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Curriculum

The MSJ Health, Environment and Science curriculum provides you with a solid foundation in the principles of modern journalism as well as in-depth subject area knowledge in reporting on topics related to health, the environment and science. You’ll also have an opportunity to take a few additional elective courses that match your interests and career goals.

In addition to coursework, the MSJ program offers a variety of experiences that enable you to travel to different cities and countries, gain additional skills, meet alumni and industry professionals, and plan for post-graduation.

Course Overview

Core courses

  • Journalism Methods
  • Frameworks for Modern Journalism
  • Ethics and Law
  • Foundations of Interactive Journalism
  • Foundations of Video Journalism
  • Advanced News Reporting

Specialization-specific courses

  • Science Reporting Seminar
  • Advanced Science Reporting

Elective courses

View sample elective courses on our MSJ curriculum page.

Quarter Overview

Quarter 1 (summer)

  • Take core MSJ courses.
  • Participate in Medill Fridays events, including speakers, interactive workshops, career-preparation seminars and community-building activities.

Quarter 2 (fall)

  • Take core MSJ courses, a specialization-specific course and an elective course.
  • Participate in Medill Fridays events, including speakers, interactive workshops, career-preparation seminars and community-building activities.
  • All students select a practicum site as part of the Science Reporting Seminar for a first-hand research experience at national laboratories, university labs, museums, national parks, alternative energy hubs, CERN, Earth and space observatories and many other options. Comer Scholars cover the latest global climate research at the Comer Climate Change Conference and contribute these stories to Medill’s Climate Change site and to other media.

Quarter 3 (winter)

  • Take specialization-specific courses and elective courses.
  • Travel domestically or internationally with students in your specialization through Medill Explores to learn about health, environment and science reporting in other geographies.
  • Advanced Science Reporting often takes students on field research trips to national labs, conferences and major media hubs such as The New York Times.
  • Students cover the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, joining 600 international journalists in the AAAS press room to file stories. Stories are posted on Medill Reports and other media directly from the conference.      
  • Engage with Medill Career Services and faculty on professional goal setting and planning for post-graduation.
  • Participate in Medill Fridays events, including speakers, interactive workshops, career-preparation seminars and community-building activities.

Quarter 4 (spring)

  • Complete a practicum or thesis project or take elective courses. Often students "embed" with scientific researchers for three to five weeks in the U.S. or abroad to report on new research.
  • Continue to engage with Medill Career Services and faculty on professional goal setting and planning for post-graduation.
  • Participate in Medill Fridays events, including speakers, interactive workshops, career-preparation seminars and community-building activities.

Optional Quarter 5 (summer)