Applications and Financial Aid
Requirements for Admission
Welcome to the Department of Communication. Thank you for your interest in the Stanford Graduate Program in Journalism.
Please read the following information carefully. We have made a great effort to provide detailed and thorough information regarding the application process and hope that it will provide answers to your questions.
Applying to the Graduate Program in Journalism requires:
- One written statement of purpose explaining the nature of interest in journalism and the reasons for pursuing the degree at Stanford University.
- Three samples of journalistic work. Each submission should demonstrate an appreciation for the basic standards of good journalism and an exceptional aptitude for advanced writing and reporting. In addition to writing samples, submissions may include samples of multimedia work. Submissions will not be returned.
- Three letters of recommendation that are specific and precise in their assessment of the accomplishments and promise of the applicant.
To justify admission to a program that begins with no preliminary courses in writing or reporting, applicants must substantiate journalism experience through their previous involvement with campus publications, media internships, freelance writing, and possible associations with news agencies and broadcasting organizations.
The Admissions Committee examines individual applications for evidence of probable success in an academically demanding program designed to cultivate the breadth of knowledge and critical judgment skill-set needed to excel in a journalism career. This criterion must be demonstrated throughout the application. Official GRE general test scores are also required of all applicants and TOEFL scores of those whose first language is not standard English, along with two copies of official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate study.
Journalism typically accepts 15 students annually. All are expected to complete the degree requirements in one academic year. Part-time students are not admitted. To maintain credible academic standing, students must earn a grade point average of “B” or better and graduation requires a cumulative minimum of the same GPA. Formal applications to the Journalism program are accepted at the Office of Graduate Admissions.
General Graduate Admission Requirements
Important: Once you have begun an application to our department, any correspondence from us will be via email, such as status updates, notifications to applicant groups, and final decisions. Therefore, it is essential that your email settings allow for the receipt of our emails so they do not go into your junk mail.
Deadline to Apply
The deadline for all graduate application forms to be submitted online for the Department of Communication for matriculation in 2013 is Tuesday, December 4, 2012. The online application fee is $125 for all applicants, both domestic and international.
Supplemental materials, i.e. digital samples of work (MA Journalism applicants only) and hard copies of official transcripts, must also be received (not postmarked, but actually in our office) by Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Self-reported (unofficial) test scores that could not be included with the online application should be faxed or emailed and must be received by the above deadline. Recommenders have until January 7, 2013 to submit their online recommendation letters.
Applicants who do not have a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. should review the information for international students at to determine their eligibility to apply to graduate school at Stanford
How to Apply
What do I need to submit?
You can access the online application and all accompanying information beginning mid-September. Any problems that you encounter while completing or submitting the application must be addressed by contacting the support desk as indicated on the application website. The Stanford application software is not Stanford-based and therefore we cannot help with technical issues. Applicants to the Graduate Program in Journalism should select ‘Communication MA’ for 2013-14. Note that no changes can be made to your application once it has been submitted.
Statement of Purpose
This should explain the nature of the applicant’s interest in the Graduate Program in Journalism and reasons for wanting to study it at Stanford. In the first sentence of your statement of purpose should indicate that you are applying to the Graduate Program in Journalism. Include details about your preparation for this field of study, your future career plans, and any other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. Please ensure that your full name is on each page of your statement of purpose. Note that once your application has been submitted we cannot accept any revised statements of purpose or resumes.
Do not upload academic papers, theses, or dissertations as part of your statement of purpose. These items are not required. If you wish to submit them, please do so separately by uploading them in the additional information section of the application. We do not accept materials submitted via email.
As part of the online application, applicants are required to upload scanned official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended for one academic year or longer. Multiple page uploads are allowed for all transcripts. In addition, two print copies of official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies must be submitted directly to our department. These may be sent either directly from the school, or by the applicant, providing that the envelope containing the transcripts is sealed and signed/stamped across the sealed area. Applicants currently in school should send the most recent versions available (even if no grades are listed) until complete versions can be submitted. GPAs of at least 3.5 are strongly recommended.
Applicants who do not have a bachelor’s degree from the United States should review the information for international students at the Graduate Admissions office to determine their eligibility to apply to graduate school at Stanford.
Upload a 1-3 page resume into the ‘resume’ section of the application.
Official GRE test scores
Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). This is a University requirement and cannot be waived. The Communication Department does not require any GRE subject tests. Both the old and new formats of the general GRE are considered equally acceptable by our department. All score reports must be sent electronically by ETS to Stanford University. Our institution code number for ETS reporting is 4704, no department number is required. Test scores may be no older than 5 years, dating back from December 1, 2012. The GMAT is not accepted as a substitute for the GRE.
Applications will be processed using the self-reported (unofficial) test scores. If you submit your online application before you have taken the test, please email or fax your verbal and quantitative scores to us as soon as you have them. The analytical writing section takes longer to be processed and is not necessary in order for us to deem your application complete, although offers of admission are contingent on receipt of the official scores from all 3 sections.
On August 1, 2011 ETS launched the revised general test. While we have not established any particular GRE score necessary for admission, the average score for admitted journalism students in recent years was 5 for the analytical writing section, 640 for the quantitative section and 690 for the verbal section based on the old format GRE scale. Due to the lack of current data for the new format GRE we cannot offer precise numerical recommendations during this admissions season, but provide the GRE comparison table for your review.
Official TOEFL test scores
The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). All score reports must be sent electronically by ETS to Stanford University (our institution code number for ETS reporting is 4704, no department number is required). Test scores may be no older than 18 months, dating back from December 1, 2012. Alternative English language tests such as IELTS are not accepted in lieu of the TOEFL.
Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. The University requires TOEFL scores for all applicants whose first language is not English. Exceptions are granted for applicants who have earned a U.S. bachelor’s or master’s degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the equivalent of either degree from a non-U.S. college or university of recognized standing where all instruction is provided in English. This exception does not apply if the courses were completed in a country where English is spoken but not all courses were provided in English. Being a citizen of the United States does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking the TOEFL.
International applicants who meet one of the exceptions may request a TOEFL waiver by sending an email to GradAdmissions@stanford.edu with the subject “TOEFL waiver request” at least one month before our December 4, 2012 deadline.
In the body of the message include:
- Your name (last name, first name)
- The department and program to which you are applying (e.g.: Communication-MA)
- The university that you have attended or are attending (provide full name, no abbreviations)
- The degree obtained or to be obtained (e.g.: B.S.)
- The date (month/year) the degree was or will be conferred
When a decision regarding your request has been made, you will receive an email indicating whether your waiver has been granted. This decision must be forwarded to the department so it can be added to your application file.
A minimum TOEFL score of 250 on the computer-based test is required for admission to all of our graduate programs, though a minimum score of 280 is highly recommended. Until Stanford establishes its policy on the Internet based iBT, it offers the ETS comparison score of a minimum of 100 as a guide for applicants. A score of 115 is highly recommended.
Applications will be processed using the self-reported (unofficial) test scores. If you submit your online application before you have taken the test, please email or fax your score to us as soon as you have it. iBT test-takers will be able to access their scores online approximately 10 days after the test date. Therefore, we recommend that you take the test no later than early November 2012 in order to meet the December 4 deadline. Offers of admission are contingent on receipt of the official scores.
Letters of recommendation
We require three letters of recommendation. Recommendations must be submitted online by January 7, 2013. As part of the online application, applicants will be required to register the contact information of their recommenders. Recommenders will then receive an email with directions on how to proceed. At least one evaluation and letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student (unless you have been out of school for more than five years). Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work.
Samples of writing
Upload three samples of journalistic writing in the ‘additional information’ 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. Applicants are also encouraged to submit two digital media samples, in any multimedia format (audio, video, blog, photography). Where possible, please upload links to these multimedia samples via a PDF in the ‘additional information’ section of the application, or submit them on a CD via regular or express mail. Submissions will not be returned.
Other optional papers
You may upload additional papers such as samples of your academic or published works in the ‘additional information’ section of the application. They will be included in your application file, though there is no guarantee that they will be reviewed by the admissions committee. With the exception of transcripts, do not send any duplicates of materials that you have submitted online. They will not be added to your file.
In order to expedite and facilitate the completion of your applicant file, we recommend that any hard copy supplemental materials be sent in one package whenever possible.
All hard copy supplemental materials should be mailed to:
Student Services Administrator
Department of Communication
Building 120, Room 110A
450 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-2050
Thanks to the continual generosity of friends and alumni of the Graduate Program in Journalism, the Department of Communication awards several partial or full tuition scholarships each year to qualified journalism students. Additional resources available at Stanford’s Financial Aid Office.
Please note that requesting financial aid on the application form will not affect your chances of being admitted to one of our graduate programs. All prospective students should review the estimated expenses associated with graduate study.
We will update your application status in the Check List section of your online application account between December 5, 2012, and January 11, 2013, to inform you whether or not your application is complete. If the application is not complete, the missing items will be categorized as ‘not received’, or specifically listed. You will be given one extra week to submit the missing items. There is no need to contact us to check on this. Doing so significantly delays the application process and our ability to confirm your application status.
Decisions are usually made by March 15th. Please do not contact us prior to this date to check the status of your application.
We look forward to receiving your Stanford Graduate Program in Journalism Application.