Methods (3)

MCOM 620 Seminar in Media Criticism (3)

MCOM 630 Seminar in Analysis of Media Performance (3)

MCOM 690 Research Practicum (3)

2. Electives (6-11 units)

Electives from outside the Journalism Department should be approved by the Mass Communications graduate coordinator.

3. Culminating Experience (1-6 units)

Select one of the following:

a. MCOM 697A Comprehensive Written Exam (1)

Written and oral examination in the major field (Mass Communication) and two specified fields selected with the approval of the graduate committee. One of those specialized fields may be outside the Department of Journalism.

b. MCOM 698C Thesis or Graduate Professional Project (3-3)

Projects may include professionally oriented studies or projects such as video or audio documentaries or investigative or in-depth articles. A scholarly thesis will include original data collection and analysis. May be taken twice for up to 6 units.

Please note that courses taken as an undergraduate cannot be counted toward the M.A. degree, nor can they be taken again as a graduate student and counted toward the M.A.

A minimum of 30 units of approved graduate work is required for the degree. Of these, 18 units are required and the other 12 units may be electives. No more than 9 units can be taken at the 400-level. JOUR 400 Mass Communication Law and Ethics counts as 3 of those 9 units. Courses counted toward the undergraduate degree may not also count toward the graduate degree. 

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 30