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The Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs curriculum provides you with a solid foundation in the principles of modern journalism as well as in-depth subject area knowledge on political and policy topics. 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
  • Political Reporting Seminar

Specialization-specific courses

  • Daily Reporting in a 24/7 News Environment: Two and a half days a week of fast-paced daily reporting on politics and policy and how they affect people
  • Washington Reporting: Four days a week of enterprise reporting
  • Specialization Reporting Project
  • Seminars: Topics vary but may include Covering Conflicts, Terrorism and National Security; We the People: Demographic Reporting; Covering the Presidency

Sample elective courses

  • Podcasting 

  • Social Media Reporting 

  • Digital Frameworks for News
  • Social Media Reporting

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 reporting class, a specialization-specific course and a core MSJ seminar.

Quarter 3 (winter)

In Washington, D.C.

  • Take a core reporting course, a specialization-specific courses and an elective course. An internship/practicum is an option.
  • Travel domestically or internationally with students in your specialization through Medill Explores to learn about political, policy and foreign affairs 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 the Reporting Project or the Political Reporting Project with partners such as the Center for Public Integrity, The Washington Post, USA Today or others.
  • Take one elective seminar.
  • Continue to engage with Medill Career Services and faculty on professional goal setting and planning for post-graduation.

Optional Quarter 5 (summer)