COLLEGE PARK (5/17/18) — Freshman enrollment at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism is expected to increase 57 percent this fall, and the incoming master’s cohort will include accomplished professionals and new graduates from some of the top universities in the world.
About 130 freshmen and 30 new master’s students plan to begin classes in August, when they’ll start to learn the skills and ethics required to work in a rapidly changing field.
“This increase shows that interest in public affairs journalism is very strong and that our comprehensive and flexible program is offering students what they need to excel,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College. “It’s also a great testament to our dedicated staff and university administration, who ensure students have the resources, information and guidance they need to choose Maryland.”
As one of eight Limited Enrollment Programs at the University of Maryland, the college’s undergraduate admissions standards are higher than the university’s. The average GPA of incoming freshmen is above 4.0.
Joshua W. Madden, assistant dean for undergraduate studies, said the incoming freshmen come from 21 states and China.
“We are incredibly excited and encouraged,” Madden said. “A number of factors, including a targeted recruitment strategy, the approval of a new curriculum and a renewed focus on the value of journalism have resulted in an enthusiastic and dedicated class.”
The freshmen will be the first class of students to take courses under Merrill College’s revised curriculum, approved by the university this spring.
The revision allows students more flexibility to take elective courses across publishing platforms by reducing the number of specifically required courses and by collapsing two previous degree tracks — broadcast journalism and multiplatform journalism — into a single journalism degree.
Students can choose to specialize in broadcast, sports or investigative journalism by selecting from a menu of courses in those areas. They will also have more flexibility to experiment or focus on data and data visualization, visual journalism, product development and more.
The incoming master’s students hold degrees from Cornell University, Harvard University, Penn State University and numerous other prestigious public and private institutions.
“This was the most competitive applicant pool in years, and the quality of the incoming cohort is among the best in recent memory,” said Rafael Lorente (M.A. ’98), associate dean for academic affairs and director of the master’s program. “We’re really excited about what these terrific students are going to do in the coming years.”