If you’re interested in a career focused on communication, writing, and current issues, journalism may be right for you. Read on to learn more about the best schools known for journalism and tips to get in.
If you are an aspiring reporter, writer, and editor, you may consider majoring in journalism. Journalism studies have become increasingly interdisciplinary as mass media and communications advance with technology. It is a field where you need as much firsthand experience as possible before you graduate.
Our guide can help you start your research for schools with excellent journalism programs. You can get a good idea of which schools best fit your interests and goals. Try not to focus on the rank of these schools and look at their characteristics instead.
Consider what you want out of a journalism program and build your college list based on factors that matter most to you. Read on to learn more about the best journalism programs and how to get in.
The journalism schools on our list vary in terms of acceptance rates and competitiveness. Here are some tips to help you get into your desired schools, no matter which ones you apply to.
Remember that our list of good journalism schools is meant to be a starting point for you to build your college list. When you do your research, check out the curriculum, professors, student media organizations, and local opportunities.
Ensure you consider the college as a whole and think about admissions requirements, location, finances, and your fit.
Get some writing experience before going to college if you can. Join the yearbook club, school newspaper, other media opportunities, or community service organizations. Participating in various activities show you are a well-rounded, passionate student and have experience in the major you want to pursue.
Essays are one of the most crucial ways to demonstrate your personality and fit. Many schools require at least one essay, so you need to know how to stand out. Submitting the best essay possible begins with a good strategy, compelling anecdotes, and a logical flow.
Consider average GPAs and test scores of the incoming class of students at your prospective schools. Make sure your scores are at least in the middle 50% for the schools you want to apply to.
Though most schools have adopted a test-optional policy for the next year or two, you can still submit your scores to be a more competitive applicant and get into a top journalism school.
Journalism is a field that has evolved with the digital era, allowing you to pursue various careers with this degree. Our list of the eight best schools for journalism focuses on undergraduate journalism programs: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Journalism.
A Bachelor’s degree in journalism requires at least 120 credit hours in communications and journalism courses, electives, and practical experience with an internship.
Admissions requirements vary depending on the school, but you typically need a high school diploma, strong communication skills, and related extracurricular activities.
The College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida (UF) was established in 1925. Its journalism department is one of the best in the nation. You will learn skills in interviewing, writing, multimedia/visuals, and broadcasting.
You can focus your studies on either journalism or sports and media. You gain a foundation in reporting, writing, public records, and more in the journalism specialization.
You can also choose a two-course specialization in your area of interest, such as:
The sports and media specialization’s curriculum still has its roots in traditional journalism, but it emphasizes sports-related coursework.
The University of Florida has several student organizations you can join to gain journalism experience. The Florida Magazine Student Association is a professional organization dedicated to serving the needs of students who want to pursue careers in magazine writing, editing, designing, and publishing.
UF has no preference for either test, and will consider the most competitive score for admission. They superscore tests, meaning that they combine your highest subsection scores across multiple test dates for the same exam.
Degree: Bachelor of Journalism
The School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin started in 1914. Its journalism program has grown into the largest of its kind in Texas.
Faculty is known “for its hands-on approach in teaching, mentoring and editing to provide students with both the sensibilities and the skills to be complete journalists and valuable contributors to an open, democratic society.”
Notable classes offered include:
You can join student organizations such as ORANGE and UT National Association of Hispanic Journalists (UTHJ). ORANGE is UT’s student-run magazine, and the staff works on all its elements, from advertising and editorial, to production and writing, to finances and public relations.
UTHJ supports Hispanic student journalists, and members can participate in a mentorship program, multimedia workshops, internships, and professional development.
To apply to UT Austin, you can submit the ApplyTexas application or the Coalition Application. You will need to pay the $75 application fee or a fee waiver, and submit:
Standardized test scores are optional, though you can still send them for consideration. Other optional documents you may submit include an expanded resume and up to two letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, or people you know well within or outside of high school.
The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University (NU) was founded in 1921, and its journalism degree is a STEM-designated program. The curriculum comprises three components: core courses, an outside concentration, and journalism electives.
Some notable courses offered at Medill include:
You can join many student media organizations, like North by Northwestern and the Northwestern News Network (NNN). North by Northwestern is a student-run magazine printed thrice yearly, aligned with academic quarters. Its website is regularly updated with campus news, lifestyle, and entertainment stories, and photos and videos.
The NNN is a news channel where students create shows. You can experience all aspects of TV news production here.
You can submit either the Common Application or the Coalition Application to apply for NU. You will need to submit:
You must submit an Early Decision Agreement if you want through Early Decision. SAT and ACT scores are optional, though you are welcome to submit scores. NU’s system combines the highest section scores across multiple dates and calculates a superscore.
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1971. The journalism program is well known for its innovative curriculum, encouraging students to “embrace technology, assess it critically, and employ it in the service of powerful and effective journalism.”
You can acquire skills in editing, production, and digital storytelling across a range of media platforms. Before you graduate, you’re required to produce a digital portfolio and personal website featuring your best work.
Some notable courses at USC Annenberg include:
USC Annenberg offers over a dozen student organizations specifically for journalism students, two of which include Annenberg Media and SPEC Magazine.
Annenberg Media is a student-run news organization that gives students hands-on experience with editorial and operational aspects of the newsroom. SPEC Magazine is a culture, lifestyle, and fashion publication providing students with an outlet for creative expression.
You can apply for USC using the Common Application. You will need to submit:
Like several other schools on this list, USC currently does not require students to submit test scores. If you decide to submit your scores, the school will record the highest scores for each section, even if they were on different test dates.
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University (NYU) is another top journalism school. New York City is home to the headquarters of some of the world’s most prominent news organizations like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.
Journalism majors can specialize in either the Print/Online or Broadcast track. You are required to double-major in an additional field of study to complement your studies. Notable classes offered at NYU's journalism school include:
Depending on your interests, you can choose from several student-run media outlets. CooperSquared is an online platform highlighting the work of journalism students. You can do original reporting and shoot and edit your videos and photography. WNYU is a student-led radio station broadcasting on 89.1 FM and streaming online.
NYU only accepts the Common Application, and the application fee is $80 unless you qualify for a fee waiver. You will need:
SAT and ACT scores are optional, but you can submit one of the tests for NYU’s consideration.
The College of Communication at Boston University (BU) combines a solid liberal arts background with professional journalism. The school is located in a bustling city with plenty of local news and media opportunities.
The journalism program emphasizes narrative writing and digital and visual journalism across platforms. You can choose from classes in many different focus areas. Some notable courses include:
Among the many opportunities for journalism majors are the student media organizations at BU. The BU News Service brings the public breaking news, politics, sports, and features reported by students.
BUTV10 is the university’s student-led video content production and distribution network. Students can create news, sports, drama, comedy, and variety programs, which are available on campus channel ten and online.
You must submit either a Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application to apply to BU. You will need submit:
If you apply through Early Decision, you should have your counselor submit your grades for the first quarter or trimester. If you apply through Regular Decision, your counselor should submit your first semester or trimester grades.
Standardized test scores are optional, and you can indicate whether you want BU to consider your scores. If you do, BU will superscore your SAT and ACT scores.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin (UW)–Madison is one of the nation’s best and earliest communication programs. The journalism school offers a blend of skills training, theoretical learning, and real-world practice. It is a fairly competitive program to get into.
You can choose between the Strategic Communication or Reporting track. Some notable classes include:
UW Madison has many student publications and media organizations. The Badger Herald is one of the nation’s largest, fully independent student daily newspapers, and students with all levels of experience are invited to join.
WSUM is UW Madison’s student radio station, where you can get involved in news, sports, programming, promotions, or any aspect of audio journalism.
You can apply to UW Madison using either the Common Application or the UW System Application. You will need to submit:
Optional documents include standardized test scores and an additional letter of recommendation.
Please note: The School of Journalism and Mass Communication does not offer direct admission for first-year students. You will need to be a sophomore, demonstrate written communication skills, and have some journalism experience, usually in student media organizations.
To apply to the journalism school , you need to submit a personal statement, your resume, two writing samples, and a PDF of your transcript at UW Madison.
Degree: Bachelor of Journalism
The Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) in Columbia was established in 1908 and is one of the first journalism and mass communication programs in the U.S. Mizzou’s journalism curriculum is designed for you to take hands-on and theoretical courses in your first year and become acquainted with various career options.
Some offered courses include:
You can focus your studies on one of the following six career paths or even take courses in more than one path:
Mizzou also allows you to gain real-world experience in six professional newsrooms. Vox is a cross-platform city magazine where students work as writers, editors, designers, photographers, and managers. KOMU-TV 8 is an NBC affiliate and the only university-owned commercial major-network affiliate in the country.
You can submit either the Mizzou Application or the Common Application to apply for Mizzou. You will need to submit:
Your SAT or ACT scores may automatically admit you if you meet admissions requirements for standardized tests. Mizzou superscores for both tests.
If your scores do not meet the minimum requirements, you can apply the “test-optional” way where the school considers your application holistically. Along with the other requirements, you will need to submit three short essays. Letters of recommendation are optional, but you can submit them if you need supplemental materials.
You have been given a lot of information about top-ranked journalism schools, their journalism departments, and their admissions requirements. Here is a chart comparing the application processes for each school.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for news analysts, reporters, and journalists was $48,370 in May 2021, the most recent update from the BLS as of 2023.
In May 2021, the median annual wages for news analysts, reporters, and journalists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
Employment in this field is projected to decrease by 9% from 2021 to 2031.
If you still have questions about the best undergraduate journalism schools in the U.S., check out these FAQs.
Northwestern is considered the best journalism school in the United States.
The best undergraduate degrees for journalism are a Bachelor’s of Journalism, or any other undergraduate degree that heavily focuses on journalism, communication, or English.
Undergraduate journalism programs can be a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Journalism. The degree requirements depend on which school you attend, but journalism programs require 120 credit hours of communications and journalism courses and electives.
You can pursue various careers because of the writing, communication, and critical thinking skills you will learn are highly sought after.
The most popular career path is to become a news writer and reporter. Still, you can also go into editing, content management, photography, public relations, audio journalism, production, and other fields.
We chose these eight schools because of their reputation, career preparation, and class options. The most significant benefits of attending these schools are that they provide students with the best resources and hands-on experience.
There are numerous student organizations, local media opportunities, and varied classes available.
You should first consider how well a journalism program fits with your career goals. A college may be highly ranked, but you can look elsewhere if it does not have enough classes or internship opportunities in your field. You should research the curriculum at each school, the professors, campus, and local opportunities to gain experience.
One of the best things you can do is get as much journalism experience as possible; it can be writing, editing, photography, videography, podcasting, and other forms of media. Extracurricular activities show the admissions committees you are passionate about your major. You should keep your GPA up and prepare well for tests if needed.
With the rise of the digital era, journalism has become even more prevalent. Getting into one of the best j schools can prepare you with an array of versatile skills, such as critical thinking, writing, editing, interviewing, and multimedia production.
Now you can begin your search for the perfect journalism program. Consider looking for opportunities to gain hands-on experience. Journalism is a field where you need to have as much professional experience as possible, so find the school that will give you those resources. Good luck!