Compare School Options

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

An online master’s in journalism helps prepare graduates for a wide array of potential careers. The most obvious is that it can help jumpstart or further a journalism career (median salary of $55,960 per year). This graduate degree can help prepare you for jobs outside the journalism field as well, such as public relations manager (median salary of $125,620 per year).

In most cases, full-time students can complete an online master’s in journalism program in two years, and some accelerated programs are also available. And the average tuition for such a program is $20,513 per year, making it an affordable way to continue your education and widen your career prospects.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Journalism Program

Choose your area of study

This degree is available as a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS). MS programs are more research-focused, while MA programs are rooted in a humanities framework.

Some online master’s in journalism programs offer separate areas of study, or concentrations, in different aspects of journalism. These aspects typically include arts and culture, business and economics, digital journalism, and global journalism.

Those who already know what career they want to pursue after graduation should find a graduate program catering to their specific needs. For those unsure about their future career, exploring the areas of study offered by different schools may inspire them. However, regardless of future employment, all programs from reputable institutions will help ground students in the best practices of modern journalism.

Research schools and programs

We previously touched on the fact that students will want to research different areas of study to help find the program best suited to their needs, and it’s equally important to verify that prospective schools have proper accreditation.

You should only consider institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in journalism program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). This programmatic accrediting organization has particularly high standards for journalism education.

Additionally, students who intend to begin (or continue) a journalism career after graduation should research where their favorite journalists went to school and see if those schools offer online graduate programs in journalism. And from a practical perspective, it’s always advisable to research which online programs suit the student’s intended budget and schedule (for example, students shouldn’t enroll in a fast-track program if they will be working full-time while going to school).

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. Once you have narrowed a few schools down, check for any testing requirements they may have. For example, some online master’s in journalism programs require students to submit GRE scores, and some do not. If you need to submit a GRE score and have not taken it, you can study by reviewing online sample tests and study materials, but keep in mind that it could take up to three months to study for this test.

Some programs may require students to have previously completed a bachelor’s in journalism, whereas others will accept those who have undergrad degrees in select other disciplines. You may need to submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement as well.

Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Select your program

Selecting the best online master’s in journalism program means finding the intersection between educational rigor, student accessibility, and overall affordability. Remember that the tuition cost for a degree is not an accurate indicator of how much students will learn from their studies. It’s best to find an affordable program respected in the field.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

First, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Doing so will qualify students for select federal loans and may also help to qualify them for specific grants and scholarships. Students who need further money may wish to explore alternative loans. It’s also advisable to contact the school’s financial aid department to inquire about any assistance available through the school or the state. Those who currently work in the field should see if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits as well.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Journalism Programs

Best Online Master's in Journalism Degree Programs

Harvard Extension School

Emerson College

University of Missouri

The University of Alabama

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

University of Iowa

Ball State University

Arizona State University

University of South Florida

Regent University

Kent State University

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Florida

University of Memphis

NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute

St. Bonaventure University

University of Georgia

Kansas State University

Florida International University

Texas Tech University

South Dakota State University

National University

University of South Carolina

Marshall University

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

We primarily sought programs that are delivered entirely online. Some programs are offered in an on-campus/online hybrid format.

All the schools are regionally accredited, ensuring they meet the highest standards for quality postsecondary education. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) also accredits many of the programs on this list.

We evaluated all programs based on outcomes, cost, reputation, faculty, and flexibility. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Journalism Program?

An online master’s in journalism program will help students further cultivate existing skills in journalism while going more in-depth into various areas and, most likely, picking up a specialty.

Students will learn different hands-on skills in various areas: on the journalism side, this may include chasing leads, conducting interviews, and doing every aspect of investigative journalism by the book. But depending on the concentration and the classes taken, students may also learn layout and printing practices for print media or digital marketing skills, such as SEO, image sourcing, and navigating a content management system.

Most online programs are designed to be completed in 24 months for students who take them full-time, though part-time students may require closer to 36 months. Accelerated programs are sometimes available to let you complete all required coursework in as little as 12 months, and most online programs do not require any kind of in-person labs or residencies.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in journalism program

  • Reporting the News. This course helps students strengthen core journalistic practices, including pitching stories, conducting interviews, covering live events, and structuring stories for clarity and engagement. It gives students ample opportunities to practice their craft and, in some cases, publish their work through a school-affiliated publication.
  • Feature Writing. Feature writing focuses extensively on the practices that went into crafting some of the best features throughout journalistic history. The goal is to help students identify what made those stories so great (ranging from POV and style to dialogue and verb tense). They can then incorporate those elements into their future writing.
  • Investigative Reporting. An investigative reporting course will focus on fostering the unique skills that go into such reporting, including researching, nurturing the relationships of sources, and how to craft stories for maximum impact.
  • Law and Ethics in American Journalism. This class focuses on helping students understand the relevant laws and ethics concerning journalism and avoiding any potential incidents. Students will also learn about historical legal cases that grant journalists protection and the limits of shield laws.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Journalism?

Career outlook

Graduates with an online master’s in journalism have diverse career paths to explore, extending beyond traditional reporting roles. These roles showcase the diverse opportunities available for individuals with this academic credential, which allows them to make impactful contributions in both traditional and emerging media fields. The evolving nature of journalism also presents the chance for professionals to explore hybrid roles that combine various aspects of reporting, storytelling, and media management.

Here are some common career paths for individuals with advanced education in journalism:

  • News analyst, reporter, or journalist — Research topics, conduct interviews, and write stories to keep the public updated on noteworthy information.
    • Median annual salary: $55,960
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): -3%
    • New job openings projected: 6,000 annually
  • Public relations or fundraising manager — Public relations managers direct the creation of materials that will enhance the image of their clients, while fundraising managers write grants and direct other efforts to raise money.
    • Median annual salary: $125,620
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 7,800 annually
  • Advertising, promotions, or marketing manager — Conduct market research, plan advertising and promotional campaigns, and supervise marketing staff.
    • Median annual salary: $138,730
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 34,000 annually

Online Master’s in Journalism Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in journalism degree program?

At a minimum, students must submit their undergraduate transcripts as part of the online graduate application. Depending on the school, students may also need to submit GRE or other test scores, letters of recommendation, and, in some cases, one or more application essays.

Because no two schools are exactly alike, you should contact an admissions counselor for the school(s) you are interested in. Such counselors can answer any of your specific questions and ensure you don’t forget to submit anything required by the application.

How much does an online master’s in journalism degree cost?

The average cost of tuition for an online master’s in journalism is $20,513, with public institutions having typically lower costs and private institutions having typically higher costs. Also, public schools tend to charge out-of-state students much higher tuition rates than in-state students.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in journalism degree?

Most online master’s in journalism programs can be completed within 24 months for students attending school full-time. Those who attend part-time, particularly those balancing work, family responsibilities, and school, may take closer to 36 months to complete the online program. Conversely, those with ample time to focus on graduate studies may be able to take an accelerated program that completes their education in as little as 12 months.

Is an online master's in journalism worth it?

Earning an online master’s degree in journalism offers numerous advantages.

An online master’s program provides flexibility, allowing students to adapt to the changing demands of digital journalism. It equips individuals with the skills to navigate multimedia storytelling, data journalism, and emerging technologies in the industry. Additionally, online programs offer networking opportunities, connecting students with professionals and mentors in the journalism field.

For those aspiring to contribute to investigative reporting, digital media strategy, or multimedia production, an online master’s in journalism provides a solid foundation. The program’s emphasis on critical thinking, research, and communication skills prepares graduates for diverse roles in the dynamic landscape of contemporary journalism.

Compare School Options

Related Degrees