Journalism students consult with professor in class.

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.

Students interested in the M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication should refer to one of the two named options:

  1. Professional M.A. prepares students for careers in news and information production. The program provides a mix of practical communication skills, conceptual knowledge of journalism and mass communication, and an area of specialization (credits in multi-media communication and topic specialization).
  2. Research M.A. focuses on developing skills in mass communication research and typically leads to enrollment in a doctoral program, including our own PhD in Mass Communications (credits in theory and methods).

Both programs offer flexibility. Students, in consultation with their faculty advisors, select coursework based upon their interests and career goals.


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.

Founded in 2006, Madison Commons provides news and information from all of Madison’s neighborhoods. It is a collaboration between Madison citizens from every part of the city and faculty and students at SJMC, focusing on coverage of education, food, transportation and neighborhood news. It provides a lab for research on community, civic and public journalism.

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.

Qualitative Inquiry and Research Group meetings are devoted to providing feedback on pre-circulated graduate student papers, completed or in-progress. Call for paper proposals are sent out at least twice per year.

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.

Students apply to the MA in Journalism and Mass Communication through one of the named options:

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 restrictions 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 track 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


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.25 GPA required for degree conferral.
For academic probation and other grading policies, this program follows the Graduate School's policy:
Other Grade Requirements Students must earn a B or above in all core curriculum coursework.
Assessments and Examinations See Named Option for policy information.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

Select a Named Option for courses required.

Named Options

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. Students pursuing the MA in Journalism and Mass Communication must select one of the following named options:

Students should refer to one of the named options for policy information:

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 Track

We offer two research colloquia (JOURN 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 Track

Professional track 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.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the primary field of study in a historical, social, psychological, cultural or global context.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Select and/or utilize the most appropriate professional practices.

For a complete faculty/staff directory see this website.