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Master of Arts in Communication

University requirements for the master's degree are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

The department awards a terminal M.A. degree in Communication with a field of study in Journalism. Applicants for this program are evaluated for admission on different criteria. Work to fulfill graduate degree requirements must be in courses numbered 100 or above.

Stanford students who are completing an M.A. degree and who desire entry into the Ph.D. program must file a Graduate Program Authorization Petition in Axess. Such students are considered alongside all other doctoral applicants.


Stanford's graduate program in Journalism focuses on the knowledge and skills required to report, analyze, and write authoritatively about public issues and digital media. The curriculum combines a sequence of specialized reporting and writing courses with seminars and courses devoted to deepening the students' understanding of the roles and responsibilities of American news media in their coverage of public issues.

The program emphasizes preparation for the practice of journalism and a critical perspective from which to understand it. The program's objective is twofold: (1) to graduate talented reporters and writers to foster public understanding of the significance and consequences of public issues and the debates they engender; and (2) to graduate thoughtful journalists to respond openly and eloquently when called on to explain and defend the methods of their reporting and the quality of their writing.


The curriculum includes several required courses, examples of which are shown below, and a master's project:

Additionally, students are usually required to take two specialized writing courses, chosen from a list of seven or eight, and two approved electives from among graduate-level courses in the Department of Communication, or from among courses on campus that deal substantively with issues of public importance. The M.A. degree in Communication (Journalism) requires a minimum of 45 units.

Except for the Graduate Journalism Seminar and the Journalism Project, all courses must be taken for a letter grade. To remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better. Graduation requires a GPA of 3.0 or better.


The Journalism master's project, a requirement for graduation, is intended as an opportunity for students to showcase their talents as writers and reporters. It is also an opportunity to undertake an in-depth critique of an area of journalism in which the author has a special interest. Work on the project usually begins during Winter Quarter and continues through Spring Quarter. Completed master's projects must be submitted to the project adviser no later than the last day of classes in the Spring Quarter. The project represents a major commitment of time, research, and writing. Although it is not a requirement that the project be published, it must be judged by a member of the faculty to be of a quality acceptable for publication. At a minimum, the project should demonstrate the rigor and discipline required of good scholarship and good journalism; it should offer ample evidence of students' ability to gather, analyze, and synthesize information in a manner that goes beyond what ordinarily appears in daily news media.

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