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The Reed College of Media and College of Creative Arts will merge to form the new WVU College of Creative Arts and Media as of July 1, 2024. Get details.

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

Graduate Faculty

  • Joel Beeson, Ph.D.                                                        
  • Bob Britten, Ph.D.                                                       
  • Dana Coester, M.A.                                                      
  • Rita Colistra, Ph.D.
  • Julia Daisy Fraustino, Ph.D.                                        
  • Joseph Jones, Ph.D.                                                           
  • Diana Knott Martinelli, Ph.D.                                     
  • Geah Pressgrove, Ph.D.                                                                    
  • John Temple, M.F.A.
  • Steve Urbanski, Ph.D.

Associate Graduate Faculty

  • Rick Bebout, M.S.J.

  • Heather Cole, M.F.A.
  • Emily Hughes Corio, M.S.J.
  • Gina Martino Dahlia, M.S.J.
  • Ashton Marra, M.S.
  • Mary Kay McFarland, M.A.
  • Catherine Mezera, M.S.J.
  • Chad Mezera, M.S.J.
  • Elizabeth Oppe, Ph.D.
  • David Smith, M.A.
  • Lois Raimondo, M.A.

Members of the graduate faculty play a central role in graduate education. They are responsible for program content, they serve on graduate student committees, they foster University-wide research, scholarship, and creative endeavors, and they assure the quality of preparation of the University’s graduates. Application to and appointment as graduate faculty occur at the college/school level. Each college/school establishes and publishes application, evaluation, and appointment/re-appointment processes and criteria for graduate faculty membership. College/school criteria may be more, but not less, stringent than the University-wide criteria described in this document. College/school processes and criteria must be approved by the Graduate Council.

Requirements for Membership

Regular Membership

  • Individuals who hold appointments at West Virginia University in tenure-track faculty positions or in full-time non-tenure-track faculty or faculty-equivalent positions and who are engaged in scholarly research or creative activity may be considered for regular membership.
  • Regular members must present evidence of continuing scholarly research or creative activity. Criteria usually include one or more of the following: publication in major peer-reviewed journals, publication of books and book chapters, invited and/or competitively selected presentations of scholarly work at national and international meetings, and presentations and performance of artistic work at professionally recognized events.

Associate Membership

  • Individuals with ongoing involvement in graduate education at WVU may be considered for associate membership. These individuals may include WVU faculty members who do not meet the criteria for regular membership, non-faculty professionals with terminal degrees or equivalent expertise, and faculty members at other institutions.
  • Associate members must present evidence of continuing scholarly or creative expertise or involvement in graduate education. Criteria usually include one or more of the following: research activity, scholarly publications, artistic performances or presentations, graduate-level teaching, and service on graduate committees.


  • Graduate faculty members who leave WVU may continue to serve on student committees with their same graduate faculty status established prior to their departure.
  • Normally, no candidate for a degree at WVU may be a regular or associate member of the graduate faculty.
  • Emeritus faculty members may remain on the graduate faculty.
  • New faculty members may be appointed as regular or associate graduate faculty members.
  • Individual exceptions to membership criteria may be approved by the Associate Provost for Graduate Academic Affairs.

Functions of Graduate Faculty Members

  • Regular graduate faculty members may serve on and chair students’ thesis and dissertation committees.
  • Associate graduate faculty members may serve on students’ thesis and dissertation committees, but may not chair them.
  • Graduate faculty members serve other functions, such as chairing or serving on other types of graduate committees and graduate program committees, and teaching graduate courses, as determined by their college/school.

Appointment and Evaluation of Graduate Faculty Members

  • Appointment to the graduate faculty for WVU faculty members must be through the college/school in which they hold their primary faculty appointment. Faculty members may request appointment to the graduate faculty in other colleges/schools, but may not be designated a regular graduate faculty member in any college/school if that status is not held in the primary college/school.
  • Colleges/schools establish an appropriate time schedule for evaluating individuals for initial appointment to the graduate faculty and for upgrading or downgrading graduate faculty status. At least once every three years, a decision must be made to continue, discontinue, or change an individual’s current level of membership. An individual whose graduate faculty membership is discontinued or changed from regular to associate status will be permitted to complete current responsibilities, but may only assume additional responsibilities that are consistent with the new status.


  • Appeals regarding graduate faculty membership classification shall be handled through grievance procedures identified in section 5.8.2 of the West Virginia University Faculty Handbook.

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.

Get More Financial Aid Info

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.

Explore Student Orgs
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