What We Look For In Prospective Graduate Journalism Students

Applicants should have a broad undergraduate liberal arts background along with their major area of study. Prior professional and/or campus journalism experience is recognized but not required. We welcome applicants who have professional backgrounds in specialized areas such as business, economics, health professions, law, engineering and the sciences. The following criteria are used to evaluate applications:

Excellent writing, interpersonal communication and quantitative skills

Outstanding prior academic performance

Curiosity, engagement with current events and an interest in discovering and reporting stories beyond their own personal experience

Evidence of the maturity and professionalism necessary to succeed in a fast-paced, intensive graduate program (e.g., work or internship experience, not necessarily in journalism; study abroad; volunteer work; campus or community leadership, etc.)

Adaptability and willingness to learn about and use new technologies and applications

Other Important Factors

Journalism requires passion. While Medill does not require a bachelor's degree in journalism or prior work experience in journalism, evidence of engagement with current events and an interest in finding and reporting stories is important. We believe these qualities are found in applicants with a broad variety of backgrounds, from those who have long been interested in journalism to those who had not previously considered graduate programs in journalism.

Writing skills are obviously important, and we look for students who not only write well but also write engagingly. Good storytelling is something we prize at Medill, and we like to see potential in that area.

Prospective journalism students often ask us if, when considering test scores, we place emphasis on the quantitative score - and the answer is yes, we do. Quantitative skills are increasingly important in reporting stories on a wide variety of subjects. Prospective journalism students need to show aptitude for understanding elements of stories that involve numbers and data.

Finally, multimedia skills, or a strong interest in developing them, are a plus. Medill's graduate journalism curriculum emphasizes cross-platform skills, and openness to the storytelling possibilities in a variety of media is essential.

What about average GPAs and GRE or GMAT test scores?

We review each application file individually and holistically, considering test scores and GPAs in context with the rest of the file, including essays, resume and recommendations. We look for GRE and GMAT scores that are in line with or better than what might be expected based on the applicant's prior academic performance. We look at undergraduate transcripts not just for the overall GPA but also for the courses you took and how you performed in them.

Graduate Journalism Class Profile

Graduate journalism students come to Medill from all over the world, with a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Here's a snapshot (based on recent entering classes) to give you an idea of the company you would keep if you are admitted and choose to enroll at Medill:

Median Age: 24
20 countries in addition to the U.S.
37 U.S. states

Institutions represented include liberal arts colleges, public and private universities and international schools. Among them:

Bard College
Baylor University
Bennett College
Bennington College
Boston College
Boston University
Brandeis University
Bucknell University
Butler University
Carleton College
Carroll College
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Christopher Newport University
Clark Atlanta University
Coe College
College of William & Mary
College of Wooster
Columbia College
Communications University of China
Cornell University
Creighton University
DePaul University
Duke University
East China Normal University
Emerson College
Emory University
Florida State University
Fordham University
Fudan University
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Georgia Tech
Gettysburg College
Governors State University
Hampton University
Harvard University
Hong Kong Baptist University
Howard University
Hunan University
Idaho State University
Indiana University
Indiana Wesleyan University
Iowa State University
James Madison University
Lady Shri Ram College
Lawrence University
Lewis & Clark College
Louisiana State University
Loyola University
Marquette University
Mary Washington College
McGill University
Miami University
Michigan State University
Middle Tennessee State
Middlesex University
Nanjing University
National Tsing Hua University
New York University
Northeastern University
Northwestern University
Occidental College
Oglethorpe University
Ohio University
Peking University
Pennsylvania State University

Plymouth State University
Prescott College
Princeton University
Reed College
Rice University
San Diego State University
Sarah Lawrence College
Skidmore College
Spelman College
St. John's University
St. Louis University
St. Xavier's College
State University of New York
Syracuse University
Tarleton State University
Texas Christian University
Thomas More College
Towson University
Universidad del Desarrollo
Universidade Estadual Paulista
Universitat Potsdam
Universite Pantheon Sorbonne
University of Alabama
University of British Columbia
University of California
University of Chicago
University of Colorado
University of Edinburgh
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Houston
University of Illinois
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Louisville
University of Massachusetts
University of Miami
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri
University of Mumbai
University of North Carolina
University of Notre Dame
University of Oregon
University of Otago
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Puget Sound
University of Rochester
University of Saint Thomas
University of San Diego
University of Sydney
University of Texas
University of Toledo
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin
University of Zimbabwe
Vanderbilt University
Waseda University
Washington State University
Wayne State University
Westmont College
Willamette University
Yale University
Zhejiang University

Undergraduate majors represented include, among others:

American Studies
Art History
Business Administration
Civil Engineering
Comparative Literature
Computer & Information Sciences
Environmental Studies
Film & Video
Foreign Languages & Literatures
Health & Kinesiology

International Relations
International Trade
Law & Legal Studies
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Political Science
Radio & Television Broadcasting
Social Work
Women's Studies

Questions? Contact:

Melissa Ann Sersland, Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid, 847-491-5042
Julie Collins, Associate Director, Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid, 847-491-5359