About the Program

The Department of Journalism and Creative Media offers three options to earn a Masters of Arts degree in journalism & media studies. Students work closely with a faculty dedicated to the principles and practices of sound journalism and scholarly inquiry. All options require 31 credit hours.

For more information please see our JCM Grad Student Handbook

Research Option

The research track allows you to study and think critically about journalism & media studies from a variety of scholarly approaches. You will explore news and its role in society, factors that shape journalists’ decisions, the history of journalism and the legal and ethical implications of journalism. This two-year option is highly customizable and allows for 12 hours of elective credit that can be taken across disciplines.

Professional Option

Our award-winning, one-year professional track is designed to strengthen community journalism by establishing trained professionals in the field. In this focused area of study, you will explore new ways to serve communities through evolving journalism practices and digital innovation. The hands-on curriculum relies heavily on experiential learning, rather than a thesis, and includes a three-month internship at the Digital Media Center at the University of Alabama, which includes the full-time news operation at WVUA TV-23 and the national award-winning Alabama Public Radio.

In addition, you will work with your fellow students to produce a digital reporting project focused on a community issue or problem and report on that topic in depth. The Society of Professional Journalists consistently recognizes our students’ projects for their in-depth, digital reporting, and use of multimedia.

Online Option

A professional option is also available entirely online for students who wish to have flexibility in completing their coursework around their everyday lives. Interested students can visit the Journalism Bama by Distance website. Here is a testimonial about how the program works: Bama By Distance

Doctoral Program

The C&IS doctoral program overseen by the Office for Graduate Studies provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of mass communication and information sciences. For more information about the C&IS doctoral program, click here.


Admission to graduate work in the Program of Journalism & Media Studies requires a 3.0 or higher undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale). All those interested in being admitted into the program must apply for admission to the Graduate School of the University of Alabama the semester before their anticipated start date.

  1. Completed online application form
  2. Application fee (University of Alabama students who graduate with at least a 3.0 GPA and are applying to the same program as their bachelor’s degree in the next available term will have their fees waived).
  3. Resume/CV
  4. A statement of purpose emphasizing why you want to complete a journalism & media studies degree in our program and how the degree will advance your professional and educational goals
  5. Three letters of recommendation
  6. Transcripts from previous academic institutions
  7. TOEFL scores for international applicants
  8. Optional – Two-three samples of journalistic works. This can include a document with links to works.
    • Note: PDF documents are preferred, but Word and other word-processing documents are acceptable.

Application Timeline

The Department of Journalism & Creative Media accepts applications year-round for its MA program, with one exception: Students who want to pursue the Community Journalism program must apply for fall admission.

While applications are accepted year-round, priority is given to students who apply for fall admission. Further, earlier applications are given priority for funding (e.g., research assistantships, teaching assistantships).

Deadlines are:

Thesis & Project-Oriented Tracks on UA Campus

Applications accepted year-round

Fall semester admission prioritized, but spring admission may be considered.

Priority deadline for applicants interested in funding: January 31

Priority deadline for completed applications: March 31

One-Year Community Journalism Program on UA Campus

Applications ONLY accepted for fall semester

Priority deadline for applications: February 1

The one-year focus in Community Journalism admits a limited number of students each year. Applicants not accepted for Community Journalism may be considered for other master’s path in the Department of Journalism & Creative Media.

Bama by Distance Online Journalism & Media Studies MA

Applications accepted year-round for fall, spring and summer admissions

Financial Support

The Journalism & Media Studies MA program considers all admitted main-campus students for a limited number of graduate assistantships based on the submitted admission application. Those selected for assistantships will be contacted by the graduate coordinator in March or April.

Assistantships are awarded for either 10 or 20 hours a week. 20 hour a week assistantships are usually awarded to thesis-track students and cover full tuition during fall and spring terms and a monthly stipend and 10 hour assistantships are usually awarded to professional track students and cover half-tuition and a half-stipend. Online students are eligible to apply for scholarships offered by the College of Continuing Studies.

The Graduate School offers various forms of financial support that all students are encouraged to consider. Students who are competitive for University scholarships and fellowships generally have high GPA and GRE scores, will significantly benefit the program, and are usually admitted into a degree program by early spring.

Job Placement

In its first 10 years, more than 90% of our professional track graduates were working full-time as journalists. Graduates of our programs have gone on to work as newspaper reporters, editors, digital content specialists, broadcast media producers, social media strategists, media relations professionals, magazine writers, government correspondents, professors, attorneys and more.

Contact the Journalism Graduate Coordinator

For specific questions regarding the journalism & media studies graduate program, contact Dr. Scott Parrott.