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Master's Cohort 2019

Master's Degree

If you're a recent graduate, a professional journalist looking to up your game or a data/information studies major wondering how to apply your degree, then this is the program for you.

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism offers three Master’s Degree Programs and several specialized tracks of study.

The Master of Arts in Journalism is a research-oriented, thesis program of 30 credits. The program is intended for experienced journalists, academics and others who are looking for a more scholarly master’s program. Students in the M.A. program must successfully complete a thesis under the supervision of a graduate advisor. Students must complete a theory class, a methods class, and 6 credits of master’s thesis research.

The Master of Journalism degree is a nonthesis program that requires up to 36 credits. This program is intended for students, whether experienced or not, who want to work as professional journalists after graduation. M.J. students’ degree program culminates in a review of their journalism portfolio by a panel of faculty and professionals. There is no thesis requirement for M.J. students. Broadcast or multiplatform students may further specialize in investigative, computational/data or sports focuses and may also steer their degree into other types of journalism through course selection. In their last semester, M.J. students enroll in a six-credit capstone course in one of the Capital News Service (CNS) bureaus on campus, in Annapolis or Washington, D.C.

The Master of Professional Studies in Data Journalism degree is a nonthesis program that requires up to 36 credits. It is offered jointly by Merrill College and the UMD College of Information Studies. Courses will be offered both online and in person, with it being possible to complete the degree from anywhere. Students can complete the degree entirely virtually, in person or via a combination of the two. This program is intended for students who want to work as data journalists in newsrooms, and for those who want to use investigative data skills to work at NGOs, nonprofits or private industry. M.P.S. students will apply what they learn in a required six-credit capstone course either through Merrill College or the iSchool.

Master's Program Mission

Our master’s education concentrates on professional development, providing postgraduate education to those seeking to enter the field and intensive professional training for mid-career journalists with a particular focus on investigative, sports, security and computational journalism.

M.J. Specializations

The sports journalism focus at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism provides master’s students an opportunity to learn about sports coverage in the modern era while gaining hands-on experience. The college offers a number of sports-related courses, such as sports reporting, sports media and society, and protest in sports. In addition, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism offers a wide range of learning opportunities with panel discussions, student workshops and even a summer camp. There are additional opportunities to cover sports with Capital News Service, The Diamondback student news outlet, the student-run WMUC radio and the Maryland Athletic Department’s TerpsTV. Big Ten Network also provides opportunities for our students to learn by doing.

The investigative focus is taught by an experienced faculty of award-winning journalists, including Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporters Dana Priest and Deborah Nelson, and Mark Feldstein, a former Emmy award-winning investigative correspondent at CNN. The concentration offers courses in investigative journalism, data reporting, national security, cybersecurity, urban affairs and history. The program offers opportunities to travel abroad for research and reporting. Even more opportunities are available through the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

This focus offers the opportunity to develop data-driven reporting, analysis and visualization skills in the context of journalistic work. Students will advance their knowledge of web development, as well as interactive design and coding in languages such as Javascript and Python. Courses in computer-assisted journalism, storytelling with data visualization and computational journalism help students develop portfolios of interactive, data-driven projects.


In addition to News Writing and Reporting, Ethics and Media Law, Merrill College teaches graduate courses in:

  • Data Journalism
  • Investigative Journalism
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Sports Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Videography
  • Multimedia Storytelling
  • Podcasting and Long-Form Audio
  • Mobile Journalism
  • Audience and Analytics
  • News Coverage of Racial Issues 
  • Women in the Media
  • Urban Affairs Reporting
  • Public Affairs Reporting
  • Business Reporting
  • National Security Journalism
  • The Future of News
  • Newsroom Management

To see the current offerings, visit the Graduate Course Catalog.

For More Information

Portrait of Rafael Lorente

Rafael Lorente

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Director of the Master's Program; Senior Lecturer
Portrait of Serap Rada

Serap Rada

Assistant Director, Graduate Studies
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