About Com-J

Our Masters of Arts degree in journalism can be completed in one year through our professional focused area of study in community journalism, commonly referred to as “Com-J.” This focused area of study encourages students to think critically about the role news plays in community and to explore new ways to serve communities through the evolving practices of journalism.

Students who pursue Com-J develop writing and visual journalism skills, learn skills in digital media, produce and test prototypes for news innovations, and intern in a professional newsroom — all in one year.

Students take two semesters of coursework at the UA campus in Tuscaloosa. Then they immerse themselves in a May-through-July professional journalism experience at the Digital Media Center at the University of Alabama, which includes WVUA-23 News and Alabama Public Radio.

This one-year professional-focused area of study of our MA serves recent BA recipients in journalism or other fields, as well as professionals seeking to deepen and expand their knowledge.

Students who have completed this track have an impressive record of job placements. In the first three years we offered this one-year focused area of study, more than 80 percent of our graduates were working full time in journalism or were furthering their education within six months of graduation. This rate is significantly higher than the national average over the same period, according to the Annual Surveys of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates.


Students interested in applying to this one-year focused area of study must fulfill UA Graduate School requirements for admission.

Admission to graduate work in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media generally requires a:

  • 3.0 or higher undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Score of at least 300 on the Graduate Record Examination general test, with a writing score of 4.5 or higher.
  • Some students could receive “permission to continue” acceptance if they meet one of the two requirements. These students must meet minimum standards during their first semester in the program.

No prior professional journalism experience is required, but having some college-level experience is helpful.

This one-year, professional focused area of study can accommodate up to 8 students per year, depending upon students’ summer internship preference.

The application deadline is Jan 31. Late applications will be considered, if space remains. There are no spring or summer admissions for the Com-J track. Visit the Department of Journalism and Creative Media’s graduate site for more information.


Applicants are eligible to compete for a limited number of partial graduate assistantships available through the department. Those awarded an assistantship would receive half tuition for the regular school year plus a small monthly stipend. For more information about financial aid through the University, visit financialaid.ua.edu.

Student Services

Equipment, workspace, software and multimedia classrooms with Internet connections are provided. Students have access to services such as admission and career counseling, course scheduling and tickets to sports and cultural events. The Web site MyBama connects all students with e-mail. The main campus of the University of Alabama is in Tuscaloosa. Students have access to University online materials throughout their program.


Want to become a part of Com-J? Here’s how to apply!

Campus address
The Department of Journalism and Creative Media is at 490 Reese Phifer Hall on the University of Alabama campus.

Mailing address
Department of Journalism and Creative Media
College of Communication and Information Sciences
University of Alabama
Box 870172
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0172

For more information about Com-J, please contact the graduate coordinator Dr. Scott Parrott at (205) 348-8612. You may also contact the main Journalism Department office at (205) 348-7155.