grad-journalismmasscomm-ma

Three available tracks1:

  1. Professional-track master's focused on specialized training in multimedia skills that lead to careers in mass media industries.
  2. Thesis-track master's focused on developing skills in mass communication research and typically leading to enrollment in a doctoral program.
  3. Non-thesis master's for students interested in basic concepts and theories in journalism and mass communication studies but not in advanced doctoral-level training.

Graduate programs in journalism and mass communication are designed for advanced academic preparation in the various fields of mass communication and journalism, and for training in research and teaching. The School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers three options for the master of arts: professional-track M.A. (30 credits in multi-media communication and topic specialization); thesis-track M.A. (30 credits in theory and methods plus thesis); and non-thesis M.A. (30 credits with tight focus on journalism and mass communication concepts).

The school is a recognized leader in teaching and research in a variety of topics including the process and effects of mass communication; communication campaigns; community and social movements; consumer and popular culture; health and science communication; history of mass communication; international communication; media accountability and criticism; media law and policy; new media technology; political communication and public opinion; and race, gender and mass communication. Graduate work prepares students to use and contribute to the research and scholarship in these and many other areas. Identifying important questions, gathering evidence, and understanding standards of inference are dominant features of all graduate degree programs.

FACILITIES

The Center for Journalism Ethics advances the ethical standards and practices of democratic journalism through discussion, research, teaching, professional outreach, and newsroom partnerships. Students, faculty, leading journalists and members of the public participate in conferences, workshops, and publications. The center tracks and analyzes ethical issues for all media platforms on its website. The center contributes to the teaching of ethics in the school's curriculum. Students have the opportunity to write for the center's website, cover conferences, and contribute to research.

The Mass Communication Research Center is an interdisciplinary research facility that conducts research into all phases of communication and provides a common meeting ground for scholars with an interest in communication behavior. It also provides an opportunity for graduate students to participate in research programs and to initiate and conduct their own thesis projects.

The Center for Communication and Democracy is a research and action project at UW–Madison. The goals of the center are to study how citizens can use new communications technologies to advance democratic discussion and civic participation; to explore the relationships between geographic communities and the emerging world of cyberspace; to explore the structural relations among communications and information markets, the civic sector, and government to find relationships necessary to build and sustain a public sphere in communication that is not dominated by the market, while sustaining economic growth and technological innovation; and to ask what government policies are most appropriate for combining the vibrancy of the market with the common needs of citizens in the sphere of communication.

The Mass Communication History Center, a part of the Wisconsin Historical Society, provides scholars access to private collections, papers, and various types of unpublished materials relating to the growth of mass communication in the United States and other parts of the world. The Wisconsin Historical Society also has a large collection of bound and microfilm files of American and foreign newspapers.

The Physiology and Communication Effects Research Group conducts research examining the physiological correlates of political and social attitudes, media effects and integrates theory and evidence from the sociological environment, political groups and institutions, psychology and physiology. The group is interested in when people think, reason, feel, and behave in ways “against type.” Visit the PACE lab website.

To apply for the master's, students must have a four-year bachelor's degree, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), and completed Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Three letters of recommendation are required of all applicants. GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing tests) are required for U.S. students and international students. International students are also required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Test scores must be furnished to the school before the application is considered complete.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Graduate students are eligible for a range of financial support, including teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships and dissertator scholarships. All applicants (both domestic and international) who are admitted for graduate studies are automatically considered for support. No separate application is required. However, because resources are limited and the number of qualified applicants exceeds the amount of available funds, only a subset of admitted students is guaranteed financial support.

The most common form of financial support for graduate students is teaching assistantships, which are allocated on a long-term guaranteed basis or a short-term yearly basis with no presumption of support the following academic year. Professional M.A. students are considered for scholarships that cover the costs of tuition and most fees. For more information, visit our website.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.25 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Students must earn a B or above in all core curriculum coursework.
Assessments and Examinations M.A. thesis track requires a formal thesis and defense; the Professional M.A. track requires a portfolio presentation.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

The program must include:

Courses are selected with consideration of the student's specialty in consultation with their advisor.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, up to 7 credits numbered 300 or 400 and advanced courses at the 500 and 600 level that assess graduate students separately from undergraduate students from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

Courses that qualify toward "Prior Coursework - UW–Madison Undergraduate" policy

JOURN 335 Principles and Practices of Reporting4
JOURN 345 Principles and Practice of Strategic Communication4
JOURN 401 In-Depth Reporting4
JOURN 404 Interpretation of Contemporary Affairs4
JOURN 405 Creative Nonfiction4
JOURN 411 Multimedia Design4
JOURN 417 Magazine Publishing4
JOURN 420 Investigative Reporting4
JOURN 425 Video Journalism4
JOURN 426 Community-Based Reporting4
JOURN 445 Creative Campaign Messages4
JOURN 447 Strategic Media Planning4
JOURN 449 Account Planning and Strategy4
JOURN 453 Strategic Media Relations4
JOURN 463 Digital Media Strategies4
JOURN 464 Public Relations Strategies4
JOURN 470 Strategic Communication Campaigns Capstone4
JOURN 475 Special Topics in Advanced Concepts and Skills1-4
JOURN/​HISTORY  560 History of Mass Communication4
JOURN 561 Mass Communication and Society4
JOURN 563 Law of Mass Communication4
JOURN 564 Media and the Consumer4
JOURN 565 Effects of Mass Communication4
JOURN 566 Communication and Public Opinion4
JOURN 601 Colloquium in Professional Communication Careers1
JOURN/​COM ARTS/​HDFS  616 Mass Media and Youth3
JOURN/​COM ARTS/​LSC  617 Health Communication in the Information Age3
JOURN 618 Mass Communication and Political Behavior4
JOURN 620 International Communication4
JOURN 621 Mass Communication in Developing Nations4
JOURN/​ART HIST/​HISTORY/​L I S  650 History of Books and Print Culture in Europe and North America3
JOURN 658 Communication Research Methods4
JOURN/​ASIAN AM  662 Mass Media and Minorities4
JOURN 664 Social Networks in Communication3
JOURN 669 Literary Aspects of Journalism3
JOURN 670 Community Service Learning: Technology for Social Change3
JOURN 675 Topics in Government and Mass Media3
JOURN 676 Special Topics in Mass Communication1-4
JOURN/​L I S  677 Concepts and Tools for Data Analysis and Visualization3
JOURN 678 Legal & Ethical Dimensions of Emerging Media3
JOURN 699 Directed Study1-6

Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework taken as a UW–Madison Special student. This includes courses numbered 300 or 400 and advanced courses at the 500 and 600 level which are identified with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute in the University's Course Guide.

Courses that qualify toward "Prior Coursework - UW–Madison Special Student" policy

JOURN 335 Principles and Practices of Reporting4
JOURN 345 Principles and Practice of Strategic Communication4
JOURN 401 In-Depth Reporting4
JOURN 404 Interpretation of Contemporary Affairs4
JOURN 405 Creative Nonfiction4
JOURN 411 Multimedia Design4
JOURN 417 Magazine Publishing4
JOURN 420 Investigative Reporting4
JOURN 425 Video Journalism4
JOURN 426 Community-Based Reporting4
JOURN 445 Creative Campaign Messages4
JOURN 447 Strategic Media Planning4
JOURN 449 Account Planning and Strategy4
JOURN 453 Strategic Media Relations4
JOURN 463 Digital Media Strategies4
JOURN 464 Public Relations Strategies4
JOURN 470 Strategic Communication Campaigns Capstone4
JOURN 475 Special Topics in Advanced Concepts and Skills1-4
JOURN/​HISTORY  560 History of Mass Communication4
JOURN 561 Mass Communication and Society4
JOURN 563 Law of Mass Communication4
JOURN 564 Media and the Consumer4
JOURN 565 Effects of Mass Communication4
JOURN 566 Communication and Public Opinion4
JOURN 601 Colloquium in Professional Communication Careers1
JOURN/​COM ARTS/​HDFS  616 Mass Media and Youth3
JOURN/​COM ARTS/​LSC  617 Health Communication in the Information Age3
JOURN 618 Mass Communication and Political Behavior4
JOURN 620 International Communication4
JOURN 621 Mass Communication in Developing Nations4
JOURN/​ART HIST/​HISTORY/​L I S  650 History of Books and Print Culture in Europe and North America3
JOURN 658 Communication Research Methods4
JOURN/​ASIAN AM  662 Mass Media and Minorities4
JOURN 664 Social Networks in Communication3
JOURN 669 Literary Aspects of Journalism3
JOURN 670 Community Service Learning: Technology for Social Change3
JOURN 675 Topics in Government and Mass Media3
JOURN 676 Special Topics in Mass Communication1-4
JOURN/​L I S  677 Concepts and Tools for Data Analysis and Visualization3
JOURN 678 Legal & Ethical Dimensions of Emerging Media3
JOURN 699 Directed Study1-6

Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Probation

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

M.A. thesis track students are required to have a thesis committee of three faculty members.

M.A. professional track students are required to have one faculty advisor.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Other

M.A. Students are eligible to receive scholarships and graduate assistantships and will be considered for financial assistance as part of the admission process.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

Research M.A.

We offer two research colloquia (JOURN/​LSC  901 and LSC 700) during the academic year where faculty share their research findings and methods and engage students in lively conversations about how to conduct research. We offer a teaching colloquium (JOURN 902) that explores pedagogical principles and applications that prepares students for teaching careers. Teaching assistantships provide hands-on training.  

Within our research groups and centers, graduate students work side by side with faculty and with each other, allowing the senior students to mentor younger students and for faculty to mentor students who are not their advisees. Our graduate students organize and host an annual day-long conference where they present their research in a series of panels, and they present their research at conferences around the world.

We offer a series of professional development workshops for graduate students with faculty and alumni panelists. The topics include: navigating the academic job market, exploring the non-academic job market, turning a paper into a presentation and how to find funding for research.

Professional M.A.

Professional M.A. students attend quarterly meetings with industry professionals to learn about  a variety of jobs and build their networks. Required internships allow students to gain real-world experience while in the program and to build their portfolio. Students work with the career advisor and attend the employer presentations and mock interview sessions. Students attend at least one professional conference during their time in the program.

1. Attain mastery in an area of the mass communication field. This encompasses an ability to articulate, critique, or elaborate theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry in the chosen field of study. (Research)

2. Identify sources and assemble evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of communication. (Research)

3. Demonstrate understanding of the primary field of study in a historical, social, psychological, cultural or global context. (Research)

4. Select and/or utilize the most appropriate methodologies and practices. (Research)

5. Evaluate or synthesize information pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of communication. (Research)

6. Develop professional communication skills related to gathering, assessing, compiling and disseminating information, by selecting and/or utilizing the most appropriate methodologies and practices and the evaluation and synthesis of information. (Professional)

7. Demonstrate understanding of the journalism field of study. (Professional)

8. Select and/or utilize the most appropriate professional journalistic practices. (Professional)

9. Evaluate or synthesize information pertaining to questions or challenges in their field of journalistic specialization. (Professional)

10. Attain mastery in an area of the mass communication field. This encompasses an ability to articulate, critique, or elaborate theories and approaches to inquiry in the chosen field of study. (Non-Thesis)

11. Develop in-depth and specialized expertise in a topic of interest. In doing so students will be able to identify sources of information and assemble evidence pertaining to questions in that area. (Non-Thesis)

12. Demonstrate understanding of the primary field of study. (Non-Thesis)

13. Select and/or utilize the most appropriate professional practices. (Non-Thesis)

14. Evaluate or synthesize information pertaining to questions or challenges in their field of specialization. (Non-Thesis)

15. Communicate clearly in ways appropriate to the field of study. (Research)

16. Communicate clearly in ways appropriate to journalism practice. (Professional)

17. Communicate clearly in ways appropriate to the field of study. (Non-Thesis)

Faculty: Professors  Downey, Friedland, Kim, McLeod, Robinson, Rojas, D. Shah, H. Shah; Associate Professors Riddle, Wagner, Wells; Assistant Professors Cascio, Culver, Graves, McGarr, Palmer;  Faculty Associates Forster, Hastings, Pierce, Schwoch