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M.S. in Journalism

The WVU Reed College of Media’s Master of Science in Journalism (MSJ) program provides students with an advanced understanding of media disciplines, preparing them for careers in the industry or academia.

What is it?

The 30-hour MSJ program offers students the choice of two tracks: the teaching-research track for those who wish to go pursue a doctoral degree and the professional track for those seeking professional opportunities in mass communications. MSJ students have the opportunity to work with faculty on research projects and to participate in and help lead web-based, immersion journalism projects, such as 100 Days in Appalachia.

MSJ → PhD:

Since the MSJ program was launched in 1961, a number of our graduates have earned doctoral degrees. Some have come home to teach at WVU, and others have gone on to make an impact on the future of the industry at institutions across the world, including:

  • Boise State University
  • DePaul University
  • Michigan State University
  • Ohio University
  • University of Hartford

What You’ll Learn

The master of science in journalism (M.S.J.) program is designed to help those involved in various aspects of mass communication to better understand and to cope not only with the increased complexity of their own majors but also with fields outside mass communications.

The program, created to assist each student in reaching his/her potential as a worker, teacher, or scholar in mass communications, prepares a master’s candidate not only for a first job but also for long-term and productive career development through the study of journalism and related fields. 

The M.S.J. program is intended to afford liberal arts graduates an opportunity to concentrate on advanced study in mass communications; to provide intensive study for persons who have undergraduate journalism training and who wish to pool their journalistic skills with extensive knowledge in another substantive area or areas (e.g., political science, economics, science); and to give persons who have had considerable professional experience an opportunity to broaden their academic bases through carefully selected advanced studies.


The College of Media offers two tracks—the teaching/research track and the professional track—within the M.S.J. program. In either track, the M.S.J. program offers five Areas of Emphasis (AOEs) that students may pursue, if desired, to obtain additional focus in a specific curricular area. AOEs are available in Advocacy & Public Interest Communications, Media Innovation, Digital Publishing, Visual Journalism, Reporting & Writing, and Television.

The teaching/research track is generally a program for persons who wish to pursue a Ph.D., to teach at the college/university level, and to conduct research in areas of mass communications. Persons in this track normally take research and theory courses both inside and outside the College of Media, as well as social science courses. The program culminates in a thesis, which is a scholarly theoretical study of an important aspect of mass communications.

The professional track is designed primarily for persons who wish to become excellent practitioners in some field of mass communications and who have less desire to teach or to become mass communications researchers. Persons in the professional track normally take communication and outside area courses that will help them to become better practitioners. The program culminates in a professional project, which helps a student to extend his/her practical and theoretical knowledge about a given aspect of mass communications and should be a non-routine project on which the student could work as a professional.

Assistantships and Financial Aid

The College of Media offers a number of merit-based graduate assistantships each semester. Graduate assistants teach laboratories and assist professors with their courses and research. Graduate assistantships are generally granted for an academic year during which GAs work an average of 20 hours per week. For consideration, make sure your application has been submitted to the College's director of graduate studies before March 1.

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Find your Niche

The WVU Reed College of Media hosts a variety of student organizations. These clubs offer students opportunities to engage in University activities and connect with other students and professionals nationwide.

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Steve Urbanski

Steve Urbanski, Ph.D.

is the director of graduate studies for the College of Media. He has been with the College since 2007 and spent 28 years in newspaper reporting, editing and design prior to that.

Contact Dr. Urbanski