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What We Look For

Students in the graduate journalism program come from a variety of countries, schools and undergraduate majors. No specific major or prior coursework is required, but common undergraduate majors are journalism, English, communications, political science, English literature and history.

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 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 with long-held interests in journalism to those who have recently considered it.

Writing skills are also important. We look for students who not only write well, but also write engagingly.

At Medill, we prize good storytelling, and we like to see potential in that area no matter what platform an applicant has used so far.

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

What are the minimum or average GPAs and GRE or GMAT test scores of admitted students?

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. For applicants that opt to submit GRE or GMAT test scores, we look for scores that are in line with or better than what might be expected based on 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.

Though not required, prior professional and/or campus journalism experience is recognized. Applicants without prior professional and/or campus journalism experience should explain how their professional and campus experiences have prepared them to succeed in journalism.

We seek to admit students with a variety of majors. We consider both breadth of academic background and areas of specialization in your undergraduate program, as well as any prior graduate work.