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Curriculum

The MSJ Politics and National Security 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 politics and national security. 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

  • Daily News Reporting: Two and a half days a week of fast-paced daily reporting on Congress—politics and policy and how they affect people
  • Enterprise Reporting: In-depth reporting four days a week for media partners such as USAToday.com, marketwatch.com or KVRR-TV
  • Seminars: Topics vary but may include Covering Conflicts, Terrorism and National Security, Cyber Security, Watchdogs in Washington, Digital Frameworks for Reporting or Politics and the Presidency

Sample elective courses

  • Data and Demographics 

  • Storytelling for Mobile and Social 

  • Web Video Shooting and Editing Techniques


Quarter Overview

Quarter 1 (summer)

In Evanston/Chicago

  • Take core MSJ courses.
  • Your professors will meet with you, organize specialization meetings and arrange for you to attend events at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, to which you will have a membership.
  • Participate in Medill Fridays events, including speakers, interactive workshops, career-preparation seminars and community-building activities.

Quarter 2 (fall)

In Washington, D.C.

  • Take a core MSJ course, a specialization-specific course and an elective course.

Quarter 3 (winter)

In Washington, D.C.

  • 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.
  • Engage with Medill Career Services and faculty on professional goal setting and planning for post-graduation.

Quarter 4 (spring)

In Washington, D.C.

  • Finish the MSJ program by taking either the National Security Reporting Project or the Political Reporting Project with partners such as the Center for Public Integrity, The Washington Post, USA Today or others.
  • Continue to engage with Medill Career Services and faculty on professional goal setting and planning for post-graduation.

Optional Quarter 5 (summer)