Master of Journalism Course of Study

Degree Requirements

The program requires 40 semester hours of graduate-level course work. All MJ students are required to take:

JOU 5001 Critical Perspectives on Journalism
JOU 5002 Reporting and Writing 1
JOU 5003 Editing the News 1
JOU 5005 Communication Law
JOU 5012 Reporting and Writing 2
JOU 5013 Editing the News 2

Choose one capstone:
JOU 5601 Temple Journalism Review
JOU 5602 Documentary Journalism
JOU 5603 Urban Reporting Lab

A maximum of eight semester hours (20% of the total) of graduate credit from another institution may be applied toward graduation, with the approval of the MJ committee.

Areas of Specialization

The Department of Journalism has partnerships with a number of departments across the university allowing students to individualize their programs to their interests. These specializations allow students to take up to four classes in the partnering departments. The following departments are included in these partnerships:

  1. Computer and Information Sciences
  2. Geography and Urban Studies
  3. Urban Education
  4. Public Health
  5. Management Information Systems
  6. Theater
  7. Film and Media Arts
  8. Art History
  9. Music History
  10. Dance
  11. Political Science

MJ students may enroll in up to 16 elective credits outside the School of Communications and Theater. Courses outside the department are selected by students in consultation with their academic adviser. MJ students may take 3000- and 4000-level courses for graduate credit with permission of instructor and the completion of the Request to Take an Undergraduate Course for Graduate Credit form (.pdf).

Each student must conclude the program by passing comprehensive examinations covering his or her field of study, including communication history or law.

To graduate, a student’s overall GPA must be a 3.0 (B average) or better. Full-time students should be able to complete this program in two years or less. The time limit on the completion of all requirements is five years from admission to the program.

Continuous enrollment for Fall and Spring Semesters is required from initial matriculation to graduation. Leaves of absence may be requested.

Comprehensive Exams

Subject Area

The comprehensive exam will consist of questions from three areas chosen by the student. The examination must include questions from at least one study and one applied area. The applied section of the examination should require a demonstration of expertise developed in classes such as news reporting, editing, journalism research techniques, computer assisted reporting, management, or magazine writing. The examination in a study area should require a thorough understanding of journalism issues covered in course work in communication law and ethics, communication history, contemporary studies, or study aspects of coursework in the applied areas listed above.

Examining Committee

The examination committee shall consist of full-time faculty in the Department of Journalism. A student may petition the MJ director for permission to request a committee member from outside the Department or School. Adjunct faculty do not serve on MJ committees.

It is the student’s responsibility to seek members of his/her examination committee and secure their agreement to serve before seeking an exam date. Faculty may choose not to serve on a student’s committee. Once students have secured a faculty committee, they should submit a list of committee names and examination areas and request an examination date from the SCT Graduate Office. All committees are subject to approval by the MJ Director. Comprehensive examinations are not usually given during University break periods.

Examination Period

Students will pick up their question packets from the SCT Graduate Office at 9 a.m. at the start of the designated week and submit their answers by the same time seven days later. Extensions will not be given.

Examination Procedures

Each member of the examining committee will give a pass or fail for all answers to the question submitted. Students who do not answer questions from all three areas or fail two or more sections of the exam will fail the exam. Students who fail the exam are permitted to re-schedule the exam a second time with the same faculty committee with a new set of questions, at a time agreeable to the committee within six months of the original exam. Students who fail one section of the exam may within six months be allowed to re-take that portion of the exam. This requires a new question that must be answered within 2-3 days from the date received. Should an MJ student complete coursework and not successfully complete the comprehensive examination in the same semester, continuous enrollment must be maintained by registering for one credit of independent study. Continuing enrollment is an MJ program requirement. Details on this are available in the MJ office.

Required Courses

5001. Critical Perspectives on Journalism. (3 s.h.)
Required for all students during first year of program. Overview of communications industry, influences on news media, introduction to regulation and issues of the day.

5002. Reporting and Writing 1. (4 s.h.)
Required for all other courses except for 5001. Contemporary Issues in Journalism. Should be taken as first or second course in the program. Instruction in research and writing; news story, style and structure, copy editing as well as discussion of the nature of news.

5003. Editing the News 1. (4 s.h.)
Accelerated, in-depth, computer-based instruction in editing; editorial judgment, accuracy; headline writing; fundamentals of page makeup; use of illustrations.

5005. Communication Law. (4 s.h.)
Prerequisite: 20 credits in the program or permission of instructor. Legal and philosophical study of government regulations and court rulings pertaining to journalism and information transmission. Emphasis on legal research methods and application of the law.

5012. Reporting and Writing 2. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisite: JOU 5002 or permission of the M.J. director.
Instruction in feature writing and computer-assisted investigative reporting, primarily dealing with public affairs in the Philadelphia area.

5013. Editing the News 2. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisite: JOUR5003 or permission of instructor
Web, audio and video content editing and presentation. Multimedia considerations and interactivity are emphasized throughout.

5601 Temple Journalism Review. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5001, 5002, 5003, 5006 and 5007 or permission of instructor.
An online, student-produced publication examining the current state of journalism. Special emphasis is placed on Philadelphia-area news media.

5602 Documentary Journalism. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5001, 5002, 5003, 5006 and 5007 or permission of instructor.
Longer-form journalistic story-telling across media platforms. Emphasis on in-depth, documentary approaches and styles, with attendant information-gathering and ethical considerations.

5603 Urban Reporting Lab. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5001, 5002, 5003, 5006 and 5007 or permission of instructor.
A multimedia approach to covering Philadelphia and its neighborhoods.

Elective Courses

5102. International Reporting. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5002 or permission of instructor.
Approaches to international news reporting, writing and editing, with an emphasis on cross-platform newsgathering.

5121. Magazine Writing. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5002 or permission of instructor.
Writing for a variety of consumer, trade and literary publications. Cross-platform issues are considered. Idea development, writing style and marketing also are emphasized.

5151 Narrative Non-fiction. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5002 or permission of instructor.
Examination of long-form and alternative forms of journalistic writing.

5201. The American Magazine. (4 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5002 or permission of instructor.
Analysis of content, editorial policy and trends in American magazine journalism; discussion of publishing procedures; marketing, circulation, and advertising problems; reader research. Class project: create prototype issue of magazine, with prospectus, advertising, and promotional materials.

5211. Media Management. (4 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5002 or permission of instructor.
Business and other financial models as they relate to news media across traditional and non-traditional platforms. Newsroom organization and management. Ownership and investment influences and structures are emphasized.

5212. The Entrepreneurial Journalist. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5001 or permission of instructor.
New opportunities exist for aggressive journalists. In this course, we’ll discuss the various ways to be a content generator – from freelancing to blogging, from starting magazines and newspapers to creating multimedia web sites.

5221. Journalism and Mass Communication History. (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: JOUR5002 or permission of instructor.
Study of the technological and social development of communication systems from ancient to present times with emphasis on historical/descriptive research methods.