Journalism Track

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Unit Requirements

The minimum number of units for a master’s degree in Communication-Journalism Track is 45 unduplicated units beyond the 180 units required for the bachelor’s degree. The maximum number of units per quarter taken at graduate level is 18, with any additional units taken within the same quarter charged at a per unit rate.

Program Requirements for the Master’s Degree

Journalism track students usually begin the program in Spring quarter of their senior year during which time one elective course is taken towards the Master’s program and any remaining requirements for the undergraduate degree are completed. In the following academic year, journalism track students follow the same curriculum as students in the Graduate Program in Journalism less one elective course.

Course units may be counted to meet the requirements of only one degree. The courses used to fulfill master’s degree requirements must represent new work beyond the components of the undergraduate program. Normally a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better satisfies the requirement for high academic standing. Graduation requires a GPA of 3.0 or better. To count toward the M.A. units, all courses must be taken for a letter grade if offered as such, and courses in related areas outside the department must be approved by the student’s advisor. Units earned in courses below the 100 level may not be counted towards the minimum unit requirement for the master’s degree. If approved by the Director of the Graduate Program in Journalism, coursework taken after summer of freshman year may be counted toward the 45 units of unduplicated work. 

First Graduate Quarter

The quarter following completion of 12 full-tuition undergraduate quarters is identified as the first graduate quarter for tuition assessment. Thus, coterminal students are changed from the undergraduate to the graduate coterminal student group in the 13th quarter and are then assessed the regular graduate tuition rate (see “Coterm Tuition”). Coterminal students are subject to graduate studies policies and procedures as described in the “Graduate Education” section of the Stanford Bulletin. These policies include approval of a leave of absence for quarters not enrolled and minimal progress guidelines for graduate students.


When can I apply?

Applications for coterminal study-Journalism track must be submitted five quarters in advance of the expected master’s degree conferral date. Applicants must have earned a minimum of 120 units toward graduation (UTG) as shown on the undergraduate unofficial transcript. This includes allowable Advanced Placement (AP) and transfer credit. Applications must be submitted by February 2, 2017 at 3:00pm for admission beginning in Spring 2016-17. Recommenders have until February 5, 2017 to submit their online recommendation letters. 

How to apply

Please read this information thoroughly before submitting and application.

Coterminal applications are submitted online. You can access the online application and all accompanying information at starting in September. 

It is strongly recommended that prospective applicants meet with the Student Services Manager during the preceding fall quarter to review the application process and requirements.

The application materials to be submitted are:

1. Application for Admission to Coterminal Master’s Program
2. Current unofficial Stanford transcript
3. Statement of Purpose. Print, complete with the assistantce of the Student Services Manager, and upload as .pdf, .doc, .docx, or .ttf file.
4. Preliminary Program Proposal
5. Three journalistic samples; up to two can be digital media samples
6. Three letters of recommendation from Stanford professors

GRE scores are not required.

The Online Application

Create an account and proceed to the online application. 

On the ‘Proposed Master’s Program’ page, select ‘Communication MA’ , and SPRING 2017 as the first term of your master’s program. 

In the ‘Additional Information Section’ select ‘Journalism’ as your academic interest. 

The Statement of Purpose

Applicants are asked to explain the nature of interest in journalism and the reasons for pursuing the degree at Stanford University. The statement should be between 2 and 3 pages, double spaced.

A conversation with the director of the Journalism program or Journalism faculty in advance of completing the statement of purpose may help to clarify your statement.

Preliminary Project Proposal

In completing the Preliminary Program Proposal, applicants must specify all courses to be taken in future quarters including the project. Applicants can consult the Curriculum page of the Stanford Journalism Program for a sample schedule. Those accepted into the program will be required to complete a second, more accurate form (Program Proposal for a Master’s Degree) by the end of their first graduate quarter. The proposal is reviewed to determine whether the applicant’s intended program will meet the overall requirements of the coterminal program.

Please request an appointment with the Student Services Manager if you would like help completing the proposal.

Journalistic Samples

Submit three samples of journalistic work in the ‘writing sample’ section of the application. Each submission should demonstrate an appreciation for the basic standards of good journalism and an exceptional aptitude for advanced writing and reporting. Up to two of the samples can be digital media samples in any multimedia format (audio, video, blog, photography) submitted either as PDF links or on a CD sent via regular or express mail. Submissions will not be returned. 

Letters of Recommendation

In the References section of the online application, you will be asked to enter the following information:

  • Names of your recommenders. You are required to register three recommenders for the Journalism track.
  • Institute/Employer, title/position, and field/discipline of each recommender.
  • Valid email address of each recommender. An email will be sent to your recommenders with information on how to proceed. 
  • Waiver – you must choose whether or not to waive your right to see a recommendation. It may be that a recommender will not submit a recommendation if you have not waived the right to see it. This should be discussed in advance. Your choice will be transmitted to the recommender in the instructional email he/she will receive. 


In the initial spring quarter, one elective Journalism course is taken towards the Master’s program and any remaining requirements for the undergraduate degree are completed. In the following academic year, Journalism Track students follow the same curriculum as students in the Graduate Program in Journalism less one elective course.

Coterminal journalism students may count coursework taken after Summer of freshman year towards the 45 units of unduplicated work with approval by the Director of the Graduate Program in Journalism.

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